IHBC’s new resource for threatened posts

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) has just launched a test (Beta) version of a web resource for IHBC members and other built and historic environment conservation specialists, particularly those in local government in England, to help them specify the importance of conservation to non-specialist managers or other decision makers targeting conservation services.

IHBC Chair Jo Evans said: “The website will help guide members to independent studies and statements on the importance of their professional work, whether core statutory functions or front line services supporting local communities.  This is an essential evidence base, helping remind us all of the duties that must be carried out even if a conservation post is lost, and the consequences, including the scrutiny of the ombudsman, if those duties are ignored.

Crucially, the resource also provides a signpost to the widespread, but often unsung, statements of the value of our members’ work by key authorities outside the heritage sector.  While the statements have often been inspired specifically by the IHBC’s own advocacy, they are an unique independent confirmation of the value of our work to business in particular, and society in general.”

Seán O’Reilly, IHBC Director, said: “This web resource cannot be the answer to a particular problem faced by a member, but it should be an essential resource for any member facing the loss of a post on the basis of decisions by people unfamiliar with the widespread benefits attached to the diverse front-line and statutory services provided by our members.

This first test version covers only England, as here we have been able to draw on the substantial investment recently by English Heritage into understanding how conservation works in local government, why it happens, and how best to support that work.  We are committed to developing comparable resources for the devolved nations and their Branches – that’s why the link pages to these are there, even if they only link to the material for England.

We know that this is a website that is neither complete in itself, nor prefect in its content – it is a signpost rather than a library, and a stick rather than a solution – but we welcome any feedback.  That may take the form of new case studies to supplement our evidence in England, draft texts for the pages that are as yet unwritten, or even suggestions for tweaks to improve the function.  We’re very happy to receive any useful comments’.

To provide feedback, please email Seán O’Reilly at director@ihbc.org.uk

For the Beta web resource see: http://ihbconline.co.uk/skills/default.html

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