IHBC-ALGAO-HE: LA conservation and archaeology stats 2017 now out – capacity drops again despite rise in work! 

HE Report cover on LA Staff ResourcesHistoric England (HE) has issued the latest figures collated by the IHBC and ALGAO for Local Authority (LA) conservation and archaeology staffing respectively, which highlight ongoing reductions in capacity even as workload – from planning application decisions and Listed Building Consent decisions – continues to grow.

IHBC Chair, James Caird said: ‘The low levels of staffing resources in local authorities at a time of increasing demand for their services is a matter of huge concern to the Institute.’

‘We are doing what we can, in collaboration with other agencies in the sector, to provide training and other resources for practitioners but a major building block of a well-conserved historic environment is adequately staffed local authority heritage service.’

IHBC Operations Director Fiona Newton said: ‘The IHBC research, funded and published by Historic England, shows that English local authority conservation services have reduced by a further 1% in the last year and cumulatively have declined by 37% since 2006.’

‘This Ninth Annual Report on Local Authority Staff Resources shows the dramatic impact of local government cutbacks on heritage management over more than a decade.  Local government archaeology services have also been hit and have fallen by 3% in the last year and by 35% since 2006.’

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly: ‘This research and data collection process is a small but critical part of the IHBC’s advocacy of the importance of competent, credible local authority conservation services in delivering sustainable conservation support and outcomes for our build and historic environment.’

‘Our recent work ranges from Research and Guidance Notes, held in our Toolbox, to practical advice for users and clients, including our ‘Local Authority Skills’ site, which lists everything from why we need these services, to lessons to be learned from service failures.’

‘In our forward planning, we are also developing a technical methodology to support the ‘Quality Assurance’ of local services, while also looking at how we can both better celebrate successes, but also highlight service failings for the damage they do to economic, cultural and environmental interests in our places.’

Historic England writes:

Figures collected early in 2017 show that the number of historic advice specialists in local authorities has continued to fall over the previous 12 months, whilst the workload in terms of number of planning application decisions and Listed Building Consent decisions had grown.’

See the IHBC ToolBox

For the LA Skills site and linked guidance and support see the IHBC website

DOWNLOAD the report

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