IHBC Yearbook 2012

26 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 1 2 DPNQMFY mOBODJBM JOUFSFTUT UP TJNQMF ‘nimbyism’. And if the planning system cannot disentangle these interests, the courts will have to try. (JWFO UIFTF DIBMMFOHFT XF TIPVME consider how conservation specialists in both public and private sectors can revive their symbiotic partnership with volunteers; how that partnership can be supported; and how we might ensure that the public good of conservation is not devalued by private interests in masquerade. There are two routes to improvement that XF NBZ FYQMPSF IPX DBO WPMVOUFFS training be better focused, and how can voluntary capacity be better connected with local planning? THE FOCUS OF VOLUNTEER TRAINING $POTFSWBUJPO JT DPNQMFY *U JT OPU enough to say you value something, and presume it will be managed or protected. The consideration of value must be made meaningful in planning terms. A conservation o!cer might reinterpret these matters into UIF DPOUFYU PG MPDBM QMBO QPMJDZ BOE in future, the NPPF. But it is much easier for the specialist, and others looking at the processes, if volunteers are su!ciently well trained to make the best possible case for conservation. Structured training for dedicated voluntary sector conservation can only enhance e!ciencies and improve quality in conservation representations, but the challenge is identifying what outcomes the training should aim for. There are models that could help tailor skills to conservation needs and processes, notably the procedures used by the IHBC to develop appropriate skills sets in our membership. The IHBC’s skills development process is straightforward but it is also tied to national and international standards. It requires a person to inform his or her advice with a full understanding of how conservation works – from valuing and managing heritage to, when necessary, making changes to it – in line with UIF NPEFM DPOTFSWBUJPO DZDMF SJHIU This model is used to inform the training needs and priorities of our members and is used right across our operations, from CPD to student awards. It can equally well be applied to the training needs of conservation volunteers and so addresses the first challenge in building new links across conservation priorities: establishing a training framework for built and historic environment conservation volunteers. If a trained volunteer becomes a focus for community interests at large, helping distinguish public interest in conservation from more private interests – as many locals are able to do – then any such representation is much more likely to be received positively and valued highly. VOLUNTEERS AND LOCAL PLANNING PROCESSES Improved skills are not enough to ensure that planning can get the best value from public representations, especially if the system cannot tell who has had such training. A conservation o!cer would usually be able to tell the di"erence, but that knowledge is of limited use if it cannot stand up to wider democratic scrutiny. If the planning process could distinguish more easily between planning representations that give priority to local conservation concerns and UIPTF TIBQFE CZ TFMG JOUFSFTU UIFO JU would be easier for the conservation and planning services to make informed decisions. Lessons learned from volunteering infrastructure in America, and from the world of professional accreditation, highlight how that infrastructure might work to the benefit of volunteers. In the US the added capacity that volunteers can bring to the cultural sector is managed through systems that can target volunteer support and training. Operating proudly under the banner of ‘docents’, these volunteers provide leadership for the public and for other volunteers, adding essential capacity structured to the needs of the managing institutions, often museums. American museums are very di"erent from local planning processes in England. Here, however, conservation accreditation could provide a model for a comparable infrastructure. Accreditation linked to structured training and proven skills has long been in operation in the management of public monies for the repair of historic buildings. Under current arrangements for conservation accreditation, professional bodies provide essential quality control, regulated by peers and recognised by government. A comparable ‘kite mark’ for suitably trained and supported volunteers would let planning interests recognise and respond to quality assured guidance and prioritise it as required. Crucially, any suitable body might operate the system provided they have credible controls and a clear understanding of its objectives: skilled conservation volunteers working within their community, aware of wider conservation processes and capable of directing informed conservation issues into the heart of planning considerations. With the right support in place, we can all make best use of voluntary capacity to bring substantial and sustainable local conservation benefits. To build on the potential of volunteers, we must invest in their conservation training and help them to be recognised. INTERVENTION PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION MANAGEMENT The IHBC’s areas of competence re$ect the conservation cycle