Today's Herald has a brief note confirming that the long-planned merger between Historic Scotland and RCAHMS will go ahead:
Two of Scotland's main heritage bodies are to merge, it has been confirmed.
The Scottish Government published a strategy document for the "historic environment" yesterday as Fiona Hyslop, the culture secretary, launched a Bill to address the management of the nation's built heritage.
The Historic Environment Scotland Bill will bring together Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS).
The new body will be called Historic Environment Scotland (HES).
The organisation will "be expected to play a key role in delivering the strategy, developed in partnership with stakeholders" which include the Built Environment Forum Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, the Society of Antiquaries, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and others.
Full story here. The complete paper Our Place in Time: The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland can be read online. So too can the Historic Environment Scotland Bill. It is a theme that this blog has covered regularly over the past few years. Previous posts are collected here.
Several concerns remain.
First, to set up the new organisation which has been dubbed Historic Environment Scotland, it is going to cost the taxpayer just over GBP5m. Given the Scottish government's track record with overly generous cost estimates, this this likely to be at the lower end of what this is going to cost in the end. Expect at least GBP10m.
Second, the savings that the merger of the two organisations will make appear to be based on firing people and by cutting terms and conditions, like provision of overtime. The financial notes - always the best place to start - trumpet savings of GBP16.29m between 2013/14 and 2020/25, though 96% of that will be saved by getting rid of people over the next four years.
UPDATE Lunchtime 5/3/14. A press release has finally been put up on the Historic Scotland website. You can read it here. Still nothing on Fiona Hyslop's website.