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News and updates from The Heritage Alliance team.

More of the latest news from The Alliance, our members, and from across the independent heritage sector, can be found in our fortnightly e-bulletin, Heritage Update.

Could you be Chair of The Heritage Alliance?

May 29, 2018

Could you be Chair of The Heritage Alliance?

The Heritage Alliance is looking for a new Chair, to be appointed at its Heritage Day and Annual General Meeting in December 2018.

The Chair will be responsible for overseeing the work of the charity, and for convening meetings of the board of trustees. They will be a dynamic ambassador for the independent heritage sector, being a vocal advocate for the cause of the Alliance’s diverse membership of 120 separate heritage organisations. They will take the lead in driving the next phase of the Alliance’s development and ensuring its sustainability as one of England’s most prominent and recognisable advocates for heritage.

The Chair serves a three-year term, which is renewable. The current Chair, Loyd Grossman, will step down in December after serving three successful three-year terms. For more information please see the role profile, or contact Ben Cowell, the Deputy Chair of The Heritage Alliance, on 020 7259 5688 (the office number for Historic Houses, where Ben is based) or

Closing date for applications is 11th June.

Heritage Alliance publishes first ever international report

March 28, 2018

Heritage Alliance publishes first ever international report

The Heritage Alliance has published the first ever report on the independent heritage sector’s impact overseas.

The report, sponsored by the Scottish Confucius Institute for Business & Communication at Heriot-Watt University, makes recommendations for building on the success of the overall sector which already generates £21.7 billion a year. The Heritage Alliance hopes that the report will not only help develop international opportunities for a post Brexit Britain but also inform international discussions such as April’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 in London.

Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, said: ‘We’re delighted that this report has so clearly demonstrated that our world-leading heritage skills are already doing so much to support ‘Brand Britain’. We hope that, as we enter a new post Brexit landscape, these recommendations will galvanise the Government to support the independent heritage sector to maximise its already impressive economic impact and soft power role.’

England’s heritage industry is already a major contributor to the national economy – directly generating at least £10 billion in gross value added (GVA) and indirectly generating 2% of national GVA (£21.7 billion)[i]. This is more than the agriculture and aerospace sectors combined.

Our heritage is front and centre of the UK’s unique offer on the international stage, from our enduring success as a tourism magnet powered by our famous historic houses and monuments, to our world-leading expertise in pioneering heritage science to our archaeological accreditation process. Although recognised in principle by the Foreign Secretary, much of this enterprise by the non-government heritage bodies is undertaken below the official radars, or those arranging trade delegations and other cultural bodies.

The report highlights examples of the sector’s expertise and explores some of the innovative projects in case studies (summarised in the notes to editors section below). It notes that Heritage Alliance members are engaging in at least 38 countries across all seven continents; and how cultural relations developed by these civil society organisations add a ‘values’ dimension to soft power rankings, offering an independent and complementary network to government diplomacy (increasingly important as traditional diplomacy with countries such as Russia becomes more challenging). However, the report notes that international heritage work, especially by the UK’s vigorous civil society movement, is badly served by current statistics.

The recommendations set out in the report are a starting point for Government to crystallise the support it promised to the voluntary heritage sector’s international work in its ‘Heritage Statement’[ii] in December last year. The Heritage Alliance report recommends:

  • Support for backfilling posts especially when senior expertise in small organisations are concentrating on international work;
  • Travel bursaries to help promote exchanges of heritage professionals and students in support of project work;
  • A Heritage Alliance event with partners to explore international engagement and funding opportunities;
  • A similar initiative to the Artists’ International Development Fund to facilitate international exchange in a heritage context;
  • Visa exemptions for accredited experts and academics in the field should be considered after Brexit. Any visa system should be based on skills required, not on salary levels, and work both ways – exporting as well as importing key skills;
  • Funders should consider the benefit of allocating small grants to cover translating training resources and other outputs where appropriate;
  • The British Council, Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Foreign Office should consider where and how heritage and heritage ngos can be a positive resource, integral to their international work; and
  • The Heritage Alliance to work with DCMS to better track the impact and potential of the independent heritage sector internationally.

You can read the report in full here.

Case studies

The report contains case studies on the international work of the independent heritage sector:

World Monuments Fund Britain: Accessing Cultural Protection Fund funding to work in the Middle East

UK Antarctic Heritage Trust: Caring for a whole continent

Venice in Peril Fund: Patience and persistence

The Institute of Conservation: Cultural Exchange Tour to China

The Ragged School Museum: Japanese interest in UK C19th social child care

Chelsea Physic Garden: A historic seed exchange initiative still bearing fruit

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings: A world-renowned scholarship programme

Historic Transport Bodies: International leadership

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists: Working globally for professional standards

Historic Houses: Universal challenges for private owners

International National Trusts Organisation: Supporting existing and emerging trusts

Notes to editors: 

  1. Heritage Counts, Heritage and the Economy 2017:
  2. The Heritage Statement, DCMS December 2017: ‘We will work with Historic England and other partners to encourage and support public, private and voluntary sector heritage organisations to work internationally and create international partnerships and to increase their capacity to do so’
  3. The report, initiated by The Heritage Alliance through a survey of its members in 2017, was completed by Kate Pugh.
  4. The Heritage Alliance gratefully acknowledges sponsorship of production costs by the Scottish Confucius Institute for Business & Communication at Heriot-Watt University.
  5. The Heritage Alliance unites well over 100 independent heritage organisations in England as a powerful, effective and independent advocate for heritage. As England’s biggest coalition of heritage interests it brings together independent heritage organisations from the National Trust, English Heritage, Canal & River Trust and Historic Houses Association, to more specialist bodies representing visitors, owners, volunteers, professional practitioners, funders and educationalists. Its members’ 7 million volunteers, trustees, members and staff demonstrate the strength and commitment of the independent heritage movement. Visit: @Heritage_NGOs

Help shape the future of The Heritage Alliance

March 9, 2018

Help shape the future of The Heritage Alliance

Please fill out this short survey to help The Heritage Alliance build the evidence base for a resilience bid to strengthen the Alliance and build the capacity of our staff and volunteers for the long term. This will form an essential part of our membership, benefits and systems review this year. We would be so grateful if you can spend a few minutes helping us get into the best shape for the future.

Commons Select Committee inquiry into the social impact of participation in culture and sport response

Commons Select Committee inquiry into the social impact of participation in culture and sport response

The Heritage Alliance has submitted evidence to the Commons Select Committee inquiry into the social impact of participation in culture and sport. Of the Inquiry’s five major themes we focused our answers on health and diversity as that is where work some of our new work has developed in recent months. Read our response.

Pre-commencement planning conditions consultation response

Pre-commencement planning conditions consultation response

The Alliance has responded to the Government’s consultation on the use of pre-commencement planning conditions

These are conditions imposed by a local authority when granting planning permission which must be met before work can start. We have supported the Government’s moves to ensure that clear information is provided on why such conditions are being imposed and the proposed ability to impose conditions where an applicant has not responded to a proposed condition. However, we have argued that the Government should also allow local authorities to impose heritage related pre-commencement planning conditions to ensure that existing protections for heritage are not undermined. We have also called on the Government to carry out an impact assessment before proceeding with the policy. 

Read our response here.

Response to Brexit: movement of people in the fields of sport and culture inquiry

February 28, 2018

Response to Brexit: movement of people in the fields of sport and culture inquiry

The Alliance has responded to the Lord’s EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee inquiry Brexit: movement of people in the fields of sport and culture inquiry. In our response, we stressed that there are significant numbers of non-UK EU citizens that work in the heritage sector in England in a variety of capacities, and UK companies and citizens who work in heritage in other EU countries. This two-way exchange of expertise and labour is extremely important to the sector.

Thank you to those of you who responded to our survey on EU workers. Findings which fed into our response included:

  • Around 30% of respondents employ over 30% of non-UK EU nationals;
  • 22% of respondents employ over 60% non-UK EU nationals. Respondents also noted that they employ additional EU nationals as subcontractors;
  • In contrast to the figures for EU nationals, 89% of respondents employ less than 10% of non-UK nationals from outside the EU;
  • Over 55% of respondents say that a restriction on access to EU workers would negatively affect their organisation. One respondent noted that posts in their organisation might have otherwise remained unfilled;
  • If a salary level of 30,000 were required as minimum for a visa for EU nationals over half of respondents report that over 50% of the jobs in their organization would not meet this criterion, with 46 % saying that this salary requirement would affect over 60% of their job roles.
  • Over three quarters of respondents anticipate their workload increasing in the future, exacerbating an existing skills gap, with well over half of respondents believing that the UK does not have enough labour at present to meet this increased need without access to EU nationals.
  • Many tourism-based heritage organisations rely on some form of foreign seasonal staff. A recent provisional Historic Houses Association survey showed that 25% of their members indicated that they employed 5 or more EU nationals in the businesses on their properties. For 18% of respondents to our survey, seasonal workers made up 10-30% of their total workforce.
Read our response.

Response to the Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry: 25-Year Environment Plan

Response to the Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry: 25-Year Environment Plan

The Alliance’s Rural Heritage Advocacy Group has responded to the Environmental Audit Committee Inquiry: 25-Year Environment Plan

Our response notes, among other things that the plan is ambitious for heritage, given the extent of decay of the rural historic environment. Importantly, the Plan repeatedly emphasises the importance of public goods. It also gives the natural and historic environments parity of approach, an approach which is long overdue. From both a natural environment and a historic environment perspective, we do not think there is a lack of ambition. Read our response.

John Glen launches Heritage Statement at Heritage Day 2017

December 6, 2017

John Glen launches Heritage Statement at Heritage Day 2017

The Heritage Minister, John Glen, chose The Heritage Alliance’s annual Heritage Day to launch his Heritage Statement.  The Minister also kindly said ‘ I commend the work of the Heritage Alliance. We are very fortunate to have Loyd, Lizzie and the rest of the team doing the great work that they do for our heritage and for the heritage sector’ read the Minister’s speech.

Measures in the Heritage Statement include:

  • Launching a new Heritage Council, chaired by the Minister, to emphasise the value of the historic environment, build consensus and ensure greater coordination.
  • A new commemorative scheme to be rolled out across England to mark and celebrate the events, people and places that have shaped local communities.
  • Exploring options to strengthen interim protection measures and reduce the risk of damage or destruction to sites while they are being considered for listing.
  • Working with Historic England and Heritage Lottery Fund to support the digitisation of historic environment records and heritage archives to help councils make informed planning decisions and increase public appreciation for their local heritage.

Heritage Day saw the launch of our new Heritage Funding Directory with the AHF and the Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Heroes awards. This year these went to: 

Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Award for 2017 – David Martyn, founder and Chair of the King’s Weston Action Group

Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Hero Award 2017  for Outstanding Contribution – Norman Hudson, Chairman, Country Houses Foundation.


Over £3m raised by heritage projects due to ‘Giving to Heritage’ training

December 1, 2017

Over £3m raised by heritage projects due to ‘Giving to Heritage’ training

An independent evaluation on the Giving to Heritage (GTH) programme has reported that heritage projects have raised £3.15m directly attributable to participation in GTH’s affordable fundraising training. GTH funding has had a transformative effect for the heritage sector – many of the organisations that took part could not have afforded fundraising training otherwise.

The evaluation, carried out by Consilium Research, noted that the £3.15 million raised so far will continue to increase year on year as new fundraising strategies are developed and implemented. The evaluation also reported that confidence and skill levels in heritage fundraising and capacity building have increased substantially due to the GTH training.

The Heritage Alliance (THA) and Institute of Fundraising (IoF) created the Giving to Heritage programme thanks to generous ‘Catalyst initiative’ funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and DCMS. The c£750,000 of grant funding has enabled over 1,700 individuals representing over 800 heritage organisations to access fundraising training and capacity building opportunities which included workshops, executive coaching, one-to-one support and webinars.

The success of the first ever project between the IoF and the heritage sector demonstrates the dramatic impact of seed funding which allows umbrella organisations like The Heritage Alliance to create innovative capacity building programmes. See the case studies in the notes to editors section below for more information and quotes from GTH attendees.

The Heritage Alliance and Institute of Fundraising are keen to hear from funders and donors who can help continue this important work. The scheme is now closed for live training, but you can continue to use resources and view webinars at the Giving to Heritage Website.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players Giving to Heritage has offered heritage organisations the tools to develop longer-term financial independence. It is great to see such positive findings from this evaluation, and we look forward to seeing continued benefits for the entire sector resulting from the GTH training”.

 Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, said: “We’re delighted that this evaluation has so clearly demonstrated the impact of funding training for small organisations. The GTH programme has successfully helped the heritage sector become more self-sufficient. We’re grateful for the transformative role the Heritage Lottery Fund has played in supporting our sector’s future. We would welcome new investment to continue to allow GTH to spread best practice in the heritage sector.”

Peter Lewis, IoF Chief Executive, said: ‘At a time when many smaller charities are struggling, this evaluation highlights the transformative impact that high quality fundraising training can have.  We are very grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this programme, which this report shows has made a tremendous difference to the sustainability of these heritage organisations allowing them to continue and to expand their vital work’.

A summary of the evaluation is here or you can read the full document here.

Autumn Budget 2017: Summary

November 23, 2017

Autumn Budget 2017: Summary

The Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, has presented the Autumn Budget, the second budget of 2017.  The key heritage announcements include £4 million to Jodrell Bank, the UK’s next candidate for UNESCO World Heritage Site status and £2 million Cultural Development Fund funding for place-based cultural development. The budget sets out reforms of the housing market but doesn’t explicitly state that permitted development rights will be extended to allow upwards building as was previously trailed in The Telegraph.

Read the full summary here.