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IfA - IfA response to DCMS review of arm’s length bodies

On 26 July Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that 55 of DCMS’s arm’s length public bodies are set to be abolished, merged or streamlined. Among these are several within the heritage sector. The changes which directly affect our industry are

  • the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (though Government support for museums, libraries and archives will continue, and the MLA Chair has indicated that funding for the Portable Antiquities Scheme may pass to the British Museum)
  • the abolition of the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites
  • declassifying the Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships and transferring its functions to another body DCMS announced that it is also
  • looking at its responsibility for heritage and the built environment, and considering the role and remit of English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund
  • considering the role of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
  • discussing with the Church of England the merits of declassifying the Churches Conservation Trust

There has been some discussion about the possibility of merging English Heritage, CABE, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Churches Conservation trust under one roof, but this is currently just speculation. Chancellor George Osborne will announce the full details of government spending cuts on 20 October.

These changes will have an impact on our sector, and will inevitably lead to people, many of whom will be among our membership, losing their jobs. There is also the risk that if spending cuts go too far the historic environment will no longer be sufficiently protected. The Institute is currently monitoring the situation and will use its influence where possible. In order to best serve the membership however it requires the views of its members. If you would like to send us your views please email tim.howard@archaeologists.net and we shall collate responses.

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