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News and updates - Historic Environment Scotland

This section contains all the relevant information and news on Historic Environment Scotland

Welcome to Historic Environment Scotland, October 2015

Historic Environment Scotland is the new lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment, and takes up its full statutory role from 1st October 2015. Created by the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014, the new body incorporates and will build on the strengths and expertise of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) who have been managing and recording the historic environment for over a century.

Historic Environment Scotland will lead and enable delivery of Our Place in Time, Scotland’s first ever strategy for the historic environment, which sets out how our historic environment will be carefully managed to deliver real and increasing benefits to Scotland’s people. The success of this strategy will ensure our diverse historic environment is cared for and protected, understood, valued, enjoyed and enhanced now and for future generations.

We are already developing our Corporate Plan 2016-19, demonstrating how the new organisation will meet the expectations of stakeholders. We will be launching the plan for public consultation in November.

This is an exciting new era for Scotland’s historic environment and we look forward to your support as we explore the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Find out more about Historic Environment Scotland.

New national heritage body for Scotland granted charitable status, September 2015

The new national heritage body for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has received charitable status from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

The move marks another important milestone in the establishment of the new  organisation, which will legally be known as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and takes up full operational powers on October 1st, following the merging of Historic Scotland and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) into a new public body.

As a new Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) with charitable status, HES will operate with a degree of independence while still being accountable to Scottish Ministers and Parliament when it officially starts work from the 1st of October.

The move brings the new body closer in line with other national cultural bodies including the National Library of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, The National Museum of Scotland and the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh. HES Chair, Jane Ryder has since written to the Convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee, MSP Stewart Maxwell, informing him of the new body’s successful application to become a charity.

Read the full news story

Chief Executive announced to lead Scotland's new historic environment body, August 2015

The Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Board announced David Middleton (CBE) as its first Chief Executive on 26 August 2015.

David joins HES from Transport Scotland, where he has served as Chief Executive since February 2009, and will take up the post from mid-November.  

David has a long and established career within the public sector having joined the Scottish Office in 1978 with his senior civil service appointments including key posts in Housing Policy and Finance.  He was also Head of Personnel in the Scottish Office in the lead up to Devolution in 1999.  

Since 1999, his posts have covered Local Government, Europe and Agriculture, a secondment to the University of Highlands and Islands (Millennium Institute) before becoming the Director of the Scotland Office and most recently Chief Executive of Transport Scotland.  

Historic Environment Scotland has been established as the national body for the historic environment, building on the strength of both Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). It will act as a key partner in the delivery of the new strategy and the shared ambition for Scotland’s historic environment.

Read the full news story

HES Board - 100 Days, May 2015

7th May was a significant landmark for HES, as it marked 100 days since the appointment of the new HES Board.
Since February the Board, led by Jane Ryder OBE, have established monthly meetings and visits, exploring the opportunities and challenges, and fully developing an ambitious vision, values and ideas as we approach 1st October.

The Board have been looking at the extensive functions HES will be undertaking, including a statutory role as a regulator and advisor to Ministers, as well as maintaining 345 properties in care, and the nationally important collections held by RCAHMS. The Board have also spent time considering just what it means for HES to be the lead body for the historic environment and what that might entail in terms of new activities and new approaches.

In practical terms, the Board have been focussing on priorities that need to be in place for the beginning of the new organisation, as well as longer term planning.

  • The recruitment process to appoint a new Chief Executive is underway, with applications closing on the 18th May and interviews scheduled for 11th and 12th June.
  • The first HES Corporate Plan 2016-19 is being developed. This will fully articulate the Board’s vision and values for the new organisation, demonstrating how HES will work with partners across the sector to deliver the Historic Environment Strategy - Our Place in Time. A public consultation will take place at the end of the year before the plan is approved.
  • The Annual Business Plan for 2015-16 has been approved by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Fiona Hyslop. This sets out key deliverables, resources and measures of success for 2015-16. In October the incoming HES Board and CEO will review and develop the business plan for the remainder of the year, in light of progress.
  • A framework document setting out the formal governance framework for HES and its relationship with the Scottish Government is in preparation. The Board will be looking at this for the first time in May, together with the proposed business model for the new organisation, and a detailed presentation on future financial planning.
  • Preparation of a Scheme of Delegation is well underway, creating a systematic approach to the stewardship of the properties in care, including how we might identify and prioritise the resources required to maintain the properties to an appropriate standard.  
  • Meanwhile upcoming developments include a new HES website which will provide improved access to our unique digital resources, information, commercial activities, publications and events. We will also introduce an improved Heritage Management portal in October that enhances transparency and increases the information provided to stakeholders.  
  • June sees the launch of a major new initiative Scotland’s Urban Past, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This will be a new tool and engagement programme which will enable communities to directly research, record and celebrate their urban heritage.

HES Chair Jane Ryder, OBE said:

“A very great deal has been achieved in the Board’s first 100 days and the Board are committed to building on this excellent platform as we race towards the 1st October.

“The appointment of a new Chief Executive will be a significant milestone for the new organisation and I am very encouraged by the level of interest in the recruitment process, which has also been an excellent opportunity to raise general awareness of HES as a new organisation.

“I believe that it is our people and their expertise that will make our new organisation prosper, and I’m confident that with the enthusiasm, skill, passion and commitment of our staff we will deliver an exciting new era for Scotland’s historic environment.”

PDF icon Read the full Herald editorial article on the recruitment of the Chief Executive [PDF, 117kb]

RCAHMS & Historic Scotland Transition Programme update, February 2015

Historic Environment Scotland Board

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop announced on 27th January 2015 the first Chair and board members of Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

Jane Ryder OBE, former Chief Executive of the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator and Chair of Arts & Business Scotland, will become the first chair of the HES board.  She has been appointed for four years and will be joined by nine board members.

Read the full news story
Read this story on the Scottish Government website.
Download the Chair and Board Members Overview [pdf, 194kb]

Previous Updates

Historic Scotland and RCAHMS update - July 2014

Historic Scotland and RCAHMS update - November 2012 (survey)

Historic Scotland and RCAHMS update - September 2012

Working Together to Secure Scotland's Heritage - August 2012

Other Resources

RCAHMS - Merger Information
Scottish Government - Historic Environment Information

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Historic Environment Scotland Board
Longmore House
Salisbury Place

Telephone: 0131 668 8852