The Heritage Alliance is looking for a part-time office manager/bookkeeper for its small, friendly office in the heart of Westminster. This is an excellent opportunity to join a fast-growing and exciting charity with a critical role in representing the needs and views of the non-governmental heritage sector.
The successful candidate will work two days a week to run an office of 3 staff. This will cover office management and administration, bookkeeping on QuickBooks and QuickBooks payroll administration. They will also manage the office IT (small server), office equipment and supplies, helping with day to day queries. You will be pivotal in maintaining contact databases and managing membership subscriptions.
Deadline for applications is 22 May 2013, with the successful candidate expected to start on 23 July.
For more details, please click here.
After a fantastic response to our debate ‘Heritage & Tourism: Who Needs Whom?’ in Cambridge last year, the Alliance is delighted to announce the next in our series of sessions concerning the current direction and future of the historic environment.
Generously sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, our next debate – ‘Heritage & Television: Who Profits More?’ – will take place in Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, York, on 12 June. Chaired by Alliance Chairman Loyd Grossman OBE FSA, the panel consists of Dr Anna Whitelock, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History and Director of the Centre for Public History, Heritage and Engagement with the Past at Royal Holloway, University of London; John Goodall, Architectural Editor of Country Life and Ed Taylor, Executive Producer at ITV.
6.00pm for a 6.30 start at Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, York, followed by a reception, finishing at 8.20pm. This event is free of charge but registration is required. To find out more, click here for a flyer , programme,and profiles of the speakers.
Places are limited to 120. Registration opens 22 April. Please register for this free event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 27 May. Tickets will be by acknowledgement email.
The Alliance has responded to the latest Department for Education consultation on reform of the National Curriculum.
Launched on the 7th of February, Reform of the National Curriculum in England proposes sweeping changes to the way in which many subjects are taught. History saw the introduction of a strict teaching chronology – from prehistoric Britain to the fall of the Berlin Wall – for Key Stages 1-3, a drastic shift in policy from the previous Curriculum. Though the introduction of new aspects of history – such as prehistoric archaeology – was welcomed, many across the historic environment sector voiced concerns about this new format.
Several of the Alliance’s members have responded independently, such as the Historic Houses Association, the Black Environment Network and Historic Royal Palaces. For more details and for the Alliance’s response document, please click here. The Departmental response to the consultation is expected later in the year, along with new consultations on the curricula for GCSE and A-level.
The Government’s commitment to supporting and encouraging construction and infrastructure projects continues. Affordable housing gets a boost of an additional £225million commitment, aimed at building 15,000 more affordable units across England. The Build to Rent scheme has been expanded from £200 million to £1billion and consultation is planned on allowing further flexibilities between use classes – from retail and agricultural to residential – to increase responsiveness in the planning system. New planning guidance on shale gas exploration will be introduced by summer 2013 and the recommendations of the Taylor Review will be incorporated into a new suite of planning practice guidance. Moreover, the second phase of the Red Tape Challenge will also include sections on regulations governing infrastructure and capital investment plans have been increased by £3 billion from 2015/16 – with a particular focus on infrastructure.
However, the biggest change is the new ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, whereby the Government will guarantee mortgages for first-time buyers. A particular emphasis has been laid on new builds – the Government will guarantee up to 20% of a mortgage on a newly-built house.
Spending cuts continue in government departments, with all budgets except Health, Education and International Development facing 1% cuts and public sector pay increases capped at 1%. The next Spending Round, now confirmed for 26th June, will seek £11.5 billion in savings, with an additional £5 billion in efficiency savings. The Government will also look into reducing or scrapping ‘progressive pay’ in the civil service.
Away from Whitehall, the Government is looking to follow up the success of the Whole Place Community Budgets scheme by creating a multi-agency network to roll the programme out across the country. Under this, public, private and voluntary organisations in specific geographic areas cooperate to spend money effectively and efficiently on issues which affect their communities – details are expected to be announced at the 2015/16 Spending Round.
However, there is good news for charities. Lottery grants are forecast to rise from £1.1 billion in 2012/13 to £1.7 million in 2017/18. Moreover, the new Employment Allowance – which exempts small concerns from up to £2000 of their National Insurance Contributions on new employees – is forecast to save up to 35,000 charities around £45million. The Government have also pledged to open a consultation on the introduction of new tax relief to encourage investment in social enterprises.
The Heritage Alliance has responded to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s latest consultation on the placement of hardware for high-speed broadband; a development in the Government’s plan to roll out superfast broadband across the country. Currently, the UK is lagging behind mainland Europe in terms of broadband speed and many rural areas struggle in terms of connection.
However, the changes to regulations proposed in “Proposed changes to siting requirements for broadband cabinets and overhead lines to facilitate the deployment of superfast broadband networks” have caused concern. The removal of prior approval requirements, even in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas, leaves them without the much-needed protection they require. Reservations have also been expressed about the lack of provision for hardware removal after the proposed five-year amnesty period; given the current rate of technological development, the facilities installed will presumably be rendered obsolete.
The Alliance has always supported the rollout of superfast broadband, citing in particular the considerable economic benefits to rural communities. However, such progress should not be made at the expense of the historic environment and the natural landscape – long acknowledged engines of economic growth.
For the Alliance’s full response click here.
Alliance members who have also responded include:
The Historic Towns Forum
Reform of the planning system continues and the Alliance has responded to the Government’s latest proposals for streamlining and simplifying the regulations governing planning.
First came the Department for Communities and Local Government round of the Government-wide Red Tape Challenge, aimed at abolishing unnecessary regulations. This latest consultation covered planning procedure, major infrastructure projects, planning authorities and local planning and put forward over a hundred orders and regulations for abolition. However, the Alliance argued that consolidation or inclusion in secondary legislation for some regulations would result in more effective protection for the historic environment.
Then followed a CLG consultation on streamlining the planning application system – specifically, the regulations governing Design and Access Statements (DASs). After careful consideration, the Alliance recommended a new format of Heritage and Design Statements, a process whereby the heritage significance or impact of any building project would be given full consideration.
The Alliance’s full responses can be found here.
Engaging Places, the popular series of workshops aimed at bringing together teachers and the heritage sector, has been an outstanding success – all the sessions were were fully booked and attendees came away full of praise for their productive and informative content.
Held in Kensington Palace, York Minster and Peterborough Museum, they covered everything from National Curriculum changes to how best to identify local heritage assets. Teachers were able to speak frankly about the challenges they faced and teach owners and managers of historic sites about the needs of schools.
For those unable to attend, please find below presentations on changes to the National Curriculum, how to use the Engaging Places website, What Teachers Want from trips to heritage assets and how best to engage artistically with heritage, as well as a text of the new draft National Curriculum with explanatory notes.
The Heritage Alliance has submitted its response to the External Review of Government Planning Practice Guidance, which closes today.
Under the guidance of Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, a panel of experts have put forward several recommendations for simplifying the planning system – as well as making it more user-friendly. Chief amongst these is a proposed ‘web resource’ containing all Government-issued planning practice guidance, constantly updated and easy to access for all.
You can see the Alliance’s response here.
Alliance members that also responded include:
The Theatres Trust
Institute for Archaeologists
Historic Houses Association
Historic Towns Forum
The Alliance’s ‘Discovering Places’ project – the unique heritage strand of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad – has now come to an end. Over 18 intense months, the team worked with over 400 partners to deliver nearly 200 separate events, created four popular web resources and encouraged over 200,000 people to engage with their local environment in a new and exciting way.
Highlights included the ‘Walk the World‘ project in conjunction with the Royal Geographical Institute (with IBG) and ‘Meet the Species‘ with the Bristol Natural History Consortium.
The project was an excellent example of cooperation with local organisations from Box Hill to Ben Nevis, as well as with larger organisations. Thanks go to English Heritage and the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) for their support and to Ian Lush and Claire Horan for their hard work and dedication.
For the full report and an outline of projects, please click here.
The Alliance responded to the EC consultation on existing VAT legislation (4 January 2013).
The response focused on the importance, for environmental reasons, for retaining the option in Annexe III for member states to apply a reduced rate of VAT on works to residential buildings in private ownership. Although the UK government has not yet taken up that option, it should remain a possibility.
‘ England has nearly 5million pre-1919 dwellings which account for approximately £6.3bn of residential repair and maintenance output. The recent report Responsible Retrofitting* *(Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance 2012) includes plenty of evidence to demonstrate that:
- Traditional buildings can contribute to significantly reducing energy demand without placing these buildings or their occupants at undue risk.
- Traditional buildings often perform better in terms of heat loss through fabric than as stated in standard models and assessment methods.
We therefore recommend that the option to apply a lower rate of VAT on work to residential buildings in private ownership be retained in Annexe III. If this option were to be removed, it would conflict with the five EU priorities for 2020, the third of which relates to climate change / energy, where the target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (or even 30%, if the conditions are right) lower than 1990 and a 20% increase in energy efficiency
We consider that priority should be given to research to understand the energy behaviour and performance of traditional buildings, including addressing the lack of baseline data on which to make judgments relating to energy improvements. This would also support the first of the 2020 priorities, which is that 3% of the EU’s GDP should be invested in R&D.’
See the full response here.