2009 Yearbook

r e v i e w 15 Partnering the pack Seán O’Reilly, IHBC Director 2008 has seen the IHBC raise the profile of its unique range of benefits, services and standards, with the most immediate indicator of our success being the positive response to our membership drives. We are now taking every opportunity to show just how relevant our standards are for serious professionals, and how attractive are our benefits. The IHBC’s activities over the year have focussed on outreach, promotion and improvement. Our work is reported in the sector’s key publication, our in-house journal Context , but a few of the highlights are summarised below. Events, outreach and responses leading the joint professional • response to the draft Heritage Bill for England andWales – this brought together support for the bill from bodies representing some 250,000 professional members. Despite obstructions to the legislation, the success of this unified approach was a remarkable confirmation of our view that informed partnership across the full spectrum of stakeholders is the key to progress in the naturally diverse historic environment sector highlighting the importance of • relevant skills and standards at the ‘Convergence’ seminar organised by the Institute of Field Archaeologists (now known as the Institute for Archaeologists) in January representing conservation • professionals on the National Heritage Training Group action plans, and more recently contributing to their implementation programme developing our partnership with the • Civic Trust for Wales and Cadw, to shape the Historic Environment Strategic Statement through major conferences in Cardiff in April and Llandudno in October promoting the IHBC’s current • structures and standards at the annual conferences of the English Historic Towns Forum in Lichfield and the Survey Association in Manchester celebrating the good work of David • Baxter at Banffy Castle, Romania, and the award of a Europa Nostra prize for the work there. Service improvements to help our members in their professional activities our web homepage and • e-mail news alert (called our NewsBlog), now a key information resource for our members the new trade listing for the sector, • the Historic Environment Service Providers Recognition scheme (HESPR), also the theme of our current yearbook (see page 29) our support for our national • and regional branches, the support network for IHBC’s voluntary activities the initiation of a mentoring • programme for new members. Research, advocacy and educational activities the responses of our much- • admired consultation panel, managed and overseen by our consultant James Caird concluding our conservation • skills and service standards consultation, Caring for Places and People , welcomed by the sector and already shaping current service descriptions our Annual School in Guildford • with a record attendance at our Day School and an innovative mix of learning opportunities our first Gus Astley Student • Awards, focussed on early- career professionals our updating of the 2006 survey • of local planning authority conservation services in England, which already provides worrying evidence of a significant drop in conservation staffing levels advocacy and training in • Northern Ireland in September, and contributing to educational programmes there, such as the conservation course of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects helping with the conservation • training initiatives of the Chartered Institute of Building. 2008 was also a remarkable year for the branches. Apart from a myriad of smaller, competitively priced or free professional CPD events (all featured on the events pages of our website) highlights include: South West branch conferences • in April on energy efficiency London branch conference in • September on tall buildings, North West branch conference • in May on buildings at risk,