The purpose of this report is to provide an update on progress one year on, in relation to the properties in care, with a particular focus on conservation. This transparency and broad accountability is in keeping with the key principles of the 2014 legislation and demonstrates HES’s commitment as a public body and a recognised Scottish charity.
Since 2014 there has been an unprecedented amount of analysis and research to assess the condition of properties in care, better understand the context and challenges, and to develop a new methodology for monitoring and reporting on condition. The assessment of the condition of the properties in care of Scottish Ministers and associated collections was a key piece of work in preparing for HES to take on the conservation and management of these assets. The core part of this publicly managed collection has been in state care for some 700 years and has not previously been subject to such rigorous analysis.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) was established by the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. From 1 October 2015 HES assumed the responsibility of managing the properties in care of Scottish Ministers and their associated collections under formal Schemes of Delegation.
In October 2015 we published a baseline condition of properties in care, along with a range of principles and standards setting out our approach going forward. In the past year we have continued to enhance our understanding of the assets in our care, as well as take significant steps forward in developing assessment and reporting tools, unique systems which reflect the particular needs of the properties. Our Resource Needs Assessment set out to consider the broader requirements of the estate and to inform our thinking on what we need to do to ensure we maintain high standards and operate efficiently.
Our ongoing objective is to ensure that these national assets are passed to future generations of Scots and international visitors to enjoy, and continue to contribute to the socio-economic and cultural wellbeing of communities.
A priority for HES is the development of a comprehensive Investment Plan. The conservation element is a key part, but the investment plan will also address other HES responsibilities, including the needs of visitors1 and the conservation and management of the archives which we inherited from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). This Investment Plan is planned for completion in spring 2017.