Delivery of Public Benefit and Social Value for Archaeology in the Planning Process

Tuesday, 14th February 2023

In February 2023 the National Planning Framework 4 in Scotland introduced new wording which more clearly describes the requirement for public benefit outcomes where impacts on the historic environment by development cannot be avoided. No longer limited to meaning solely activities of excavation, recording, analysis, archiving and publication, it now also includes other “activities” as well.

As the NPF4 defines it, the historic environment is

“the physical evidence for human activity that connects people with place, linked with the associations we can see, feel and understand.”
NPF4 Annex F, (2023)


"the historic environment, like the natural environment, is a shared, irreplaceable resource. It is managed – and researched, cared for and conserved – on behalf of, and for the benefit of, society. Increasing understanding of the past is at the heart of everything archaeologists do and is, itself, a public benefit."
Delivering Public Benefit from Archaeology’ statement, CIfA (2022)

The intention of this guidance document is to set out the full range of core and secondary activities of public benefit that archaeological works undertaken within the context of the planning system can deliver to meet the policy aim of NPF4. The emphasis is to be proportionate and reasonable at all times, balancing the scale of the development against the scale and significance of the archaeological works and what is found. These public activities should not be seen as an additional burden, but rather as a mechanism for delivering sustainable development and maximising the positive contribution the development is making to local communities.

"Public benefit is at the heart of what we do and we welcome the launch of this new document by our members in Scotland helping us take forward the aims of Scottish Government’s new NPF4"
John Lawson ALGAO:UK Chair

“FAME: the Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers, welcomes ALGAO: Scotland’s Guidance for the delivery of Public Benefit and Social Value. ALGAO: Scotland are the gatekeepers and guardians of Scotland’s archaeology in the planning process, and FAME members – as the contractors and consultants that deliver the planning-led archaeological fieldwork that ALGAO: Scotland members facilitate - greatly appreciate this guidance, which will support our ability to provide social value opportunities and benefits for the Scottish public.”
Kenneth Aitchson: CEO FAME: Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers

“CIfA welcomes this new guidance for the delivery of Public Benefit and Social Value, which closely aligns with our professional practice paper on Delivering Public Benefit. It’s fantastic to see ALGAO Scotland providing guidance on how to secure and maximise public benefit within the planning system, a requirement from the new National Planning Framework for Scotland. We look forward to working with ALGAO Scotland to disseminate the guidance throughout Scotland and beyond.”
Kate Geary: Head of Professional Development and Practice at the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists


ALGAO:Scotland 'Delivery of Public Benefit and Social Value Guidance for Archaeology in the Planning Process' report
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