Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is responsible for leading and enabling delivery of OPiT under the oversight of Scotland’s Historic Environment Forum (SHEF), chaired by Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
The 2020 Annual Report has now been published by HES. Overall, it shows the sector worked well together and accomplished a great deal in 2019–20, despite having to make significant adjustments in response to the impact of COVID-19.
Achievements over the course of the year span the whole range of OPiT objectives and activity.
Nine of the 13 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are on track for delivery. The remaining four have been particularly impacted by the COVID pandemic, highlighting the importance of ongoing cross sector discussions regarding collaborative working to help (post- COVID) recovery. Published findings from HES-led surveys into the impact of COVID on the heritage sector are also being used to inform collaborative actions to support long-term recovery.
As the report shows, key areas where progress has been particularly strong include an increase in the public’s social and economic wellbeing derived from the historic environment and the sector’s ongoing positive work to combat climate change through reducing C02 emissions. There was also positive progress in terms of “cross cutting” sector priories such as the development and capacity of traditional and other skills needed to nurture, manage, and enjoy the historic environment across Scotland.
In terms of the crucial ongoing work to address the impact of Coronavirus on Scotland’s historic environment, the report notes how the sector quickly transformed the way it works to effectively respond to the challenges the pandemic caused. Highlighting current examples such as partners liaising through the OPiT working groups and the wider COVID Heritage Resilience forum (CHERF) - all which are supporting (post COVID) recovery.
Commenting on the report, Chair of Historic Environment Scotland, Jane Ryder said:
As we continue to adapt and move through the various challenges COVID-19 has brought, the 2020 Annual OPiT report makes for encouraging and positive reading.
“Given what the sector has experienced, it is testament to the commitment, dedication and professionalism of our colleagues and partners that the vast majority of the strategy’s objectives remain firmly on track for delivery.
“Equally heartening, as the report notes, is the collaborative work going on across the sector. As the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, it is vital HES supports partners and organisations across the country to deal with those challenges and we are delighted to be doing so through initiatives such as the £2.6m Historic Environment Recovery Fund (HERF); the first tranche of which we have already announced, with over 40 organisations benefitting from an initial pot of £1.9m.
“Clearly there are still tough times ahead, however, as we see from this (OPiT) report, there are grounds for optimism as the sector looks to work together to meet the challenges we face, individually and collectively and to maximise the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Read the report
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About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)
- We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
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