Leading on Prioritisation work for the built and historic environment.


Throughout 2019 and early 2020 BEFS, on behalf of the OPiT Built Heritage Investment group, have been continuing the development of the prioritisation strand of work.

Further events, feedback, and consultation has taken place with a wide range of stakeholders and potential ‘users’, further refining the thinking and documentation.

Some of this feedback changed how the project was referred to; the prioritisation work has developed into the Sustainable Investment Toolkit (SIT).

This Toolkit was due to be released for consultation by Historic Environment Scotland (on behalf of the OPiT group) in March/April 2020. Due to the COVID-19 situation this consultation has been understandably delayed.

The work of the OPiT groups continues, and the ability of the sector to demonstrate its continued value and impact across the changing landscape within which we are now operating, clearly demonstrating the value that investment in built heritage and the historic environment has for Scotland, has never been more significant.

Should you have any queries related to the Sustainable Investment Toolkit specifically, please contact BEFS.


BEFS have been leading on Prioritisation work for the built and historic environment since Autumn 2018, this will help to inform the work on the Built Heritage Investment Plan taking place within Historic Environment Scotland and the OPiT Built Heritage Investment Group.

Many involved organisations and individuals have given their time, views, methodologies and valued critique to develop a suggested set of Principles for Prioritisation. These Principles were discussed at a public event in Edinburgh in February 2019 – slides from that event can be accessed here.

In response to some of the discussions, we would offer the following comments:

  • Principles in themselves cannot change the competition for funding – but they are designed to perhaps help level the playing field and make decision-making more transparent.
  • Principles themselves cannot answer specific questions – such as the VAT concern, but they should enable greater clarity over how this generation wishes to frame the arguments to continue lobbying on such issues.
  • Other questions arose, including mainstreaming heritage across Scottish Government departments. This is something BEFS will explore in relation to the data gathered for the Built Heritage Investment Group about investment in heritage already occurring across the vast majority of ministerial portfolios.
  • Climate concerns should be at the top of any agenda and any resource directed towards the historic environment will contribute to the sustainability of the existing environment and is therefore implicitly addressing climate change be it through adaptation or mitigation.

After events and feedback from participants and interested parties, we produced a short questionnaire designed to aid progress of this valuable work. We appreciate all those who took the time to complete the survey. A final iteration of the Principles for Prioritisation has been produced and further steps for this work are currently under consideration.