The Government announced plans in 2013 for an eight year programme to establish an innovative new business model for English Heritage (the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England). Under the proposals, English Heritage will split its organisation into two. One part will become a charity whose purposes will be the conservation, public knowledge and enjoyment of the National Heritage Collection.
There will be no change to the Commission’s duties and responsibilities for preserving England’s wider historic environment. Those services will be delivered under the new name of "Historic England". Historic England will aim to make the heritage protection system work better for owners, developers and infrastructure providers, reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape without reducing protection for heritage. It will look to develop a stronger public-facing role. It will continue to develop its constructive approach to conservation demonstrating that heritage supports sustainable economic growth and job creation.
The Government consulted on detailed proposals for the new model between 6 December 2013 and 7 February 2014 and they have now issued an English Heritage New Model Consultation Response series of documents. The main points made by respondents regarding Historic England included:
- Respondents felt the consultation was "lighter" on Historic England. They required more detail on how Historic England would operate and its priorities before drawing a firmer conclusion on the direction of Historic England.
- A key point made by respondents was the need for Historic England to be adequately funded and able to fulfil its functions. Funding for Historic England should be completely separate from the charity and not be available to the charity to make up any shortfall.
- Many respondents requested that they continued to be involved in shaping Historic England through further consultation and stakeholder engagement. -Some respondents felt there was not enough emphasis on heritage protection as the ultimate aim for Historic England and that there was too much focus on sustainable development and the needs of customers (owners/developers etc). However others welcomed a renewed focus on working with organisations, businesses and individuals involved in shaping a sustainable historic environment.
English Heritage said the changes will come into effect on 1 April 2015.
Date: 14/10/2014 Date of publication