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Historic Scotland and RCAHMS

This section contains all the relevant information and news on the merger between Historic Scotland and RCAHMS (Royal Commission of Ancient and Historical Monuments).

Historic Scotland & RCAHMS Transition Programme - External Update - September 2012


This is the first of a series of regular updates about progress towards merger of Historic Scotland and RCAHMS as proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in her announcement on 4 July. The first stage of the transition programme is to complete the development of an outline business case for the proposed merger, which can be approved by Cabinet and which will then form the basis for both legislation and for the transition programme. The Cabinet Secretary has asked for this by the end of 2012.

Frequently Asked Questions

A range of questions have been raised by staff and stakeholders. These and others that have arisen since have now been put together into a list of FAQs.. This will be a dynamic list as new questions arise and many answers will become clearer as work progresses. If you have any questions you would like answers to, then please send them to

PDF icon RCAHMS - Historic Scotland Merger FAQs [PDF, 19kb]

Joint leadership of the change programme

Ian Walford, Interim Chief Executive of Historic Scotland and Diana Murray, Chief executive of RCAHMS are jointly leading the change programme and report jointly to Ken Thomson, Director General for Strategy and External affairs and to the Cabinet Secretary. This commits both organisations to work collaboratively on the development of the business case and provides an opportunity to build on the acknowledged strengths of both organisations.

Cabinet Secretary meeting with RCAHMS Commissioners

As a follow up to the announcement of the proposed merger, Cabinet Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, met with RCAHMS Commissioners on 21 August to discuss the proposals. There was a constructive and positive discussion, with a strong commitment to work together to make a success of the merger. The Cabinet Secretary reiterated her commitment to protect RCAHMS’ functions. She also emphasised that merger would create a new body that would need to draw upon the strengths of the two merging bodies to create a new organisation best equipped to research, record and protect Scotland’s Historic Environment. A forward plan of engagement in discussions with both RCAHMS Commissioners and Historic Scotland’s Advisory Committee will be developed, ensuring that they are able to inform the development of the business case and the change process.

Joint SMT meeting

A first meeting of the two Senior Management Teams took place on 24 August. The meeting took the form of a series of presentations from senior managers focused on current functions, priorities and challenges. This formed a foundation for future discussions which will help shape the vision, values and structure of the merged body. The two SMTs will be meeting together on a regular basis, with the next session scheduled for 11 October.

Commissioning specialist consultancy

As part of the development of the business case, three immediate areas have been identified for specialist advice and specifications developed. These are:

  • Stakeholder engagement – Consultants are being commissioned to provide an in depth qualitative study of stakeholder perceptions and expectations that can help inform the business case and the change process. BEFS will provide additional support to this process with their stakeholders.

  • Charitable status and governance models – This is a complex area where there are a range of potential models that would have a variety of implications for the merged body. Jane Ryder, former Chief Executive of OSCR and now an independent consultant on charity and governance matters, will provide this advice.

  • Taxation – Closely linked to consideration of charitable status and governance models is the impact on the tax position of the merged body. This has a direct impact on its financial viability. Specialist tax advice has been commissioned from Scott Moncrieff, who provided financial advice as part of the option appraisal process.

Policy review

Alongside the development of the business case, work is progressing on the review of policy on the Historic Environment. The policy review will be looking at the whole of the sector as well as the functions that the merged body will fulfil in leading the sector. The initial phase of work is being developed alongside the development of the business case and creates the opportunity to simplify current arrangements and reduce fragmentation.

Programme team

A small team is coming together to manage the change programme, led by Michael Proctor, who undertook the initial option appraisal. Other team members are:

  • Laura Bailie
  • Jennie Marshall
  • Lorna Aird
  • Michael O’Neill (who will be providing specialist economist input).

Further information on contact details and responsibilities will follow in future updates once all of the team is in place.

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