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Purpose and scope of audit
Purpose, scope and approach to an audit of the Paper 2 historic environment 19 December 2005 Introduction Evidence based policy making is a high priority for the Scottish Executive. Scottish Ministers have commissioned Historic Scotland to establish a regular audit of the historic environment to help develop the evidence base. An external Stakeholder Advisory Group will oversee the audit. This paper sets out the purpose and scope of the audit – and sets out some initial ideas about how it could be taken forward. Purpose of audit A great deal of information is collected by Historic Scotland, RCAHMS, local government, professional organisations and voluntary groups for their own purposes but much of this information is not collated on a national scale to provide an overview. The audit will provide a mechanism to develop the evidence base for the historic environment sector, to inform government policy making and promote collaboration and joint working. Definition of the historic environment There are a number of definitions of the historic environment (Annex 1). All of these are broad and wide ranging. While we can embrace a comprehensive definition of the historic environment, it is essential that the scope of the audit is focused and manageable. Scope of audit In broad terms the scope of the audit has been agreed with the Minister and Historic Scotland have been commissioned to: • pull together information on the historic environment, analyse it and present it on a dedicated website; and • establish a stakeholder advisory group to facilitate sharing of knowledge and co- ordinate a report on the “state of the historic environment”. In due course, Historic Scotland will seek agreement from the Minister, to develop a business plan for further development of the evidence base available to the historic environment sector. Resources Undertaking an audit of the historic environment is an enormous task. The HEACS report1 on the need for a Scottish heritage audit noted that “an overall picture of the sector cannot emerge overnight and cannot be achieved without resources”. At present there is a part time (60%) Project Manager to co-ordinate the project and £200K has provisionally been allocated for the Corporate Plan period 2005-8. It is also anticipated that one additional full-time member of staff will be recruited in the next 12-months to manage external research commissions and to analyse information. 1 Report and recommendations on the need for a heritage audit in Scotland and how to take it forward, Historic Environment Advisory Council (HEACS), 2004 Managing expectations The Stakeholder Advisory Group will play an important role in managing the sector’s expectations to fit with the scope of the audit that has been agreed with the Minister, and the current availability of information and resources. The first audit alone will not produce a comprehensive report on the state of the historic environment. The audit will be an iterative and ongoing process. It is likely that in the initial stages the focus will be on nationally protected sites as this is where most information is readily available. However, where possible the audit will aim to put the analysis of protected sites into a broader context by making use of sample information that goes beyond protected sites (e.g. land use assessments, burgh surveys etc). It will be important to work with the Stakeholder Advisory Group to gradually identify, gather and analyse information on unprotected sites. Planning Assumptions In developing an approach to the audit, a number of working assumptions have been made. These are explained below. • Starting small: it is proposed that the emphasis in the initial stages (i.e. probably the first 18-months) will be on making better use of existing data and making it more widely available, probably through a dedicated website area. A priority task will be to establish a better understanding of what we have and its condition. It is proposed that this is the focus of the first Scottish report. As stated previously, it is likely that in the initial stages the focus will be on nationally protected sites as this is where most information is readily available. However, where possible information on unprotected sites will be gathered and analysed. • Reporting cycle: it is proposed that a report on the ‘state of the historic environment’ is produced on a three-year cycle. Experience from English Heritage’s “Heritage Counts” initiative has shown that the commitment to produce an annual report in England has proved to be very onerous and given there is not significant change over any 12 month period, English Heritage has found itself using the annual report for advocacy purposes rather than primarily for objective reporting of change and trends. A three-year cycle would also fit with Corporate Plan and Spending Review periods. It is proposed that in addition to the 3-year reporting cycle, there would be scope to produce reports or topic papers on an adhoc basis as the need arises. • Level of reporting: where possible data will be collected and reported on a local authority basis in Scotland as well as at a national level. A regional focus is important as issues vary widely from place to place. Where national coverage is incomplete, sample information may provide useful case studies on a range of issues (e.g. one off research case studies, land use assessment, burgh surveys, coastal surveys etc). • Identifying future research priorities: following publication of the first Scottish report on the “state of the historic environment”, priorities for future research and thematic reports will be identified. Agreement will be sought from the Minister to further develop the evidence base. Overview of Approach Based on the planning assumptions set out in the previous paragraph, it is proposed that the following approach is adopted to take forward the audit of the historic environment. Over the next 18-months, it is proposed that we concentrate on the following 5 tasks: 1. Agree audit scope: Advisory group to agree the scope of the audit. 2. Recruit staff: HS to recruit an additional member of staff to manage external research commissions; and to gather and analyse information in-house. 3. Establish and meet IT and website requirements: • Stakeholder Advisory Group to discuss website requirements and branding for audit • HS to establish a technical sub-group to scope out and deliver IT and website requirements. These are big tasks. Issues to consider include: - text to explain purpose of audit on HS website (temporarily). - develop a dedicated website (micro website) to report audit information as it becomes available (with audit branding). - ensure we have appropriate IT facilities to store and analyse data and to organise data population as required. 4. Audit, collate and analyse information in-house and via external commissions as appropriate: • Advisory group to agree priorities for next 18-months for information gathering and analysis. • It is proposed that we: - use HS in-house resources to gather and analyse information on protected sites and on funding/grants. And work with stakeholders to identify and analyse available information on unprotected sites; - commission an external contractor to gather and analyse condition information to inform an assessment of the state of the historic environment; - commission an external contractor to conduct research into social attitudes to the historic environment. Various reports have identified this as a priority - and Edinburgh World Heritage are keen supporters (see Annex 2). - commission an external contractor to gather and analyse information on the tangible and intangible benefits of heritage (see point 5 below). • A priority is to establish information which already exists and to disseminate it more widely. The audit will be an iterative process (i.e. we will gradually identify and prioritise what we want to know, what information we have available, and how we want to present it) – and will involve liaison with stakeholders. Members of the Stakeholder Advisory group will be expected to provide advice on information sources and facilitate data sharing. 5. Prepare and publish reports: • Advisory group to agree priorities for reporting. • It is proposed that: - the first Scottish report focuses on presenting a picture of heritage assets and their condition (Annex 3 sets out broad outline for this report). - we produce a thematic report from the external research into social attitudes to the historic environment (see Annex 2). - the second Scottish report focuses on the tangible and intangible benefits of heritage (Annex 4 sets out broad coverage for this report). • Work with HS Communications to develop report styles/formats/cover etc; and to commission photographs. Mid 2007 onwards: The first Scottish report on the ‘state of the historic environment’ will provide a good basis for consultation with stakeholders to identify future key research and information gaps. As agreed (with the Minister), Historic Scotland are then required to seek further agreement from the Minister, to develop a business plan for further development of the evidence base available to the historic environment sector. This will include identifying priorities for future research, information gathering and reporting. Conclusion This paper has set out the scope and purpose of an ongoing audit of the historic environment. It has presented a suggested approach to the audit and identified a series of planning assumptions required to deliver that approach. Recommendation The Stakeholder Advisory Group is invited to agree the purpose, scope, planning assumptions and approach to the audit, set out in this paper. Karen Robertson Heritage Audit Manager \Heritage Audit\External Advisory Group\Purpose and scope of audit ANNEX 1 Definition of the historic environment There are a number of definitions of the historic environment. The most commonly referred to include: The Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc (Scotland) Act 2003, which defines the historic environment as “any or all of the structures and places in Scotland of historical, archaeological or architectural interest or importance;” The Scottish Environment LINK report2, which defines the historic environment as “the elements of human activity which have left traceable evidence in the modern landscape of Scotland, whether visible or not, and which are ascribed value today;” and Passed to the Future3/HEACS4 reports, which define the historic environment audit as “an umbrella term which refers to aspects of our environment. Our environment, whether rural or urban, or land or underwater, has a historical dimension that contributes to its quality and character. This is most obvious in our tangible built heritage of ancient monuments, archaeological sites and landscapes, historical buildings, townscapes, parks, gardens and designed landscapes, and other remains resulting from human activity of all periods. It encompasses the context, or setting, in which these features sit and the patterns of past use in landscapes and within the soil, and in the towns, villages and streets. It also has less tangible aspects recognised as the historical, artistic, literary, linguistic and scenic associations of landscapes. These various elements contribute fundamentally to our sense of place and cultural identity.” Scoping the audit All of these definitions are broad and wide ranging. While we can embrace a comprehensive definition of the historic environment, it is essential that the scope of the audit is focused and manageable. The following points should be noted: • as the audit of the historic environment will evolve over time, it is likely that what is considered to be part of the historic environment will be constantly redefined. It is also likely that in the early reports more will be able to be reported about statutory sites as more will be known about their number and condition. • it is therefore proposed that, to begin with, the audit prioritises the gathering and analysis of information on the built environment, archaeological environments, coastal environments and designed landscapes. • the audit would not initially present a comprehensive analysis of pre-1919 housing unless it is listed or on the at risk register. It is recognised that houses are among our most important historic assets. However, there are other measures which can help us assess the age and quality of our housing stock. The Scottish House Condition Survey assesses the condition of and improvements to the housing stock. It includes a physical survey, (a market valuation), and where occupied – an interview with the householder to gain socio- economic information. 2 Scottish Environment Audits, 4. The Historic Environment, Dr Carol Swanson, Scottish Environment LINK (2001) 3 Passed to the Future – Historic Scotland’s Policy for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment, 2002 4 Report and recommendations on the need for a heritage audit in Scotland and how to take it forward, Historic Environment Advisory Council (HEACS), 2004 ANNEX 2 Research on Social Attitudes to Heritage Need for the work The LINK report and other reports state that no statistics are available in Scotland to support the social and educational value of heritage. This issue has been examined in England, where English Heritage has conducted a MORI poll into attitudes towards the historic environment/heritage. Research aims The overall aim of this research is to investigate and provide evidence about the extent to which the resident population views and values the historic environment. The research is also intended to reveal more clearly the level of public awareness of and participation in activities to promote, protect and enhance the historic environment. It is anticipated that the research will enable a national picture to be established, as well as conclusions to be drawn for all Scotland’s six cities and a cross section of its towns and rural areas. The work would be designed to help inform the work of the city heritage trusts. Historic Scotland have been in discussion with Edinburgh World Heritage – who are keen that this work is commissioned soon. Outputs: It is proposed that this research is published as a thematic study report and informs the second Scottish audit report – which will focus on the benefits of heritage. ANNEX 3 Draft outline coverage of first Scottish audit report on the state of the historic environment This report would build on the LINK audit to provide an overview of our heritage assets; an analysis of their condition and the threats facing them; and an assessment of their protection and management. It would provide a national overview and a series of LA tables where information exists. It would also provide a series of recommendations on future indicators and monitoring data to be collected. We would aim to publish this first report in mid 2007. 1) Introduction (purpose of report, intended audiences, definition of historic environment and scope of the audit, structure of report) 2) The Historic Environment Assets (a) Designated sites, buildings and landscapes • World Heritage Sites (definition, number/location/description, UK tentative list) • Scheduled Monuments (definition; number/location/type; description of scheduling process; categories (e.g. historic battlefields, protected wrecks, military remains and maritime archaeology) • Listed Buildings (definition; description of listing process; number/location/type; categories (e.g. churches, hospitals etc) • Conservation Areas (definition; number, location, type, description/categorisation, see Conservation Area character appraisals) • Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes (definition; number, location, type, description, see the Inventory) • Other relevant designations (national parks, others?) (b) Undesignated/unprotected sites • Analysis of one off research, surveys and other material on undesignated sites, such as: Townscape audits/heritage initiatives, Scottish Burgh Surveys, etc? • what other measures are currently available to measure unprotected/undesignated sites? 3) Condition of Historic Environment Assets An analysis of information that is available on condition, such as: • Occasional individual studies of local areas (e.g. Strathclyde Regional Council Postal Surveys of listed buildings 1982/3, 1994) • Condition of historic buildings in rural areas – Lothians study by Rural Buildings conservation Initiative and HS (2000) • Warden condition assessments of monuments • PIC condition assessments • Scottish house condition survey (pre-1919 stock) • Buildings at risk register • Historic land use assessment (land use changes over time) • SNH analysis of land cover changes in Scotland as part of national countryside monitoring scheme (www.snh.org.uk) • HS analysis of effects of burrowing animals and bracken • HS series of sample coastal surveys of marine erosion 4) Threats to the historic environment • Risks posed by development, forestry (www.forestry.gov.uk/fsscotland), natural erosion, decay and neglect etc • An analysis of planning applications and consents; conservation area and listed building applications • threats to heritage assets posed by material supply issues and how well the environment is looked after 5) Protection and management of the historic environment • overview of organisations involved in management of historic environment • international treaties and conventions • analysis of public and private investment, funding and grants to historic environment (& touch on role in economic regeneration) 6) Future information requirements • Suggested future Indicators (links to HS Corporate Plan and other Heritage organisations plans) • Recommendations for ongoing monitoring • Highlight gaps in evidence base, such as: - no specific audit of changes to historic landscape resources (in England The Monuments at Risk survey estimates monument loss since 1945) - no audit of condition of gardens and designed landscapes 7) Next steps ANNEX 4 Second Scottish Report on the benefits of heritage This report would update on the condition and management information reported in the first report – but would have a specific focus on the tangible and intangible benefits of heritage. It is proposed that an external contractor is appointed to collate and analyse the information on the tangible and intangible benefits of heritage. Questions about the wider value and benefit of the historic environment will be described at the national level but may usefully be illustrated through local case studies. The report would begin to evaluate the contribution the historic environment sector makes to the Scottish economy and to education and training. It would also look at access and social attitudes to the historic environment. It is anticipated that the report would cover issues such as: The Economy • Value of the historic environment to tourism (e.g. number of visitors to historic properties – HS, NTS, other orgs) • Employment (looking at measures such as % Scottish population employed in heritage e.g. management, conservation, interpretation of resources) • Management of the historic environment and sustainable development • Regeneration (e.g. refurbishment and reuse of buildings, historic building grants for individual buildings) • Effect on investment decisions and social inclusion? Education and Training • Role of historic environment in formal education • Training Physical access to attractions Awareness of and social attitudes to historic environment • Results from proposed research survey (public awareness/engagement) • Social accessibility of attractions (e.g. info on promotions, open days etc) • Public involvement in protecting historic environment (e.g. membership of environmental orgs) Future information requirements • Suggested future Indicators • Recommendations for ongoing monitoring • Highlighting gap in research and information
"Purpose and scope of audit"