18 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 1 8 notably through our twice-yearly Council+ forum, while also improving the rigour of our trustee oversight through more regular meetings online. We have also extended capacity with innovative approaches, including establishing a new, flexible and accessible volunteer-led resource to extend the reach of our national and branch committees, currently titled IHBC Groups. These volunteer-led initiatives are managed with a very light touch so they can focus on outcomes and, although nascent as yet, they are full of potential. We have also commenced work on a formal international strategy, the lack of which to date might seem unduly complacent in an organisation that celebrates its global foundations in standards and models offered by international authorities such as ICOMOS and the World Bank. Again, although early days, and starting first with a simple voicing of an aspiration to deliver such a strategy, progress has been very positive. By building on the capacity offered by our members as practitioners and volunteers through IHBC+, these enabling and streamlining strategies consolidated our presence and profile during the year across the complex array of sectors most relevant to conservation outcomes including: heritage and culture; construction, development and regeneration; education; and the environment. Our affirmation of inclusive membership and volunteer support had other valuable impacts too. Membership numbers in recent years had reached a plateau of about 2,200, with a peak of 2,400 last year, and we are now working towards an average of 2,500. Such numbers ebb and flow, especially as we occupy the slipstream of so many mainstream activities, but evidently our investment in volunteer support and new membership structures has reinvigorated interest in the IHBC as a professional institute. Adding to our public profile, objectives and brand were numerous other strands that also built on earlier work: Digital and social media An expansion of the institute’s activities means that we now reach 16,000 core members (23,000 including softer networks) and our redesigned website now receives an average 300,000 visits per month. The IHBC Conservation Wiki home page, a critical information and advocacy channel into the construction and development sector, has been redeveloped. Members and other subscribers also receive regular weekly updates on conservation work opportunities and dedicated news. Funding and awards The institute made the concluding disbursement of the IHBC’s Conservation Areas 50th Anniversary Celebrations awards fund. We also carried out further refinement of the dual Marsh Awards, one for retired IHBC members contributing to their communities, and the other for successful learners. Annual school Our excellent Manchester annual school, led by the North West branch in 2017, delivered top quality CPD as ever. HESPR Membership, which is unique to the IHBC, consolidated at just over 30 service providers. These and other developments are all reported on more fully in our NewsBlogs and other communications. Indeed our new communications strategy, launched at the annual school and on our NewsBlog service, has taken centre stage in refining many of our ongoing operations, to help add value to our existing operations with little additional cost. Developments here are still in the early stages, but are especially useful in focusing efforts on extending our reach and impact through more familiar operations, such as this Yearbook and our journal Context , where we now have an active distribution strategy – often offering some 15 per cent of our print run free to key target audiences to extend Context ’s profile and impact. Indeed targeted distribution is now a core item on the agenda of the Context editorial board, the clearest possible sign of our integrated focus on audience and practice standards. Resources launched in more recent years also continue to address recognised needs, including: • ToolBox ‘Notes’ led by consultant Bob Kindred and offering practitioner-focused research insights and guidance • ongoing training resources and programmes such as the TeamStarter, exemplified in the MATE sessions noted above • SelfStarter, our pan-disciplinary online support to help those new to the discipline to understand and build relevant practitioner skills flexibly and for free • ongoing research work on local authority services. While it is always uplifting to focus on the good news, we must also recognise the current need to ease our recent period of cautious expansion. A key element of that expansion has been the increased investment in staff and consultancy reported above, with all its attendant benefits and at no additional charge to member fees beyond inflation- related increases. However, our easing of extra investment responds to a substantial reduction in one of our major income-generating activities, our Jobs etc service, which fell by about one third on the previous financial year. Any response to that reduction necessarily dominates our plans for 2018 and beyond, as it would for any competent body. Future ambitions are encapsulated in our corporate plan for 2015–20 (CP20), which was approved at the 2015 AGM. We continue to pursue those in and beyond 2018, suitably adjusted to recognise the inevitably limited resources only too familiar in a small voluntary charity with ambitious professional aspirations such as ours. Seán O’Reilly, firstname.lastname@example.org Charles Micklewright (left), trustee of the Marsh Christian Trust, presents Ken Burley with the Marsh Award for community contribution by a retired IHBC member for his long-standing work with the South Yorkshire Buildings Preservation Trust.