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Stakeholder Survey 2017

In 2017 Historic England undertook two online surveys of sector stakeholders and developers. The objective of the surveys was to understand stakeholders' views of our performance based on their experiences of working with Historic England.

Overall, Historic England is performing well from our stakeholders' perspective.

Download the reports below to explore the full survey results, or read on down this page for the key findings.

We're performing very well against our three core values

We asked stakeholders the question: On a scale of one to five, where one is strongly agree and five is strongly disagree, how much do you agree with the following?

Historic England is:

On a scale of one to five, where one is strongly agree and five is strongly disagree, how much do you agree with the following. HE is:
A champion - 91% agree!
Expert- 93% agree!
Constructive- 88% agree!

We're seen to be moving forward as an organisation

We asked stakeholders: Do you think Historic England as an organisation is moving forward, moving backward, or is moving neither forward nor backward?

Their answers are illustrated below.

Pie charts showing results of survey question: Do you think Historic England as an organisation is moving forward, moving backward, or is moving neither forward nor backward?
Heritage Sector respondents said:
Moving forward - 53%
Moving backward - 5%
Neither - 42%
Developers said:
Moving forward - 46%
Moving backward - 17%
Neither - 37%

Our two most important corporate aims according to sector stakeholders are Championing England's Historic Environment" and "Identifying and protecting England's special historic buildings and places".  Very importantly, these are also the two corporate aims we are perceived to be performing best against.

  • Championing England's Historic Environment: 81% of heritage sector and 87% of developers believe we are performing well or very well against this aim
  • Identifying and protecting England's special historic buildings and places: 82% of heritage sector and 92% of developers state we are performing well or very well against this aim.

We are seen to be performing less well against two of our corporate aims: "Work effectively, efficiently and transparently" (18% sector stakeholders and 20% of developers state our performance is poor) and "Engage with the whole community to foster a sense of ownership of buildings and places" (23% sector stakeholders and 24% of developers state our performance is poor).

The majority of stakeholders are neutral in terms of the extent Historic England is supporting the work of the English Heritage Trust.

What is Historic England doing particularly well?

Heritage expertise

95% of the sector stakeholders and 96% of developers we work with/ have worked with agree we are heritage experts. In 2012 87% of sector stakeholders agreed with the statement "English Heritage are experts in heritage issues".

Stakeholders suggest that our expertise is founded on the high quality technical advice and guidance we deliver; the knowledge and expertise of staff members and the passion and enthusiasm of staff members. It is notable that developers (13% rated less positively) are less positive about our technical advice compared to the sector stakeholders (4% rated less positively).

Helpfulness

The survey asked stakeholders to rate the extent to which we are obstructive. As may be expected developers are more inclined to perceive Historic England as obstructive, however this is only by a minority of developers: 21% of developers agree that we are obstructive compared to 10% of sector stakeholders (this is the same proportion as in the 2012 sector stakeholder survey). The majority however, disagree, with 63% of sector stakeholders and 59% of developers stating we are not obstructive.

Collaboration

73% of the sector stakeholders and 59% of developers we work with/ have worked with agree that we are collaborative. However a quarter of developers disagree with this statement.

What can Historic England do better?

Engaging communities

According to stakeholders Historic England needs to work harder to engage with whole communities. Nearly one in five of heritage sector and developer stakeholders state we are poor or very poor at engaging whole communities.

Resources

61% of sector stakeholders and 65% of developers state we are not well resourced. The key issues identified by stakeholders are understaffing, poor response to their needs and expectations.

Bureaucracy and strategic thinking

36% of sector stakeholders and 42% of developers consider Historic England to be too bureaucratic. Similarly, 27% of sector stakeholders and 38% of developers believe we get ‘too bogged down in the detail and forget the big strategic picture’. In 2012, 39% of sector stakeholders agreed with this statement.

Background

Between February and March 2017 two online stakeholder surveys were conducted:

  • The first survey was targeted at sector stakeholders including government departments, local authorities, charities and voluntary sector, academics; building preservation trusts and private heritage sector professionals. Two hundred and two (13%) stakeholders fully completed the survey.
  • A second survey targeted developers. Fifty-nine (8%) developers fully completed the survey.

These survey findings will be taken into account when developing next year's corporate plan and in improving the way we work.

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