BEFS Bulletin – Tools for Digital Skills, Tourism Insight & Volunteers

Get The Latest Built Environment News, Policy Developments, Publications, Consultations And More.


In a new BEFS blog, The Heritage Alliance introduce this year’s Digital Attitudes and Skills for Heritage (DASH) Survey. The survey, which is free to access, is the first comprehensive measure of digital skills in the sector, offering UK heritage organisations vital insight into the needs of their staff, trustees, and volunteers. The survey closes on 7 November.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance and partners are collaborating to develop a knowledge resource for Scottish tourism. They are currently conducting research to provide a clear picture of the needs and wants for data/information from the tourism and events industry using a short survey which will inform the design of the new resource. Read BEFS Vice Chair Ian Baxter’s thoughts on what the launch of a ‘tourism observatory’ could mean for the heritage sector on our website.

The IHBC will offer their IHBC@COP26 ‘Conservation Helpdesk+’ service and platform daily during COP26, offering advice and learning to the global network on all aspects of the conservation of buildings and places around the key theme ‘Conserving our Places Conserves our Planet’. Organisations interested in partnering to host a Helpdesk+ session are invited to get in touch with IHBC.

Is your organisation looking for volunteers? Make Your Mark, a campaign to increase the number and diversity of heritage volunteers in Scotland, has just launched a free portal to help you recruit and manage volunteers. The portal is easy to use and has tools to help Scottish heritage organisations advertise opportunities, communicate with volunteers, recognise volunteers for their contributions and report on the success of your volunteer programme.

Scottish heritage organisations are asked to contribute to an in-depth survey as part of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Scottish Heritage Project, AHRC-funded and led by the University of Strathclyde and supported by Museums Galleries Scotland and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The qualitative questionnaire explores current practice across the Scottish Heritage sector in the fields of race equality, diversity and inclusion. Read more about the project here.

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland has launched a series of thinkpieces that aim to stimulate debate and discussion on key challenges and opportunities arising from the National Planning Framework and the Planning Act. The first two discussion papers focused on the NPF4 and Rural Planning and the new Planning Coordinator role.

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland’s Dig It! summer dig season has concluded, with the fieldwork celebrated in a series of specially commissioned images.

SURF, Scotland’s Regeneration Forum, has announced the shortlist for the 2021 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration.

The latest newsletter from Scotland’s Churches Trust focuses on their building Fabric Grants available for Scottish churches.

The programme for the Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders Archaeology Conference, on 20 November 2021, has been released. Meanwhile, it’s the last chance to book for the Scottish Salt Symposium, which will bring historians, archaeologists, enthusiasts and salt producers together in Brora, Sutherland, on the 16-17 October.

Finally, BEFS congratulates Dr Fiona Simpson, who has been appointed as the Scottish Government’s Chief Planner with immediate effect. Dr Simpson had been filling the role on an interim basis.

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Domestic Energy Performance Certificates Reform Consultation
Closes 8 October 2021

Home Energy Efficiency: Equity Loan Pilot – Call for Evidence
Closes 8 October 2021

Scottish Building Regulations: Proposed changes to Energy Standards and associated topics, including Ventilation, Overheating and Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Closes 15 October 2021

*NEW* The Local Government, Housing & Planning Committee has opened a consultation about the suggested Licensing Scheme for Short-Term Lets.
Closes 29 October.

UK Government Review of Architects Regulation: Call for Evidence
Closes 8 November 2021


Cities like Paris may be the optimal urban form for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (Edinburgh Napier University, 16/08/2021)

Dynamic Coast: Coastal Erosion in Scotland – The National Overview (2021) (CREW, 27/08/21)

Heritage From the Bottom Up (IHBC Context 169, 31/08/2021)

The National Planning Framework 4 and Rural Planning (RTPI Scotland Thinkpiece 16/09/21)

No Place Left Behind: The Commission into Prosperity and Community Placemaking Report (Create Streets Foundation 20/09/21)

Book Review: Architectural regeneration, edited by A. Orbasli and M. Vellinga (Taylor & Francis Online, 20/09/21)

The Office of the National Planning Improvement Coordinator (RTPI Scotland Thinkpiece, 21/09/2021)

Economic Development in Scotland (SPICe 21/09/2021)

Reducing Inequalities and Decolonising Heritage Practices: People-Centred Approaches (Heritage and Our Sustainable Future Series, 24/09/21)

Why Do Historic Places Matter? Emotional Attachments to Urban Heritage (University of Glasgow, 09/2021)

Retrofit Internal Wall Insulation: Guide to Best Practice (UK GOV Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 09/2021)

Year of Stories 2022: Themed Year Marketing Toolkit (Visit Scotland, 09/2021)

Scottish Government News Releases

Dr Fiona Simpson has been appointed as the Scottish Government’s Chief Planner with immediate effect. Dr Simpson will lead the work of Planning and Architecture Division, bringing together SG work on planning reform, spatial planning and policy, performance and casework, place and digital transformation of the planning system to deliver on national outcomes. Fiona can be contacted at

High pressure laminate cladding – data collection: summary report (SG 14/09/21)

Building standards – annual verification performance report 2020 to 2021 (SG 15/09/21)

Community Ownership in Scotland 2020 (SG 28/09/21)

News Releases

Record 20 places bid for prestigious UK City of Culture 2025 title (UK GOV 20/08/21)

Coastal Erosion could put £1.2bn of Scotland’s buildings and infrastructure at risk (16/09/21)

Fife companies invited to hire modern apprentices in traditional skills with financial backing (17/09/21)

Antonine Wall project highlighted in prestigious European heritage award (17/09/2021)

CSIC launches new £450,000 programme to boost green skills drive (20/09/21)

Aberdeen approves new empty homes compulsory purchase policy (20/09/21)

Planning and historic environment law to be simplified as part of Welsh Government programme to make law more accessible (Welsh Government, 22/09/2021)

European Commission and Europa Nostra announce Europe’s top heritage award winners 2021 (Europa Nostra, 23/09/2021)

Chapel collapse highlights need to care for historic buildings (Shropshire Star, 27/09/2021)

Opinion & Comment

Podcasts to build together the After Covid City (AfterCovid.City, 08/2021)

Five numbers that lay bare the mammoth effort needed to insulate Britain’s homes (The Conversation 14/09/21)

Stirling prize shortlist: from mosque stunner to neo-neolithic flats (The Guardian 16/09/21)

Uncommon Markets: Leveraging the Power of Marketplaces in Post-Covid Revival (AfterCovid.City, 17/09/21)

The return of the cladding crisis (The Times 19/09/21)

We don’t need UNESCO listing, says new Liverpool heritage chief (The Guardian, 23/09/2021)

Parliamentary Questions

Questions marked with a triangle are initiated by the Scottish Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament.Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an “R”.

Question ref. S6W-02978 Miles Briggs, Lothian, Date lodged: 14 September 2021
To ask the Scottish Government for what reason it has only recently begun its consultation, Building standards (fire safety) – external wall systems, on the introduction of a ban on the use of combustible cladding and insulation on the external facades of certain residential high-rise buildings, in light of such a ban being introduced in England in 2018.

Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government, on the proposed National Towns of Culture scheme:
Question S6W-03093: launch date
Question S6W-03094: aims and objectives
Question S6W-03095: funding

Question ref. S6W-03065 Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20 September 2021
“To ask the Scottish Government, in relation to the actions set out in Annex A of the Draft Heat in Buildings Strategyfrom February 2021, what the (a) timescale for delivery, (b) current status and (c) expenditure to date is for each of the actions.”
Further questions from Mark Griffin on the Draft Heat in Buildings Strategy.

Question ref. S6W-03159 Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20 September 2021
“To ask the Scottish Government what (a) number and (b) percentage of domestic and non-domestic buildings taller than 11m have external wall systems with combustible insulation and/or cladding (i) in total and (ii) that required a BS 8414 certificate, and what work it has undertaken to establish centrally held estimates of these figures.”

Question S6W-03146Liz Smith, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to publish the conclusions and recommendations of its City Centre Recovery taskforce.

Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Questions marked with a triangle are initiated by the Scottish Government in order to facilitate the provision of information to the Parliament. Questions in which a member has indicated a declarable interest are marked with an “R”.

Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 08/09/2021
On the National Partnership for Culture / 2020 Culture Strategy for Scotland:
Question S6W-02774Measuring change group, Answered by Jenny Gilruth (22/09/2021)
Question S6W-02773Meeting dates, Answered by Jenny Gilruth (22/09/2021)
Question S6W-02771Review of cultural workforce, Answered by Jenny Gilruth (22/09/2021)

Question S6W-02772: Donald Cameron, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 08/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how it is helping the culture and heritage sector meet its 2025 Fair Work Nationtarget.
Answered by Jenny Gilruth

Question S6W-02955: Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government how much has been spent by each local authority in each year since 1999 on energy efficiency for homes.
Answered by Patrick Harvie

Question S6W-02127: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what analysis it has carried out of the economic impact on communities of the closure of local historic buildings.
Answered by Jenny Gilruth (24/09/2021)

Question S6W-02554: Sharon Dowey, South Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/08/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what number of empty homes were acquired using compulsory purchase ordersin (a) 2018-19, (b) 2019-20, (c) 2020-21 and (d) 2021-22, to date.
Answered by Shona Robison (24/09/2021)

Question S6W-02953: Miles Briggs, Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what support it offers to help diversify high streets.
Answered by Tom Arthur (24/09/2021)

Question S6O-00166: Kaukab Stewart, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/09/2021
To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made in supporting the removal of flammable cladding.
Answered by Shona Robison (16/09/2021)


Motion ref. S6M-01046 Improving Energy Efficiency in Scotland’s Private-rented Sector
Submitted by: Mark Griffin R, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Monday, September 6, 2021 R
Current status: Achieved cross-party support

Motion ref. S6M-01037 50th Anniversary of Edinburgh World Heritage
Submitted by: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Monday, September 6, 2021

Motion ref. S6M-01188 Work of Glasgow City Heritage Trust Awarded £240,000 in Council Funding
Submitted by: Paul Sweeney, Glasgow, Scottish Labour.
Date lodged: Tuesday, September 14, 2021 R


For the full list of BEFS Members’ upcoming events see our events calendar.

Make Your Mark: Have Your Say: Green Volunteering
Date & Time: 4 October, 14:00 – 15:30
Do you volunteer at a museum, gallery, archive, natural or historic site or cultural organisation in Scotland? Have your say on how we make it green! Join this free online event to meet other volunteers, share your experiences and feed back on how to make volunteering more environmentally friendly. Your comments will be summarised and presented at a UK-wide event for heritage volunteer organisers during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), so this is your opportunity to shape the future of volunteering.

GCHT: Gruesome Glasgow
Date & Time: 20 October, 19:30
Join Judith Bowers as she tells the tale of Dr Edward William Pritchard, the Human Crocodile. The last man to be publicly hanged in the city for poisoning not just his wife, but his mother-in-law as well. A Dr who had more pregnant patients than any other Dr in Scotland. A man so vain he handed photographs of himself to ladies at his own execution…

SoAoS: Rhind Lectures 2021: Untimely Ends
Date & Time: 22 October to 24 October
Location: Both in-person at NMS Auditorium and online via YouTube live.
Sponsored by AOC Archaeology Group, the 2021 Rhind Lectures “Untimely Ends” will be delivered by Professor John Hunter OBE BA PhD FSA FSAScot MCIfA FCSFS, focusing on his research interests in the study of the dead and forensic archaeology. This will be the Society’s first hybrid event with the Rhind Lectures that is taking place in the NMS auditorium and online.

RIAS Conservation Autumn Seminar 2021 – adapt, retrofit, re-use 
Date & Time: 26 October 13:00 – 16:35
Presentations will cover HES heritage priorities, Glasgow’s re-located structures, an approach to existing building retrofit and the sustainable, low energy refurbishment of traditional and historic buildings supported by case studies, application of the building regulations when considering the conversion of a listed office building to flats and salvaging and re-use of materials in the circular economy.

AHSS: Virtual AGM & Lecture: “Old buildings, why bother?”
Date & Time: 28 October 18:00
Join us online for our 65th AGM and a talk by our outgoing President, Simon Green: “Old buildings, why bother? – a celebration of Scotland’s rich listed and unlisted built heritage.”


The Ridge: Traditional Skills Training for Construction
Date & Time: Six-week course starting 4 October 2021
An amazing opportunity to learn more about much sought after practical skillsets including joinery, stonemasonry and greenwood working, with helpful advice and training to develop employability skills, including external site visits and talks from industry professionals. Numbers are limited so get in touch if you are interested in learning more or booking yourself on the course. Applicants must be 25 years or older and currently not working, or facing redundancy. The training will take place in East Lothian but is available for Edinburgh referrals. Travel costs will be reimbursed.
For more information contact:

Arts & Business Scotland: Culture & Business Fund Scotland – Online Roadshow
Date & Time: 26 October 11:00 — 13:30
Designed to give attendees from across the arts, heritage, third, public and business sectors the opportunity to learn about the fund, the session will explain how the new CBFS COVID-19 Recovery & Renewal strand provides more flexible support through a period of recovery and renewal over the next three years. This session includes changes to the criteria and guidelines that potentially increases the levels of match funding over that period. CBFS Case studies and a walk through the online application process will also provide participants with the necessary knowledge on how to develop and submit a successful application.

Arts & Business Scotland: Culture & Business Fund Scotland – Monthly Surgeries
Date & Time: 27 October 11:00 — 13:00 & 24 November 11:00 — 13:00
Have you got questions about the Culture & Business Fund Scotland? Whether you are from the arts, heritage, third, public or business sectors we are offering monthly online surgery sessions to ask those questions about the fund and how your organisation can benefit from this match funding scheme, which has been specially adapted to provide more flexible support for the sectors through a period of recovery and renewal throughout 2021 and beyond.

ICON Scotland Group: Introduction to Photogrammetry
Date & Time: 29 October, 14:00 – 17:00
Learn about this 3D imaging technique, and how it can be used to record historic artefacts. This event will introduce participants to methods of 3D digital documentation of historic objects. The session will cover basic data capture procedures, to create an understanding of the requirements, capabilities and limitations of the technology, and will show the possibilities of 3D documentation for a range of objects and materials.

IHBC at COP26 – Conserving our Places Conserves our Planet
Date & Time: 1-12 November
Online: Podcast
A podcast series to raise awareness and understanding of how conservation philosophy and practice contributes towards meeting the challenge of climate change.  Episodes released throughout the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 in Glasgow COP26 feature sectoral experts sharing their expertise, experience, and views on what’s being done now and what’s to come.


Fife Historic Buildings Trust: Project Officer
A new full-time fixed term post, funded by Historic Environment Scotland. FHBT are a Building Preservation Trust whose mission is to create viable futures for heritage buildings and their communities, by inspiring and enabling visionary conservation projects across Fife. Bring your skills and to deliver new historic environment regeneration projects in Fife, principally the restoration and re-use of historic buildings at risk.
Closing date: 5pm on Monday 18 October 2021

Fife Council / Fife Historic Buildings Trust
Tender Opportunity: Fife Historic Environment Evaluation & Strategy
Fife Council, in partnership with Fife Historic Buildings Trust, are commissioning an Historic Environment Strategy for the protection, enhancement and management of Fife’s historic environment – including an evaluation of its impact/benefits and a framework for making the most effective use of resources and the best use of our heritage.
Closing date: 5pm on Friday 8 October.

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