Series 2 Issue 3: Report on Local Authority Historic Environment Staff Resources 2023

By Essex County Council Place Services, Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers

This report presents findings from the Local Authority Staffing Survey for 2023, funded by Historic England and undertaken by Essex County Council Place Services, in partnership with the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO). Series 2 is a five-year series of annual surveys to monitor capacity and capability in local authority heritage teams, covering 2020 – 2024, a period of significant central government investment via the Heritage Action Zone and High Streets Heritage Programmes.

Fieldwork conducted between April – June 2023 surveyed historic environment specialist staffing levels in local authorities in England. It also gathered building conservation staff insights on the volume of casework involving energy efficiency retrofit, confidence in decision making and views on current advice and guidance.

The main findings are:

  • As of 1 April 2023, there were around 807 FTE staff working on heritage issues in local authorities in England (528 FTE in conservation roles and 280 in archaeology roles.) This is a small decrease of 2% from 2022, or -16.18 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts, driven mainly by a reduction in archaeology staff (a decrease of 13.92 FTE posts).
  • A relatively small proportion of respondents (13%) said that between 50-100% of their team can be classed as ‘early career’, compared to 32% who said that most (between three quarters to 100%) of their team were late career. This highlights a need to mitigate against the impact of future retirement on capacity and skills.
  • Staff are seeing more casework involving decisions, advice or pre-application enquiries about retrofit. 59% of responding local authorities said that this had increased over the last year, just under a quarter of whom (22%) said they had ‘increased a lot’.
  • There is a need for additional information and guidance to support local authority staff advising and making decisions on retrofit. Only 16% of respondents said their staff were ‘very confident’ in this area.


  • Executive summary
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Technical report containing the full survey questionnaire 

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 14 (report), 22 (technical report)


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