IHBC Yearboox 2018

R E V I E W A N D A N A L Y S I S 17 GROWTH AND CONSOLIDATION SEÁN O’REILLY, IHBC DIRECTOR W ELCOME TO our regular Yearbook update on the IHBC’s heritage operations and support. I’m delighted to be able to say that we have maintained a high level of operations across 2017, continuing many valued and familiar services while also developing new ideas. It is no easy task trying to make a real difference across the huge range of interests that shape our built and historic environment and its care and conservation, but our corporate planning ensures that we keep a focus on such considerations. So even though our operating capacity was reduced for much of the period due to maternity leave, our services were only partially reduced, as readers will quickly see. Branches and volunteering are always at the heart of our work, especially in any new developments. With Carla Pianese offering dedicated branch support – including leading on web-based support as we respond to the 2017 survey of our branch network – and Kate Kendall’s active leadership in training and guidance on membership applications, most recently through our Membership Application Training Event (MATE) sessions, branches and volunteers clearly remain the focus of our investment in people. Carla’s work makes us more accessible while Kate’s work guides on accreditation. Both are building on earlier initiatives. With their targeted input, we can better guide early career heritage practitioners and those seeking conservation accreditation with the IHBC. The most immediate practical support we offer is the newest membership category of associate (AssocIHBC), which is now well bedded in. With Carla and Kate we can also more easily guide and advise practitioners on the concise application forms for aspiring associates. The new membership category gives assessors the opportunity to recommend staged accreditation where applicants have not quite demonstrated competence across the interdisciplinary practice standards required of full members. Meanwhile, our distinct interdisciplinary approach to conservation standards, including their alignment with the 1993 ICOMOS conservation training guidelines, was underpinned further in 2017 across two particular areas: internal publication and external research. At the Manchester annual school we launched our new joint Conservation Professional Practice Principles , led by communications secretary and past chair Dave Chetwyn. The consolidated statement was produced in partnership with Civic Voice, England’s link body for civic trusts, and the Historic Towns and Villages Forum. More than any standard the IHBC has produced or supported, this concise statement successfully bridged practice standards across our pan-disciplinary membership, while framing plans for our development of more detailed interdisciplinary practice standards. At the same time, new research into accreditation offered by lead professional bodies – carried out by COTAC, the Council on Training in Architectural Conservation, for Historic England – confirmed the IHBC’s distinct and distinguished place in that landscape. Significantly, it registered the IHBC as the only heritage-specific body operating accreditation that is compliant with the 1993 ICOMOS conservation training guidelines. Our wider focus on operational modernisation has been reaffirmed too, not least in the high regard for our ongoing exploration of more modern governance forms and structures. Developing under the title IHBC+, this initiative was best captured by past president Trefor Thorpe, at its inception in December 2014, as a process of ‘experimental evolution’. The IHBC+ framework has let us generate an even higher level of member input and volunteering,