About Us

Our Place in Time

Scotland’s first ever strategy for the historic environment sets out a vision of how our heritage can be understood, valued, cared for and enjoyed.

A photograph of two books with yellow covers and an ironwork design.

1 Overview

Our Place in Time is Scotland’s strategy for the historic environment. It sets out a vision of how our historic environment can be understood, valued, cared for and enjoyed.

The strategy was developed collaboratively by organisations and specialists in the historic environment sector and beyond.

Our Place in Time identifies four strategic priorities:

  • cross-cutting strategic priorities – ensuring that the cultural, social, environmental and economic value of our heritage continues to contribute to Scotland’s well-being
  • understand – investigating and recording our historic environment to continually develop our knowledge, understanding and interpretation of the past, and how best to conserve, sustain and protect it
  • protect – caring for and protecting the historic environment in order to both enjoy and benefit from it, and to conserve and enhance it for future generations
  • value – sharing and celebrating the richness and significance of our historic environment

2 Delivering the strategy

As Scotland's lead public body for Scotland’s historic environment, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) leads and enables delivery of Our Place in Time. We work in partnership with other organisations and individuals to deliver real and increasing benefits to Scotland’s people.

Our responsibilities include coordinating the production and publication of annual delivery plans and reports.

Search Our Place in Time publications

Organisations, groups and individuals from across the historic environment sector and beyond have come together to support the delivery of the strategy through:

HES is also responsible for coordinating and enabling these working groups and reporting on progress to the Strategic Historic Environment Forum.

3 Measuring success

These 13 key performance indicators (KPIs) are used to measure the success of delivering Our Place in Time:

Theme Priorities Number Indicators
Cross-Cutting: Strategic Mainstreaming 01 Increase economic and social well-being benefits from the historic environment for the people of Scotland
Mainstreaming 02 Improve the environment by reducing CO2 emissions
Informed decision making 03 Increasingly historic environment evidence informs priorities
Leadership and shared working 04 Increase joined up working on strategic investment across the public, private and voluntary sectors
Skills and capacity 05 Improve skills and capacity to deliver priorities
Understand: Investigate and Record Knowledge development 06 Increase customer focus of knowledge created on the historic environment
Accessible knowledge 07 Improve access to knowledge on the historic environment
Protect: Care and Protect Holistic and sustainable approach 08 Improve or maintain the state of Scotland’s historic sites and places
Effective and proportionate protection and regulation 09 Increasingly the outcomes of management, including designation, reflects what people value
Ensuring capacity 10 Improve capacity by supporting communities through community empowerment and engagement
Value: Share and Celebrate Enhance Participation 11 Increase the number and range of people volunteering in the historic environment
Broad ranging approach to learning 12 Increase the number and range of people who learn about the historic environment
Tourism 13 Increase the number and range of people visiting the historic environment

The KPIs were developed with the sector and agreed by Scotland’s Historic Environment Forum.

Each year, we publish qualitative and quantitative data linked to the KPIs. The trends and case studies show our collective progress in delivering Our Place in Time.

Search Our Place in Time publications

4 Strategic Historic Environment Forum

The Strategic Historic Environment Forum is responsible for championing Scotland's historic environment by providing strategic advice and direction on its management and promotion. The Forum meets twice a year and is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary of Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.

The Forum promotes Our Place in Time by:

  • encouraging and celebrating collaboration and leadership at all levels across the sector
  • working in partnership on issues of national importance
  • aligning activities and resources to deliver agreed priorities

More information about the Strategic Historic Environment Forum can be found on the Scottish Government website.

5 Chief Executives’ Forum

The Chief Executives' Forum monitors the progress of Our Place in Time and addresses issues and concerns in the delivery of the strategy.

The Forum is responsible for ensuring momentum is maintained in delivering the strategy and identifies common threads and emerging themes.

Chaired by the Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland, the Forum comprises Chief Executives or equivalents from key organisations involved in the delivery of Our Place in Time. These organisations include Museum Galleries Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Houses, Built Environment Forum Scotland and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

6 Working groups

Five working groups are currently supporting the delivery of Our Place in Time:

  • Heritage Tourism Group
  • Volunteering Group
  • Climate Change Group
  • Built Heritage Investment Group
  • Skills and Expertise Group

Heritage Tourism Group

The Heritage Tourism Group explores how to grow the overall value of heritage tourism in Scotland.

 The group is chaired by Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, and comprises members from:

The group works collaboratively with public, private and voluntary sector partners to deliver the ambition and targets of Heritage Tourism 2020, People Make Heritage. It aims to grow actual heritage tourism expenditure to £1.7 billion by 2020 by broadening the appeal of heritage experiences to new and existing markets.

Volunteering Group

The Volunteering Group’s purpose is to demonstrate and promote the value of volunteering to the historic environment. It aims to establish ways for individuals, communities and organisations to get involved and stay engaged.

 The group is chaired by George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland, and comprises members from:

The group works collaboratively with Heritage Volunteer Organisers Scotland and is taking forward recommendations from the Volunteering and the Historic Environment report.

Climate Change

The Climate Change Group works collaboratively across public, private and voluntary sectors to improve energy efficiency and climate change adaptation in traditional buildings.

The group is chaired by Ewan Hyslop, Head of Technical Research and Science at Historic Environment Scotland, and comprises members from:

Built Heritage Investment Group

The Built Heritage Investment Group’s purpose is to develop a national infrastructure investment plan for Scotland’s historic built environment. It will achieve this by working in collaboration with public, private and voluntary sector partners.

The group is chaired by David Mitchell, Director of Conservation at Historic Environment Scotland, and comprises members from:

Skills and Expertise Group

The Skills and Expertise Group works to identify the existing and future skills needs of the sector. It focuses on developing initiatives that address those needs and functions as the steering group for the development of the first Historic Environment Skills Investment Plan.

The group is chaired by Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland, and comprises members from: