Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Edinburgh World Heritage

NEW methods of providing funding for conservation charity Edinburgh World Heritage are to be investigated by the council.

Changes to the council's accountancy practices have meant that it is no longer able to provide EWH with the same level of funding as in previous years, around £617,000 per annum.

Adam Wilkinson, director of EWH, has written to the council asking it to reconsider the changes, which will see the local authority cut grant funding by around £500,000.

In a report to the council's planning committee, Dave Anderson, the council's director of city development, said there were a number of options which the council should explore for funding.

And he stressed the council's commitment to finding funds for EWH."The funding of EWH is affected as a result of changes to accounting procedures that imply all funding to EWH must become revenue funding," he said. "This puts pressure on already restricted revenue budgets."He added that the council would be best to re-examine the funding issue after an ongoing assessment of the management of world heritage sites undertaken by EWH.

The following is from the minutes of EWHT 55th Board Meeting May 2008
Future funding of EWHT

Item 21 onwards
The Finance & General Purposes Committee had discussed funding issues raised
by Alan Henderson’s letter of 14 March 2008 at its meeting immediately
preceding the board.

The Committee recommended that EWH should make a direct approach to
politicians at an appropriate level (rather than to City officials) to explain the
impact of the proposed cuts
They needed to be made aware that such a
significant cut in funding would have a profoundly detrimental impact on the
city, which would reflect badly on its WH status and cause embarrassment. The
Committee proposed that EWH should ask for continuing financial support from
CEC & HS until there was a steady income stream from repayable grants. EWH
would need to support the proposal with a strategy and statistics on the
anticipated income and timescale of repayments.

The Director was due to meet Cllr Jenny Dawe and it was suggested that this
should be followed by a more formal meeting with the Chairman.

The Director was also due to meet the new Director of City Development.
It was agreed that EWH should pursue the question of receiving funding from a
different Council budget, other than the City Development Department, which
had received a significant cut in funding.

Will Garrett suggested that EWH might become involved in restoring CEC owned
properties, for which there could be funding.

The board highlighted the following points for raising in future discussions:-

• The need to meet UNESCO requirements to preserve Edinburgh as a
WHS (not referred to in Alan Henderson’s letter)
• [reserved as confidential business]

• CEC needs to be made aware of the long lead time required to
generate applicants’ interest. If funding withdrawn it would be difficult
to regenerate enthusiasm (‘Grangemouth syndrome’) [reserved as
confidential business]

• Larger projects need long-term commitment. [reserved as confidential
business]. A 3-year rolling programme is essential. UNESCO recommends
5 years needed to plan ahead with confidence. (Management
Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Sites, p.5)
• The difficulty of fitting work into a rigid timetable.
• If CEC funding withdrawn, it might have profound effect on HS funding.

• EWH should show examples of the excellent work and additional value
achieved by its grant schemes and projects.

• Demonstrate shift to focus on regeneration.

• Bear in mind that small projects can generate a lot of interest and bring
added value (eg event to mark restoration of Duke of Buccleuch

• The proposal to raise funds on a project by project basis might not work
as a spread of prospective schemes was needed to achieve
results/spend. In particular, if EWH is increasingly looking at supporting
areas of regeneration these are harder to get going.

It was noted that Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust operates on a
project by project basis and it might be worth speaking to them.

It was confirmed that HS was awaiting the recommendations in the Tribal report
on EWH and the City Heritage Trusts before taking a decision on future funding
and the continuation of a three-year funding programme. However, it was
noted that HS supported the work of the Trust as a whole, rather than identifying
areas of work in response to bids.

The recommendations of the Finance & General Purposes Committee were
agreed. The Director was asked to produce an outline paper on funding,
including fund-raising and lobbying, for the Board meeting on 14 July. The
Chairman proposed that board members should be allocated tasks at this
stage. Detailed proposals would be discussed at the awayday in the Autumn.

A report following the Grants & Projects Committee on 7 May had been
circulated. This showed the severity of the effects of cuts in funding by CEC and
Historic Scotland and the uncertainty of the future of the Conservation Funding
It cited examples of a few of the many projects which would not be carried out
if continued funding was not secured [reserved as confidential business].