Loss of senior conservation staff and posts in England March 2010 to April 2011
This article was created by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). It was written by Fiona Newton, IHBC Projects Officer and published in December 2012. You can see the original article on the IHBC website.
Concern for the age and experience profile of conservation staff across England and absence of succession planning has led IHBC to enumerate the nature and scale of the problem. This paper serves to set out the emerging deficit and to help inform any action.
Numbers of Conservation staff in England fell in 2011 by 6%, according to the figures collected by the IHBC and published in conjunction with English Heritage and The Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO). In addition to the published headline figures for 2011 we have also examined the survey material to look at the impact of recent staff cuts on older staff at senior levels in local authorities. The senior staff referred to here are those at Principal level and above and mainly known to be over 55.
|Total number of conservation staff at end of 2011||568|
|Total loss of conservation staff for 2011||39|
|% loss of total conservation staff for 2011||6%|
|Total loss of senior staff for 2011||16.3|
|% loss of senior staff as percentage of all staff for 2011||2.6%|
|Loss of senior staff (posts of principal or above)|
|Senior staff made redundant and not replaced (FTE)||2.5|
|Senior staff left voluntarily and not replaced (FTE)||1.6|
|Senior staff retired and not replaced (FTE)||4.7|
|Reduced hours of senior staff (FTE)||4|
|Loss of senior posts but retention of staffing levels|
|Senior staff left and replaced by downgraded post, reduced experience post-holders or more junior staff (FTE)||3|
In 2008 the IHBC survey of conservation staffing also took a snap shot survey of the age profiles of the staff. This showed that just over 30% of conservation staff were aged between 50 and 59. Some of these staff will have reached 60 by 2011 and have been looking towards retirement. Others may have hoped to continue working for some years more.
Loss of staff is caused by compulsory redundancies or severance packages, by staff leaving for unspecified reasons and from retirement, including early retirement and, critically of course, then the failure to replace them.
A number of older staff work to reduced hours (in easing the way to retirement) but the time is not backfilled, and this leads to a decrease in general capacity and, specifically, a reduction in the experience of those over 55. This is a relatively common pattern where staff approach retirement and phased retirement may be the chosen route by the current post-holder but once they retire entirely it is possible that, if not lost completely, the post will only be filled on the reduced hours latterly funded. Not all reductions of senior staff hours have been the chosen path of post-holders, some have been enforced by the Local Authority as part of cuts.
Those who are senior, both in organizational status and in age, generally have more experience and knowledge both of the wider conservation role and of their geographical area of work: their loss to conservation services is considerable. They often leave sometime before any replacement is in place (if indeed one is made), leading to a lack of continuity of knowledge and practice. Younger and more junior staff appointed after such hiatus are not able to inherit the skills and knowledge from those with the experience.
This is one of a series of occasional Research Notes published by The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). The Notes necessarily reflect knowledge and practice at the time they were developed, while the IHBC always welcomes new case examples, feedback and comment to ihbc.org.uk [email protected]ihbc.org.uk for future revisions and updates.
--Institute of Historic Building Conservation 12:34, 24 Jun 2016 (BST)
Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Charging for Listed Building Consent pre-application advice.
- Conservation area.
- Conservation of the historic environment.
- Conservation officer.
- Conservation officers in historic towns.
- Conservation practice survey 2016.
- Historic Environment Service Provider Recognition.
- IHBC articles.
- Impact of heritage sector local authority funding cuts in south west England.
- Implementing the Heritage Protection Reforms.
- Listed buildings.
- Local authority conservation specialists jobs market 2014.
- Local Authority Conservation Staffing Resources in England 2020.
- Negotiating skills for conservation professionals.
- Planning authority duty to provide specialist conservation advice.
- Sharing local authority conservation services.
- The Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has announced a new project with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to improve and modernise the home energy rating scheme used to measure the energy and environmental performance of UK homes.
Sector lead the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) has recognised the IHBC’s professional accreditation and support (CPD etc.) in awarding its PQP (Professionally Qualified Person) cards.
The IHBC’s 2022 Aberdeen School Heritage MarketPlace (4.30-7.30PM, 15 June) is designed to extend the scope of a traditional IHBC School exhibition floor.
Work to repair a fire-hit medieval hotel in Gloucester is underway as crews have started work to strip back some of the modern trappings and reveal the historic framework.
Options for in-person and virtual delegates to explore ‘heritage on the edge’ across up to 4 days of IHBC engagement & learning.
The Secretariat to the European Heritage Heads Forum has has coordinated its declaration of solidarity and support for Ukraine’s cultural heritage institutions.
2022 will see the IHBC mark a quarter of a century since our incorporation as a professional body supporting and accrediting built and historic environment conservation specialists. We’re kick-starting it by inviting your ideas on how to mark this special year!
The IHBC’s latest Guidance Note adds to the institute’s open-access, online practitioner’s Toolbox.
Twenty-five areas in England from Bournemouth to Carlisle have been awarded a share of £3 million to help them set their own standards for design locally. "move from a vicious circle of generic development to a virtuous circle of regenerative development".
The IHBC seeks to raise awareness and understanding of how building conservation philosophy and practice contributes towards meeting the challenge of climate change.