2015 Yearbook

R E V I E W 15 a part-time role for Kate Kendall as our new LETS liaison officer. For all its apparent modesty, not least as a part-time post, this was the biggest staff commitment for the IHBC since the employment of projects officer Fiona Newton in the mid-noughties. That had been a leap of faith in our potential to generate projects, one more than justified since. In Kate’s case, we have the relative luxury of recognisable income streams to support the post, and reserves to underpin it. That LETS post, however, is only one of the major projects that occupied us through the year as we: • re-cast and launched our associate membership category to serve better as a step towards full membership • helped lead the ‘Cut the VAT’ campaign, alongside the Federation of Master Builders and others, with a parliamentary launch of co-funded research • revived the case for Historic Tax Credits, a theme members will hopefully hear much about this year as we have strong interest from the construction industry • pushed exploration of the benchmarking of local authority conservation services, in partnership with leads in archaeology • enrolled, alongside Bob Kindred, Alison McCandlish as our NewsBlog author and social media guru; many members will remember Alison’s introduction to inclusive event-reporting via Storify at the Edinburgh school • offered a UK-wide series of events supporting affiliates seeking IHBC accreditation and membership upgrades • held extensive surveys and discussions to shape the IHBC’s corporate plan for the period 2015–20 (CP20), which is currently under consultation. Across all these changes – and indeed because of them – our governance review has continued, shaped by discussion, survey and advice. This led us to council’s adoption of our ‘IHBC+’ programme in December 2014, beginning our journey of what our president calls ‘experimental evolution’. This programme responds to two key challenges arising from our more substantial operations: • rapid expansion of our charity and business operations require tighter and more regular oversight by trustees • members interested in volunteering their services at a national level were often apprehensive about the time commitment required so IHBC structures lacked adequate representation and diversity. In the absence of a single answer, IHBC+ was developed as a process enabling more appropriate structures of governance to be explored without the need for constitutional change. This has the great advantage of letting us learn lessons before formalising change, which has something very ‘IHBC’ about it. We have established an extended council, ‘Council+’, with two representatives from each of our branches – spreading UK-wide representation – but with fewer workday obligations; Council+ volunteers meet just twice a year. (As one meeting is held at the annual school, the total commitment is now one workday, not four). Trustees, however, will engage in more meetings, but they will be shorter. The net result is that national committees should enjoy a better spread of volunteer obligation and opportunity, including taking on the peripatetic role that council undertook previously. Our organisation will also have better access to volunteers nationally, helping us all grow in our capacity, representation and ambitions. IHBC+ is in its early days, but it would not have been necessary without our recent growth, nor possible without the resources that growth generated. And I sense already that 2015 promises to be an even more exciting year. Seán O’Reilly, director@ihbc.org.uk Kate Kendall, the IHBC’s new Learning, Education, Training & Standards Officer, representing the IHBC at Regen 2015 (Photo: John Shaw, ASHTAV)