A Merger and a Demerger
Today marks the beginning of a new era for Scottish and English heritage protection and participation, with the establishment of the corporate body and Board merging Historic Scotland and Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) to create new organisation Historic Environment Scotland and the demerger of English Heritage which creates the new charity English Heritage Trust and statutory body Historic England.
English Heritage, now a registered charity, will continue to care for and open to the public sites under their guardianship- the National Heritage Collection.
The government will grant fund the charity, on a declining basis, for a few years until it becomes self-funding and this opens up more opportunities for the organisation to raise money for England’s heritage.
They’re also looking for volunteers- so get applying!
This new organisation is the statutory body for England’s heritage- providing the expert advice to owners of historic sites, local authorities, members of the public etc.
So, if you are the proud owner of a Listed Building, a Scheduled Monument, or you need advice on planning, research, designation or the National Monuments Record- they’re your team.
Historic Environment Scotland
The establishment of the new corporate body and the appointment of a Board happens today, but the transfer of operations will not happen until October 2015. The two-phase approach has been established to ensure that the transfer is a smooth one and the objectives for the future are clear.
The merger of RCAHMS and Historic Scotland is almost the opposite of what’s happened to English Heritage. Historic Environment Scotland will bring together the expertise and skills of both the former organisations, but it will be a Non Departmental Public Body, becoming more independent from the Scottish Government and meaning it has more opportunities for funding and the ability (and expectation) to apply for charitable status, as English Heritage has done.
But what does it all actually mean?
For many people, externally, you probably won’t see a huge change, so there is no cause for concern. Apart from a new logo here, a changed email address there (all of which will have their old addresses’ emails forwarded to them I’m sure), their normal responsibilities will still be carried out, just divvied up in a slightly different way.
So, now you know your English Heritage from your Historic England and your Royal Commission from your Historic Environment Scotland, what do you really need to remember? Two things in my opinion:
1. We have a huge pool of experts, employed by these organisations to help and advise you. If you own or are thinking of buying a Listed Building, or some land containing a Scheduled Monument- don’t walk away! My colleagues are there to help you find the best solution for making sure that our heritage is protected for many years to come- being the ‘heritage police’ will not be why they chose their career. Get in touch- we’re here to help.
2. There is a wealth of fascinating sites open to the public- some with huge visitor centres and hands-on activities, some in the middle of nowhere, free of charge and free of people. Take time to explore and discover and learn about this amazing group of islands’ past.