IfA welcomes and strongly supports the publication of an ‘overarching strategy for the protection and promotion of the historic environment’ in Scotland (Ministerial Statement, page 4). The Institute endorses the aim to provide ‘ambition and direction for Scotland’s historic environment’ (Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland, Ministerial Statement, page 4) and recognises the importance of obtaining the sector’s ‘buy in’. Nevertheless, it is important that the strategy is a Government strategy and one of its strengths should be that it operates across Government. Moreover, if the strategy is to be effective in achieving its priorities, it also needs to be consistent with, and complement, other Government policy and guidance relating to the historic environment (such as that in Scottish Planning Policy, in SHEP and in PAN 02/2011).
With regard to the proposed merger of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), IfA particularly welcomes the clear assurance from Scottish Government that ‘all the functions [of both bodies] should be maintained and that protection should be given to RCAHMS functions by placing them on a statutory footing for the first time’ (Joint Consultation document, page 24) and recognition of ‘[o]rganisational and financial resilience and sustainability of functions’ (rather than cost cutting) as desired outcomes (page 26).