Our Place in Time: the Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland

A high-level framework which sets out a 10-year vision for the Scotland's historic environment.

A - Cross-Cutting Strategic Priorities

Strategic Priorities

Ensure that decision making is informed and that sound evidence-based information is available at all levels of decision making.

Encourage high-quality leadership and collaborative working at all levels and facilitate the creation of partnerships to achieve outcomes that enhance the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of Scotland.

Develop the skills and capacity at all levels that are needed to manage, nurture and enjoy the historic environment across all our communities.

Mainstream the historic environment - ensuring the historic environment lies at the heart of a modern, dynamic Scotland.

Given its many values and benefits, the historic environment should be viewed as an integral and important part of the fabric of our society. We want people to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for it, and for its value to be taken into account in decision making across government and society in general at all levels. We also need to look beyond the sector and raise the general understanding and awareness of the value and benefits of the historic environment. There is a need for leaders from across Scotland to champion the historic environment at both the national and local level.

Any decision made in relation to the care and management of the historic environment should be informed by the best available evidence, supported by robust data. This is at the heart of all good decision making and delivery, and is core to the international community's approach to managing the historic environment.

It is essential that the wide range of individuals and organisations operating within the sector work in partnership, which can help ensure the best use of resources at a time of dwindling finances, enabling us to take on board competing priorities and weigh up conflicting concerns.

The challenge of maintaining and enhancing skills, addressing the current skills gap and ensuring effective succession planning in light of reducing resources will be a future priority. We need a clear focus on capacity building initiatives.

To ensure the appropriate care, management and promotion of our historic environment we need to support the many professional and specialist skills required to carry out this work, ensuring that they are made available across the sector. There is also a need to upgrade existing skills and develop, deliver, and accredit new skills across the public, private and third sectors.

Key aim: To ensure that the cultural, social, environmental and economic value of our heritage continues to make a major contribution to the nation's wellbeing.

Policy Mainstreaming in the Scottish Government

Policy Mainstreaming in the Scottish Government

As Professor Emeritus Cliff Hague, Chairman of the Built Environment Forum of Scotland, said:

Mainstreaming should mean that we see each place as a special place.

We need to be innovative in the way we approach the historic environment, even if that means moving out of our own comfort zone. We need to challenge the silos that still define the workings of central and local government. In particular, we must inject the place dimension, and thus the historic environment, into community planning.

Edinburgh Skyline

Edinburgh Skyline

Photograph: © Crown Copyright reproduced courtesy of Historic Scotland

Example of collaborative/partnership working across the sector

Built Environment Forum Scotland ( BEFS)

is the strategic intermediary body for Scotland's built environment sector, bringing together voluntary and professional non-governmental interests that operate at the national level. As an umbrella organisation, BEFS informs, mediates and advocates on strategic issues affecting the built environment - historic and contemporary.

Examples of championing/integrating

Forestry Commission Scotland

Following valuable stakeholder input into the Scottish Forestry Strategy Implementation Plan, Forestry Commission Scotland developed a historic environment training course for forest and woodland managers in Scotland. The course highlighted the importance of the UK Forestry Standard Forests and the Historic Environment guidelines and aimed to encourage the integration of the historic environment within holistic Forest Plans. It promoted best practice in the identification, protection and management of the historic environment in the context of the design, establishment and management of a forest or woodland. The course was supported by a published suite of conservation management case studies. The initiative highlights the importance of (and opportunities for) integrating the shared vision for the historic environment within wider policy and operational frameworks.

Dùn a Choin Duibh, Argyll

Dùn a Choin Duibh, Argyll
Photograph: © Forestry Commission Scotland (by Caledonian Air Surveys)

Establish a Historic Environment Policy Unit at the Heart of Government

During the discussions which led to the Strategy development there were also proposals to establish a unit at the heart of government to champion the historic environment at a policy level. A dedicated Historic Environment Policy Unit was set up in the core Scottish Government (within the Culture and Heritage Directorate) in July 2013. The unit is now well embedded within government. The team is engaging with colleagues across all portfolios and has begun the process of mainstreaming the historic environment across national government policies.


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