HISTORIC SCOTLAND BOARD
HISTORIC SCOTLAND BOARD
Minutes of Meeting on 24 April 2006
John Graham, Chief Executive
Lucy Blackburn, Director, Heritage Policy
Peter Bromley, Director, Properties in Care
Louise Donnelly, Head of Casework, Inspectorate
Marc Ellington, Non-executive Director
Patricia Ferguson, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (items 1-4)
Ingval Maxwell, Director, TCRE
David McGibbon, Non-executive Director
Brian O’Neil, Director, Human Resources
Laura Petrie, Director, Finance
Sheila Terry, Non-executive Director
Fiona Docherty, Head of Visitor Services and Business Development (items
Gordon Barclay, Policy Group (items 8 -11)
John Barber, Board Secretary
Introduction and Welcome
1. The chairman welcomed everyone to the April 2006 meeting of the Historic
Scotland Board. A special welcome was extended to Patricia Ferguson, Minister for
Tourism, Culture and Sport and Lucy Blackburn, the new head of Policy Group.
Minutes of previous meeting held on 28 February 2006 and matters arising
2. Sheila Terry raised the point in relation to the conservation regeneration
scheme (paragraph 7 – penultimate bullet) that, rather than lack of experience in
making the case for funding, the issue was more about the potential for relatively
small sums of money for feasibility studies to be extremely helpful. This point would
be pursued in a review of the scheme later in 2006. Subject to this, the minutes were
Key Performance Targets and Commercial Update
3. Items 3 and 4 of the agenda were taken together. The Board noted that,
based on provisional outturn figures, almost all targets for 2005-06 would be met.
The exception was earned income. In response, Peter Bromley and Fiona Docherty
provided a brief summary of the factors involved, sought to put the 2005-06 results in
the ‘industry context’, outlined some of the lessons learned and provided the Board
with a flavour of how 2006-07 was shaping up.
4. The 2005-06 visitor numbers and the knock on effect for income had been
depressed by there being no Easter in the period; adverse weather during the free
weekend and several high profile events; the G8 conference in July (which kept
tourists away from particularly Edinburgh and Stirling); and the London bombings
which had an impact on visitor numbers from overseas. It had not been possible to
recover fully from these impacts.
5. Feedback from industry experts confirmed that the paid attraction sector has
been universally affected by poor spring attendance levels and the impact of the G8
over the summer. There were also signs of an element of price resistance in the
market and this could account for the success of free attractions over comparable
periods. The good summer weather may also have encouraged visitors to head out
to the coast and countryside properties, boosting free attraction figures.
6. In terms of lessons learned the Board noted the following points:
• It was vital to get off to a good start to the season;
• More energy was put into the free weekend for 2006. This had resulted in
100,000 visitors compared with 45,000 the previous year. Membership sales
over the weekend had leapt from 200 to 1,400;
• There was a direct correlation between getting off to a good start to the
season and meeting income targets;
• We needed to be more responsive – the “Kids Go Free” in October campaign
in 2005 with its focus on Edinburgh Castle had shown that it was possible to
turn around figures in-year;
• We needed to look carefully at price sensitivity, possibly with promotions and
offers to drive up business at quiet times of day;
• We needed to get better at analysing business trends, to encourage more
openness in the sharing of data and creating systems which facilitated such
analysis and improved forecasting.
7. The signs were that 2006-07 had got off to a very encouraging start. There
would be a summer campaign and a repeat of the “Kids Go Free” in October.
Looking ahead, the branding project was focusing on how we might strengthen our
identity and encourage more people to visit Historic Scotland sites.
8. Marc Ellington emphasised the uniqueness of the HS portfolio and the critical
importance of branding. In response to a question from Sheila Terry about scope for
joint membership arrangements and other joint promotions with the National Trust for
Scotland, Peter Bromley indicated that discussions were being held with Scottish
Enterprise, the NTS and others with a view to progressing a more ‘national’ solution
to ticketing – possibly a Scottish version of the ‘Great British Heritage Pass’. David
McGibbon thought the 2005-06 performance was quite laudable against the
backdrop of some very difficult circumstances. In response to a question about what
seemed low retail spend per visitor (rspv), Peter Bromley reassured the Board that
the Agency’s spv stood up well against comparable organisations. Patricia Ferguson
indicated that, notwithstanding some disruption at the time, experience from other
countries who had hosted G8 summits pointed to an upturn in visitors further down
the line. It would be interesting to see if this materialised for Scotland. She also
pointed to the need for more work to be directed to establish what tourists actually
wanted. Current evidence suggested that an authentic experience was high on the
list. Evidence also suggested that those who visit Scotland to play golf tend to be
higher spenders. This was a possible line to explore.
9. Summing up discussion on earned income, Peter Bromley informed the Board
that the Agency was on track to meet the three-year earned income target in the
10. In agreeing the proposed targets for 2006-07, the Board noted the following
• A new ‘Policy’ target was proposed – to issue four further Scottish
Environmental Policy Papers (SHEPs) for consultation;
• Although we had appeared to ‘lower the bar’ for condition surveys, this was
against the backdrop of having completed the first round of surveys as at 31
March 2006 and the need to provide space for DDA and health and safety
audits. While consideration had been given to dropping this as a target, the
consensus was that it should remain until such time as a more incisive target
for condition emerged;
• The target for educational visits would be re-visited during 2006-07;
• The signs were that the turnaround times for casework would be met. This
was particularly commendable against the Inspectorate re-structuring with a
move to integrated area based teams.
• On balance the Antonine Wall would not be proposed as an Agency KPT
although its importance and high level profile were fully recognised.
11. John Graham indicated that the next stage in the process was for the
proposed targets to go to Secretary, SEED and thereafter to the Minister for
12. Laura Petrie informed the Board that the Agency would:
• manage year end spend close to break even on cash related expenditure.
The early forecast figures were in line with this at £67,000. However, as
accruals would not be completed until 25 April, there could still be some
• achieve outturn in line with both its revenue and capital budgets approved by
the Scottish Parliament; and
• achieve full spend on grants.
13. Laura Petrie undertook to circulate final figures to Board members once they
were finalised in May.
14. Laura Petrie updated the Board on risk. The task of reviewing the risk process
had been completed. Group risk registers and action plans were now in place. These
had been developed by directors who were now taking risk management deeper into
their management structures. The final piece of the work was for HSB to review the
draft high level risk register and in particular to consider if they were satisfied with the
format of the risk register and the definition of risks contained within it.
15. After discussion, it was agreed that the register would be revised to reflect
short, medium and long term risks; it would show a group identifier; and it would
show only those risks which the Agency could influence and mitigate. Laura Petrie
advised that the risk management process would be operating normally throughout
2006-07 and she would be reporting further in June as part of the normal reporting
Scottish Historic Environment Policies update
16. Gordon Barclay provided a brief update on progress with SHEPs. Three had
been launched on 31 March 2006:
1. Scotland's Historic Environment - Overarching statement of Scottish
2. Scheduling Scotland's Monuments - Definition and assessment of national
3. Scotland's Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes - what Scottish
Ministers expect from the system.
17. SHEPS 1 and 3 were launched as consultative drafts. SHEP 2 was published
in final form as it had been prepared some time ago and had previously been subject
18. The SHEP programme for 2006-07 envisaged four further SHEPS for
4. Management of Change: Scheduled Monument Consent - Principles for
management of conservation and change.
5. Listing of Scotland's Buildings - What we list and why; what listing means.
6. Management of Change: Listed Building Consent - What Scottish Ministers
expect from the system.
7. Battlefields - Ministers' approach to the protection of Battlefields.
19. The Board noted that the key first step was to get the draft SHEPs out for
consultation. The timing of publication thereafter was, of course, dependent on what
emerged from the consultation. Looking further ahead, SHEPs were envisaged for:
• Properties in Care - Acquisition and Disposal Policy for the PIC estate
• Properties in Care - Access/admissions policy.
• Marine Historic Environment
• World Heritage Sites
• Conservation Areas
• Cultural Landscapes
Operational Policy on Volunteering
20. The Board welcomed the proposed operational policy on volunteering.
Response to the public consultation had delivered very constructive responses from
key players in the volunteering world.
21. The Board noted the proposed arrangements for the Board visit to Orkney
from 25 – 27 June. In response to feedback from earlier events, the dinner on the
Monday evening with invited guests would involve some set piece discussion.
Any other business
22. On Mavisbank, John Graham reported that internal discussions were being
held following a visit in March by a colleague from English Heritage aimed at helping
us to better understand the market place. Marc Ellington reported that Elizabeth
McCrone’s visit to the north-east to talk to a group of students about the listing
process had been hugely successful and that further presentations of this nature and
quality would be extremely valuable. Louise Donnelly indicated that work was in
hand for a pilot roadshow in May. This could possibly be extended to embrace
developers, professional bodies etc. In connection with the annual accounts, Laura
Petrie advised of requirements related to disclosure of salaries and pensions, related
party transactions and areas of potential conflict. A letter seeking this would issue in
23. The meeting concluded with John Graham thanking John Barber for his
services as Board Secretary. The role would now pass to Gordon Barclay’s Branch.
Circulation: Those present
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