BEFS Bulletin 354: Changes To Sector Organisations Leadership

Get The Latest Built Environment News, Policy Developments, Publications & Consultations


In mid-July, BEFS will bid farewell to Director Ailsa Macfarlane as she takes up a new role as Head of National and International Partnerships for National Museums Scotland. During her 7 years at BEFS, first in Policy & Strategy and then as Director, Ailsa has made significant contributions to the organisation and the wider built environment sector. The BEFS Board and team express their gratitude and wish Ailsa the very best in her new role.

Hazel Johnson will step into the role of Interim Director from August. For those interested in the position of BEFS Director, the recruitment pack is now available. Read our full statement here and access the job details here.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced the appointment of Katerina Brown as their new CEO. Joining from the National Trust for Scotland, where she currently serves as Chief Operating Officer, Ms Brown brings a wealth of experience from both national and international financial services, renewable energy, and property sectors. Her passion for Scotland’s historic environment and proven track record in business are thought to make her an outstanding candidate to lead HES in delivering Scotland’s ambitious heritage strategy.

With the UK general election campaign in full swing, political parties have revealed their plans for supporting the museums and heritage sectors in their recently published manifestos. Whilst culture and heritage are devolved matters in Scotland, it’s interesting to read the range of commitments: from improving access to cultural assets and protecting national heritage to boosting funding for creative projects and promoting regional culture, each party has outlined its unique approach to the sector. To learn more about the specific pledges made by the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green, Plaid Cymru, Reform, and SNP parties, read the full report by Museums + Heritage.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has launched a public petition calling on the Scottish Parliament to host a national debate to bolster safeguards for threatened listed buildings. The petition, currently under consideration by the Scottish Parliament, seeks to address a perceived loophole that allows for the demolition of listed buildings without sufficient evidence. It calls for enhanced policy guidance and mandatory engagement with conservation accredited engineers in cases involving listed buildings.

The National Retrofit Hub are calling on professionals, researchers and practitioners to contribute their knowledge on International Retrofit Delivery Models. Whether you have detailed case studies or brief insights, your contribution is crucial. Please complete this form to share your expertise and help create a valuable repository that supports effective policy-making and project delivery.

BE-ST, in collaboration with Robert Gordon University and Construction Leadership Forum have launched a survey: Digital representation of buildings: towards Digital twins – National Existing Building Database questionnaire which aims to identify current practices in assessing and managing maintenance, repair, retrofit and other building related works in the social housing sector in Scotland.

BEFS Director recently attended the short conference, and now Scotland’s Futures Forum have published their conference report on Scotland’s Housing and Net Zero Conference. The report highlights the challenges that will be faced tackling the carbon emissions created by Scotland’s housing – which account for 13% of total emissions. Delivering clean heating systems and warm homes are problematic, especially for old tenement buildings and in rural areas, which will only be exacerbated by several local authorities in Scotland declaring housing emergencies.

RTPI Scotland has secured funds from the Scottish Government for 10 postgraduate bursaries worth £5000 each. The bursaries will support students who have a place to study on an accredited planning Masters in a Scottish University. Applications will open on 24 June and close on 9 August 2024. Further information here.

The 2024 SURF Awards were launched on 6 June at a special online event. The Awards are delivered each year by SURF, a regeneration forum with over 300 cross-sector member organisations across Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government. The purpose is to highlight, celebrate and share the achievements of initiatives that address physical, social and economic challenges in communities across Scotland.

And finally, it’s been a busy week for meetings, BEFS thanks CIOB for organising the MSP Retrofit breakfast yesterday, sharing the collective recommendations from the report, and we thank all those who attended the BEFS-facilitated VAT and Listed Buildings workshop with HES.  Both are important topics, with many policy links.



National Performance Framework: Inquiry into proposed National Outcomes
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Government must, by law, review the National Outcomes for Scotland at least every five years. The Scottish Parliament must be consulted on proposed National Outcomes and considers the consultation the Government has carried out. The Scottish Government’s Report on proposed National Outcomes and its consultation was published on 2 May 2024. The Finance and Public Administration Committee is leading in considering the proposed National Outcomes, although some other Committees will wish to consider evidence in their areas of interest. There is one consultation for all Committees which seeks your views on the Government’s proposed National Outcomes.
Closes 28 June 2024

Inventory of Historic Battlefields – Revisions to Selection Guidance
Historic Environment Scotland
HES is proposing revisions to the battlefields selection guidance in response to recommendations made by Lichfields UK in a report that was commissioned in 2021 to inform best practice in the designation and management of inventory battlefields in the planning system. Many organisations and individuals play an important role in looking after Scotland’s historic battlefields, and their views are being requested to help HES to shape the changes being made to guidance to be applied when designating inventory battlefields.
Closes 2 July 2024

Time limits for enforcement action for unauthorised Environmental Impact Assessment development
Scottish Government
Comments are invited on proposals to disapply Section 124 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (‘the 1997 Act’) concerning the time limits for taking enforcement action on unauthorised development which requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This follows a case of unauthorised development in Northern Ireland for which an EIA was required, but not undertaken. The need for EIA was only identified after the time limit for enforcement had expired and the development was immune from enforcement action. As the Scottish planning system is like the system in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government considers it is possible, although unlikely, that a similar situation could arise in Scotland.
Closes 11 July 2024

Review of charity regulation
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government ran a consultation in 2019 about proposals the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) had made on improvements to the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. In response to that consultation, it was noted that some respondents wanted a wider review of charity regulation. This consultation aims to understand if people still feel that way and if so, what they think should be the purpose and parameters for a review.
Closes 22 July 2024

Tenement law: compulsory owners’ associations
Scottish Law Commission
In March 2018, a Scottish Parliament Working Group was convened to explore what actions could be taken to improve the condition of Scotland’s tenements. The Scottish Law Commission’s project follows from a reference under the Law Commissions Act 1965 received on 10 January 2022 from the (then) Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government (Shona Robison MSP). The reference asks for recommendations to be made to implement the Working Group’s recommendation that all tenements should have an owners’ association. Consultation is critical in all law reform projects to ensure that the final recommendations would, if implemented, result in law which is just, principled, responsive, and easy to understand.
Closes 1 August 2024

Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee Pre-Budget Scrutiny 2025-26
Scottish Parliament
The Committee wants to gather views from individuals, groups and businesses operating in the culture sector to help make recommendations to the Scottish Government ahead of its Budget for 2025-26. The consultation focuses on planned budget increases, the culture strategy action plan, progress on innovative funding solutions, Creative Scotland’s multi-year funding programme and fair work.
*NEW* Closes 9 August 2024

Flood resilience strategy
Scottish Government
Scotland’s climate has changed significantly and will continue to change for decades to come, resulting in the need to learn to live with and adapt to flooding in Scotland. The Flood Resilience Strategy will set out what needs to be done in the long term to create a flood resilient Scotland. The consultation paper sets out the principles guiding the strategy and the three key themes of people, places, and processes. These have been developed following a series of workshops and engagement with communities, practitioners, and researchers in 2023. The consultation paper contains full background information.
Closes 13 August 2024

Crofting consultation 2024
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government is determined to ensure that crofting legislation enables and supports the sustainability of crofting, of crofters and crofting communities, and allows crofting to modernise, innovate, diversify and adapt to help meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. This consultation seeks views on a range of proposals for crofting reform which will help to create opportunities for new entrants, encourage the active management and use of crofts and common grazings, and support rural population. The consultation paper contains full background information, including references to current legislation.
*New* Closes 2 September 2024

Compulsory Purchase Reform
Scottish Government
The Scottish Government have committed to reform and modernise compulsory purchase legislation. As a first step, they have established an advisory group to help support the reform programme. The group, to be co-chaired by the Chief Planner and Roseanna Cunningham, brings together several expert practitioners with first-hand experience of the compulsory purchase process. They recognise, however, that a range of organisations have an interest in this area and are consulting broadly and are keen to hear from a wide range of voices as the work moves forward.
Please get in touch at



Building standards enforcement and sanctions: consultation analysis & consultation outcome report (Scot Gov 07/06/2024)



Submission from the Scottish Government regarding PE2026/D: Eliminate Council Tax discounts for second homes and vacant properties Scottish Government submission (Scot Gov 22/05/2024)

Submission from the Scottish Government regarding PE2075: Prioritise local participation in planning decisions (Scot Gov 04/06/2024)

PE2105: Safeguard Scottish Listed Buildings at risk of unnecessary demolition
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to set a minimum evidence requirement to prevent unnecessary use of emergency public safety powers to demolish listed buildings.
Created by: Lydia Franklin on behalf of SAVE Britain’s Heritage
Considered from: 06/06 2024



2024 SURF Awards Launched Online (SURF 06/06/2024)

Manifesto launched calling on the next UK Government to prioritise a clean energy future (Scottish renewables 07/06/2024)

National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses General Election Manifesto 2024 (fsb50 07/06/2024)

SAVE calls for national debate on demolition of Scottish heritage (Save Britain’s Heritage 11/06/2024)

Historic Environment Scotland appoints new CEO (HES 13/06/2024)

What the party manifestos have to say about museums and heritage (M&H Advisor 13/06/2024)



Counting the Cost: The case for making older people’s homes safe (Centre for Ageing Better 20/05/2024)

New Homes: An alternative is possible: Measuring the impact of cooperatives (IPPR 13/06/2024)

Briefing: Levelling up process following the general election in 2019 (National Institute of Economic and Social Research 14/06/2024)



Correspondence between The Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee and Paul McLennan concerning how the government plans to respond to the housing emergency (Scot Parl 04/06/2024)

Skills: Shared Outcomes Assurance Group minutes: 05 March 2024 (Scot Gov 04/06/2024)

Energy consents: application procedure and publicity requirements & how to support or object to an application (Scot Gov 05/06/2024)

Correspondence between Angus Robertson and the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee with an update on the Culture Strategy Action Plan (Scot Parl 05/06/2024)

Scotland’s Housing and Net Zero Conference Report (Scotland’s Futures Forum 05/06/2024)

Briefing Paper: Land Reform (Scotland) Bill (SPICe 05/06/02024)

Briefing Paper: The Housing (Scotland) Bill (SPICe 06/06/2024)

Correspondence between the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee and Shirley-Anne Somerville regarding the Housing (Scotland) Bill (Scot Parl 06/06/2024)

Correspondence between the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee and Paul McLennan regarding implementation of short-term let licensing (Scot Parl 06/06/2024)

Correspondence between Mairi Gougeon and the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee with a draft outline of the Rural Support Plan under the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill (Scot Gov 07/06/2024)

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) regulations 2020: ICIA (Scot Gov 10/06/2024)

Building standards – guidance changes April 2024: letter to local authority verifiers – 25 March 2024 (Scot Gov 10/06/2024)

Correspondence between Angus Robertson and the Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee regarding the publication of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) Investigation Report into the origin and cause of the fire at Glasgow School of Art in 2018 (Scot Gov 10/06/2024)

Planning – Compulsory Purchase Reform Scotland Practitioner Advisory Group: terms of reference (Scot Gov 11/06/2024)

Proposals and appeals against non-domestic revaluations (Scot Gov 12/06/2024)

Stage 3 of the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill: grouping of amendments, marshalled list of amendments & revised explanatory notes (Scot Gov 12/06/2024)

SPICe Briefing: Housing (Scotland) Bill (SPICe 13/06/2024)

Cabinet sub-committees: factsheet (Scot Gov 13/06/2024)

Circular Economy Scotland Bill daily lists of amendments for Wednesday 12, Thursday 13 and Friday 14  (Scot Parl 14/06/2024)

Delegated powers in the agriculture and rural communities (Scotland) bill (as amended at stage 2) (Scot Parl 14/06/2024)

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee Meeting Clerk’s Note (Scot Parl 18/06/2024)

Planning permission appeals: housing development statistics (Scot Gov 18/06/2024)



Fixing poor-quality homes could save the NHS and social care £1.5bn a year (Housing Today 20/05/2024)

Where the Heavens Meet the Stars: A Visionary Project for Doon Valley’s Future (The Scottish Beacon 05/06/2024)

HES urged to ‘wake up and smell coffee’ over climate crisis (Midlothian View 07/06/2024)

Cross-party group calls for immediate action to tackle Scotland’s housing emergency (Scottish Housing News 07/06/2024)

Energy boss calls for urgent reforms to hit UK green targets (Financial Times 09/06/2024)

Rent controls will make housing crisis worse, government agency warns (The Times 10/06/2024)

For new towns to contribute significantly to housing supply, design and delivery must both be right (Centre for Public Policy UK General Election Policy Insights 11/06/2024)

Will I need to spend a lot insulating my home to get a heat pump? (The Guardian 13/06/2024)

Charity calls on ministers to ‘step in and save’ historic battlefield site (The Herald 13/06/2024)

Scottish arts organisations braced for harsh cuts as exodus of talent already underway (The Scotsman 16/06/2024)

Hope and despair. The strange case of Scotland’s ‘protected’ buildings (The Herald 17/06/2024)



Link to Parliamentary Questions and Answers



Submitted by: Paul McLennan, East Lothian, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 05/06/2024
That the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee recommends that the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Short-term Lets) Amendment Order 2024 [draft] be approved.

Submitted by: Christine Grahame, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 14/06/2024
That the Parliament notes that 25 out of 32 local authorities have empty homes officers; recognises what it sees as the valued service that they provide; notes their on-the-ground experience of the diversity and complexity of the issue of long-term empty homes, particularly in the private sector, estimated to be around 40,000 houses, and with experience that will vary in different parts of Scotland, and urges the Scottish Government to meet with them as, it believes, this would seem a good place to start to determine what is and is not working to bring as many of these houses back into occupancy as homes.

Submitted by: Kate Forbes, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 17/06/2024
That the Parliament recognises that Scotland’s abundant natural resources and hugely talented people mean that there is opportunity to build a strong, successful and inclusive economy that realises the new opportunities from the transition to net zero and the digital revolution; acknowledges that Scotland’s economic potential can be realised through actions to support entrepreneurs, promote science and technology and ensure that the track record of innovation is translated into new businesses and improvements in productivity in all sectors of the economy, and agrees that doing so will build Scotland’s global reputation as a great place to do business, grow exports and secure international and domestic investment.

Submitted by: Mairi Gougeon, Angus North and Mearns, Scottish National Party.
Date lodged: 17/06/2024
That the Parliament agrees that the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill be passed.



For further listings, please see our events calendar

ASPB – Natural Fibre Insulation and Traditional Buildings
Date & Time: Wednesday 26 June 2024; 1-2:30pm
Location: Online
Join the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASPB) and the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) for a webinar exploring how natural fibre insulation can help meet the challenges of retrofitting traditional buildings. Followed by Q&A and an engaging panel discussion.Landscape Institute – Digital Practice & Technology for Landscape Conference
Date & Time: Thursday 11 July 2024; 9am-5pm
Location: Central London
The Landscape Institute is holding a one-day conference dedicated to harnessing digital practice and technological innovation in the landscape industry and related disciplines. The event will bring together professionals from across the built and natural environment sectors to discuss how advances in technology can improve business operations, project delivery, and management in landscape practice. Attendees will have the opportunity to see the latest products and services, hear from thought-leaders, learn how to gain value from tech innovations, participate in practical demos, and network with peers and industry leaders. For more information, please email the press office.


Scottish Lime Centre Trust – Introduction to Stonemasonry
Date & Time: Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26 June 2024; 9:30am-4:30pm
Location: Merryhill Training Centre, Charlestown, Dunfermline KY12 3DR
Taught by a time-served Stonemason, this course is suitable for all abilities and covers an introduction to tools, techniques, and uses of basic stonemasonry. The course is designed for individuals with little or no experience in cutting and dressing natural stone; building contractors working on traditional stone buildings and structures who just want to learn the basic masonry skills for cutting and dressing sandstone; or a semi-skilled operative who needs to add to his skills set and be able to produce stone masonry units to plumb, level and plane with traditional tooling finishes.



Built Environment Forum Scotland – Director
Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) is seeking a new Director to lead the organisation following the departure of Ailsa Macfarlane. The Director will play a crucial role in bringing together the diverse built environment sector to address strategic issues and support a vibrant and sustainable future for Scotland’s existing built environment. With significant experience and expertise, the successful candidate will continue BEFS’ important work in facilitating dialogue, collaboration, and advocacy across the sector.
For more information, visit BEFS Vacancy page and to download full job description and details on how to apply, please click this link.Scottish Historic Buildings Trust – Trustee Roles
Scottish Historic Buildings Trust seeks four new trustees with expertise in areas such as strategy, finance, heritage conservation, marketing, fundraising, property development and asset management. Help shape the future of this leading organisation dedicated to preserving Scotland’s historic buildings. 3-year term, 4 meetings per year. For more information, visit To apply, email CV and cover letter to

The Heritage Trust Network – Volunteering opportunities
Youth Forum
The Heritage Trust Network is seeking young people aged 18-30 who are interested in the rescue, restoration and management of historic buildings, structures and places who want their voice heard in the heritage sector. Volunteers will be involved in shaping the new Youth Forum; creating recommendations and advice to help members involve young people in heritage in a democratic way; co-designing, leading, and taking part in online and in-person events; and creating online content including social media posts, blogs, or vlogs.
If you are interested in joining, please fill out a short application form here.

Digital Heroes Project Volunteer
Are you digitally skilled, interested in helping heritage organisations and available to volunteer? The Heritage Trust Network are seeking people based in Scotland to join their Digital Heroes project which matches up digitally skilled young people with one of their member organisations to help them undertake a digital project. Examples include doing social media posts, digitising an archive, or creating a digital marketing plan. If you are interested in volunteering as a digital hero, please fill out a short application form here.