IHBC’s member survey seeks personal perspectives on interim findings and asks: ‘Are we missing anything’? 

question markThe IHBC has launched the next stage in its 2017-18 member survey, calling for members’ thoughts on feedback to date, with responses to be sent to our consultant, Joanna, as soon as possible, at contact@ihbc.org.uk.

IHBC Chair James Caird said: ‘Our recent membership survey captures lots of good positive feedback, but we also face huge challenges, ranging from our pan-disciplinary aspirations, to practicalities such as our small scale and limited resources.  Recognising and addressing both the good and the bad news, as well as some challenging truths, we hope to improve our services even more.’

‘Now we’re looking for more detailed feedback on our provisional thoughts, as outlined below.  This is now your chance to let us know if we have it right, or if we are missing anything!’

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘For detailed information, members can get copies of the interim report to trustees simply by emailing our consultant Joanna Theobald, contact@ihbc.org.uk.  However, as a prompt, we’ve offered some headline points and comments below, which offer us both good and bad news.’

Summary initial findings from the IHBC member survey include:

  • Largely positive member feedback:
    • 92% satisfied or very satisfied (Service standard)
    • 80% see our corporate aims and objectives as personal priorities (Personal ‘buy in’)
    • 75% see accreditation as the key attraction to offer new members (Professional standing)
    • Professional and practice standards are a priority for members, so the Conservation Professional Practice Principles, and underpinning services such as the Toolbox Research and Guidance Notes, are critical, as well as more strategic sector support such as the reduced price for our branded BS 7913.
  • But we could do better:
    • While most find it easy to volunteer with the IHBC, almost as many find it ‘Difficult’ – a worrying extreme for a voluntary organisation, even if nearly 60% find it easy or very easy!
    • Inconsistencies across our local voluntary operations have been highlighted
    • There are strong legacy perceptions, giving rise to some emphatically contradictory takes on the IHBC’s performance, objectives and roles
    • Substantial ambitions may be a concern, for what is in the end a small voluntary charity.

SURVEY SUMMARY @ 2 MARCH 2018: For member comments
Interim report copies available on request to contact@ihbc.org.uk


SENTIMENTS: MEMBERSHIP & PROMOTION (identifying top 2 highest %)

  • Satisfied – 53%
  • Very Satisfied – 39%


  • I want to support the IHBC’s aims and objectives – 80%
  • Support improvements in my skills – 70%


  • Professional accreditation/letters after name – 75%
  • Training opportunities – 64%


  • `Professional status… including IHBC post nominals and practice standards such as the ‘Conservation Professional Practice Principles’ – 59%
  • Publications – 48%


  • Easy – 43.18%
  • Difficult – 38.64%



  • Very Likely – 60.23%
  • Likely – 34.09%


Critical summary takes from respondents, as prompts for further feedback, include:

  • I sometimes feel I have to apologise for being a member of the IHBC and this is a great shame given that what it does is, taken as whole, greatly to be commended
  • The membership application process is still quite cumbersome
  • Now far too heavily focussed on private sector members
  • The organisation is only interested in local authority conservation…
  • There is still too little done about getting all local authority conservation staff to become members
  • … disappointed not to get full membership and hardly any feedback given as to why…
  • …How effective is the Code of Practice? How many members have been censured? IHBC seems to be reluctant to discuss this issue.
  • The IHBC rest too much on its laurels and the work of others.
  • Too narrow/preach to the converted
  • I’d still like to see IHBC and CiFA combined
  • I am a little concerned about ‘advocacy’ which can start as ‘helping’ but may end as promoting methods and materials which are somebody’s current favourite
  • I appreciate that meeting all of these demands, to a high level, is a tall order for a relatively small organisation with limited resources and funding (in comparison to, say, the RTPI, RIBA or RICS) but it is something we have to continually strive to do
  • …. I do find it absurd that the IHBC tells me little about actual conservation items such as consultations
  • No breadth
  • Distance constraints from local branch meetings
  • ..unfriendly…
  • There is a bit of a closed inner circle. Not always the most able people.
  • I would like there to be more events to attend, I often don’t find out about things until the last minute and then can’t attend.
  • It is largely geared towards local authority employees and not those in private practice.
  • The regional office was hard to contact and keep up contact with.
  • Too political
  • Include more regional news / links in email bulletins
  • ….more regular communications from Branch
  • ….would like to see more events/engagement (CPD, networking – even informally) at branch level to promote more interaction with the membership
  • Give more funding and support to local branches
  • IHBC regionally can be fairly invisible,
  • ….include maybe a monthly update on current items of interest?
  • Provide more support to private sector heritage consultants
  • Switch from Transmit to Receive
  • Communicating up and coming meetings in a timely manner
  • List places needing volunteers etc
  • Ask members to get involved in the newsletter.
  • A young members group would be good.
  • Stop being the ACO by another name
  • Be more useful to me as working professional by becoming more professional yourselves
  • Involve a wider range of experts and professions…. There is very little for architects, nothing for engineers or quantity surveyors; and very little for carpenters and masons.
  • … I often find the amenity groups including IHBC seem to have limited understanding of outside of a specific architectural or principle setting as a pressure group.
  • Facebook groups (or similar group platform) for each region.
  • Link-up with other Heritage organisations such as SPAB, Georgian and Victorian Societies
  • Strive to achieve better working relationships between those in private practice and those working in local authorities
  • The accreditation process for membership I have just gone through is unnecessarily arduous
  • Provide a mentor scheme
  • Reference to conservation officers demonstrating their ‘management and financial’ issues mis- understands both the role and the relevance of this area to accreditation.
  • More events. Cheaper events. Better communication of events. Greater engagement in practical trades/craft skills
  • Increase opportunities for involvement without having to be a branch/committee member.
  • Be upfront about the time likely to be required to enable a realistic decision to be made regarding involvement in any particular task.
  • Appeal to a wider range of level
  • Support and promote committees and Branches via IHBC+
  • … whilst conservation practitioners (private or local authority) are able to practice without membership, there is little incentive for them to get through the rigorous entry process..
  • The difficulty the centre seems to have in controlling the public engagement by some of its regional branches can make the iHBC occasionally look unprofessional and this does the organisation no favours

To add your response for consideration, and for a copy of the interim report, simply email our consultant Joanna with any further thoughts, at contact@ihbc.org.uk

For background see the NewsBlog

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