Manchester Town Hall and extension with cenotaph and pedestrians in the foreground.
Manchester Town Hall at St Peter's Square, Manchester © Historic England DP232508
Manchester Town Hall at St Peter's Square, Manchester © Historic England DP232508

Local Government Resources

Local authorities are on the front line of heritage protection and as they adapt to shrinking budgets, greater and greater pressure is being placed on specialist historic environment advice.

That is why, in 2013, we published, in partnership with the Local Government Association, Making the most of your heritage assets.

Aimed at local authority decision makers, it demonstrates the vital role that local heritage services play, in protecting and promoting the historic environment and places more widely. This includes both archaeological and historic building conservation services.

Based around a series of case studies, it also looks at different ways in which local services can be provided, highlighting how exploring alternative models can help services to be sustainable whilst remaining effective.

It builds on previous work by Historic England that provided support to a number of authorities as they explored different models of service.

This guidance, which represents just one element of the advice and support available to local authorities, responds to the large scale cuts being made to local historic environment services.

Research commissioned by Historic England has shown cuts to expert advice of 32% since 2006. The picture, however, varies a great deal from place to place.

Managing Local Authority Heritage Assets

Managing Local Authority Heritage Assets (2017) provides some guiding principles for local authority portfolio holders, corporate property officers, conservation specialists facilities managers and corporate estate architects and surveyors who deal with the care of historic assets in council ownership.

Local authorities own and are responsible for a wide variety of heritage assets, including town halls, piers, parks and office buildings. The aim of the guidance is to promote and encourage appropriate standards in the management of these assets and high quality design in new work related to them.

Pressure on local resources, and increasing opportunities created by national policy and legislation, has seen an increasing number of local authority owned assets passed into the hands of community groups.

Historic England with its partners, has recently updated its advice, aimed at local authorities and community groups, on the transfer of heritage assets.

As well as guidance, we have also brought together a number of case studies.