Conservation officer

 17 February 2011

Conservation officers in the cultural heritage sector give advice and control the management of historic places. They can work on a number of sites including buildings, monuments, gardens or areas of historic interest. The intention is to either retain or enhance historic places to a good operational standard.

Conservation officers also rescue places through managing strategic investment. Conservation officers work in and on behalf of a planning authority. Historic building advisers work on behalf of bodies or clients in the private or voluntary sectors.

They may be involved with:

  • Historic buildings, open spaces, to promote enhancement, preservation, conservation or restoration
  • Parks and gardens, estates and landscapes of special historic or architectural interest
  • Projects with community, development, education or research interests relating to historic places
  • Providing specialist advice on specific classes of historic places.

Both officers and advisers use a wide range of tools, controls and procedures to help best manage change for sites. This could include historical, cultural and archaeological and community information. Subsequently this helps to assess the cultural value of a site.

The technical understanding of conservation officers will vary. In some cases detailed investigative procedures will be carried out by the officer. This includes researching, arching and analysing a site.  In some instances project management, financial management and fundraising abilities will be needed by the officer.

Typically detailed specialised skills are co-ordinated and managed in the context of:

  • Leading a collection of cross-sector HE interests (including community, educational business and government)
  • Leading a dedicated conservation team within an local authority or in the private sector
  • Serving as a specialist HE adviser for a particular sector or interest (including amenity organisations)
  • Acting as a control officer for managing change in a local authority within development control.

Also of interest


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