The HTF is a member of the Historic Environment Review Executive Committee (HEREC).  HEREC provides a good opportunity to keep up to date on heritage matters and to meet with other representatives from organisations as diverse as the National Trust, the Black Environment Network and the Church Buildings Council.  Highlights from the meeting of HEREC on 2ndJune 2010 are summarised below.

HEREC Terms of Reference
Few people know what HEREC stands for and the full name is a dreadful mouthful.  Members agreed that it should be called the Heritage Forum; and key aspects of its role should be to coordinate activity and develop partnership working.  The meeting said there is a need to get more engagement from local government, CLG and the RTPI.  The relationship with the Regional Heritage Forums must also be considered.  The Terms of Reference will to be redrafted and membership discussed at the next meeting, on 1stSeptember.

Response to Coalition Government:
HEREC noted that the DCMS Secretary of State’s priorities are the economy, localism, education, tourism, philanthropy and the Olympics and their legacy.  The importance of an early meeting between the SoS and the Chairs of the organisations on HEREC was agreed.  From the HEREC point of view, the meeting must stress: the need for joined up government; management of the local government estate; the significance of quality of place to local economies; the positive contribution of heritage to the community and the economy; the importance of considering heritage owners and private sector investment; and generic issues such as education, philanthropy, indicators and climate change.   It will be important to demonstrate to the SoS that each body, e.g. the HTF, has a unique role and there is no duplication of effort.  At the time of writing (mid August) the meeting has still to be arranged.

Members of HEREC agreed that it would like the Coalition Government to endorse the previous Government’s vision for the Historic environment or publish something comparable of its own.

Heritage Counts
The theme for Heritage Counts 2010 is heritage and the economy; the report will be launched in the autumn. Local authorities are a high priority target audience.    Heritage Counts 2011 will be themed around education, skills and understanding and will embrace volunteering, localism and local authority skills.  Details will be agreed in September, leading to briefs for research and invitations to tender for contracts.

English Heritage is considering the future development of HELM, especially how to engage a wider audience.   Duncan McCallum reported that users will be surveyed in the autumn and efforts will be made to contact non-users. 

Heritage Crime Initiative
Chief Inspector Mark Harrison is working with English Heritage to look at heritage crime.   Problems include, vandalism, theft of artefacts, unauthorised works and antisocial activity reducing attractiveness of heritage sites.  The approach follows the widely used wildlife crime model.

Heritage and Climate Change
HEREC received an update on the work of the Climate Change Group, which is covered in a separate article. 

English Heritage Budget
EH reported that savings of £4.2m are to be made this year.   They will be found from: a freeze on recruitment and the trainee scheme; taking out unallocated money; and bringing forward planned efficiencies.

Brian Human
Vice Chair HTF
August 2010