Since the arrival of Teresa May as Prime Minister there has been a lot of change at Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). The Secretary of State is now the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, who was formerly at the Home Office.
Whilst most other members of the team have changed, the World Heritage community is lucky to have continuety in the form of Tracey Crouch MP, the junior Minister with the brief for Heritage and Tourism, and we look forward to continue working with her over the coming years.
Brexit Round table
Over the last two weeks Site Coordinators have been asked for their views on how they think the referendum result may impact on WH Sites and their management. This was in order to put together a briefing paper in advance of round table discussion about this issue between the Secretary of State and the Heritage Sector.
We were lucky enough to be offered a place around the table for the meeting, as part of a group that included the National Trust, Historic England, English Heritage Trust, Historic Houses Assocation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Royal Palaces, Heritage Alliance and the Churches Conservation Trust.
So it was in that rather exulted company that I attended the session on Wednesday armed with the views of our membership. The round table was a useful exercise – collectively we expressed our percieved challenges, notably around losing funding, concerns over European designations and movement of people with necessary skills. We also presented some opportunities, particularly around the potential for new collaborations and the heightened role that the Heritage Sector can play in presenting the UK and in ‘soft power’ diplomacy.
The Secretary of State was relaxed and interested, and sees the importance and value of Heritage. Along with her colleague Lord Ashton (two ministers for the price of one!) we hope that they are able to use our messages around the cabinet table, in committees and in both houses. I also hope that this is just the start of an enhanced dialogue with government, and I will keep you up to date.
Our briefing paper is available to download from this page – go to the bottom under Brexit discussions. Please do continue to send Chris or I your examples to collate – the Secretary of State offered us an opportunity to email further thoughts at the end of the meeting, so if we have useful evidence or constructive comments we can send it her way.