2019 Yearbook

18 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 1 9 issue will be a rich offering to catch the eye of insurers, risk managers, and infrastructure bodies, as well as the more familiar historic built environment players interested in its core theme of risk and resilience. Indeed, with regard to the schools generally, forward planning has already helped branches to plan events up to three years in advance. This includes exploring basic websites and links, as well as identifying core CPD content priorities, a process that now engages members and colleagues across local and national branches and committees, as well as our board. Our corporate and governance planning and development has also been equally and unexpectedly low- cost. Building on earlier plans and recent initiatives has been critical in cost control, as trustees have developed the lessons wrought from the IHBC+ programme: inclusive engagement, especially with early career members; enriched and more diverse nationally-led advice and guidance from our Council+ meetings; and more flexible approaches to supporting volunteers to make sure we recognise their interests and needs first, while adapting our practices accordingly. The lead here has been offered in a partnership between our chair James Caird and president David McDonald as they shape local discussions on the new constitution. Overall though, continuity in both services and operations has been at the heart of more recent progress. Branches, for example, have been placed in the spotlight from February 2018 with the first consolidated NewsBlog on local events. Kate Kendall’s continuing leadership in the training and guidance on membership accreditation through our Membership Application Training Event (MATE) sessions has continued apace too, relying on branches first, but also extending into the private sector and across national heritage bodies. Indeed, the MATE session that recently loomed largest is that at Historic Environment Scotland, IHBC’s second such event there linked to our training and accreditation support. As the model itself has been evolved from our earlier TeamStarter programme, we have also launched a dedicated MATE web page, to help guide prospective delegates and companies – ideally HESPR companies – on its benefits. Of course, all new resources continue to be shaped by recognised needs and priorities, not least our research and guidance notes and their platform, the IHBC’s ToolBox. Led by consultant Bob Kindred, these notes are designed to address and offer easy access to more specialist support. Wider research, guidance and advisory services also have continued as central concerns, including initiating research into local authority conservation services across the island of Ireland. The ongoing development of an international strategy demonstrated a capacity both to think strategically and to use resources more efficiently, as is the well-established way of the IHBC, and second nature for an organisation with conservation at its core. Overall, our affirmation of inclusive membership under the banner of IHBC+ – supporting the needs of volunteers and promoting partner networks – has been a critical factor in lifting membership numbers to today’s c2,600 yearly average. Spurred on as well through engagement with Council+, we added another c3,000 members across our core social networks, and that growth extended into the construction and development sector through our Conservation Wiki, hosted by our service partner there, Designing Buildings Wiki. This became the third most important driver of traffic to our website and helped us access an audience of up to 5 million annually, including c10,000 registered users from across the development, construction and related sectors. Profile and support for our own corporate conservation practices listing, HESPR, grew too, with 40 members now signed up. Its promotion continued in the yearbook, as well as online, including flier circulation across all publications. The service was highlighted at national and local events across the year, including partner events and in the media. Finally, looking ahead, if you think that Scotland and Wales have been a little eclipsed in 2018, by England’s scale and Belfast’s annual school, do remember that we can now confirm that our schools in 2021 and 2022 will be in Aberdeen and, most likely, Swansea, respectively, and with our new planning hats on, we are already working hard on them. So, as we can now plan across even more years than ever, with only a little extra investment we are able to lift our sights even higher, and make sure we get the balance of our resource allocations right over ever longer terms. Seán O’Reilly, director@ihbc.org.uk Delegates at the Belfast annual school in 2018 standing in front of the spectacular portico of Mount Stewart