IHBC Yearbook 2021

20 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 APPG on England’s Planning White Paper added such credibility to the IHBC’s submission on the linked Parliamentary Committee planning inquiry that the IHBC was cited regularly in the committee’s response. Early in 2021 we also commenced receiving the evidence for our APPG’s inaugural inquiry into ‘21st Century Places: Values and Benefits’. While again the pandemic has generated delays, that inquiry is already bearing real fruits, offering strategic platforms for heritage advocacy by other bodies, including Historic England, The Heritage Alliance and Locality to date. However, we have not yet managed to bring on board key players from other Home Countries, a failing that we will work hard to address. The list of the institute’s achievements grew further with the approval of our new Articles of Association and the adoption of our new Corporate Plan 2020–25 (CP25). While the successes above have helped advance our charitable work, these developments – internal though they are – are already having substantial impacts on our capacity to change the fundamentals of risk management in the IHBC. Our new Articles mark the major step forward in modernising the IHBC. That we could secure almost unanimous approval from the AGM for the adoption of both the new constitution and CP25, itself more of a renewal than a revision, is a real triumph. The best indicator of their collective impact – if perhaps also the most outwardly tedious - is a substantial reduction in risks carried by the IHBC. The next stage in governance is the recruitment of fresh faces to help shape and lead on the next tier of corporate regulation. Already new volunteers with very specific skills sets have come forward to help our existing officers, including Lynda Jubb, Rebecca Thompson and Mark Douglas, all of whom will be familiar to some, but probably none to all. Critical for the future too is the refinement of the IHBC’s new Council, a body which will include representatives from all disciplines and from across the UK, and which will elect and be chaired by the IHBC President. In more practical terms, the success of our 2020 ‘Virtual School’ continued into the infinitely more ambitious and challenging two-day format of our virtual 2021 Brighton School. As with so many of our more recent achievements, its success rose from the capacity and contributions of skilled volunteers working closely with the IHBC’s National Office. Similarly, our long tradition of more formal alliances meant we benefitted from diverse new partnerships with others, and we now have a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the local government archaeologist network, ALGAO:UK, and a joint research award initiative with the UK’s lead body for architectural historians, the SAHGB. These new alliances enrich our established links with more mainstream players such as England’s National Planning Forum. New practice support also has advanced despite pandemic pauses. Continuing professional development (CPD) supported by our free monthly CPD Circular is especially popular, and the delayed ‘local delivery’ training events have recommenced. Sustainability and the challenges of climate change span the spectrum of our operations, so we have continued to work closely with other organisations on these matters, from the international Climate Heritage Network to the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance. Contributing to COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow in 2021 is a priority, and we will approach that initially through partnerships as well as within national link bodies such as the Built Environment Forum Scotland and The Heritage Alliance. It is just possible that we may also have a formal IHBC presence at COP26 too. It’s yet another example of work in progress, but fingers crossed… Seán O’Reilly is the Director of IHBC (director@ihbc.org.uk), joining in 2005 after working at the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland. He has written, contributed to and edited numerous publications in architectural history and conservation. While the sights and sounds of Brighton were much missed at the Annual School, going virtual meant that many more people could attend.