by Sandy Gerrard
English Heritage have kindly responded to last week’s scheduling article which looked at yet another example of scheduling being described as listing. It is encouraging that EH have taken this concern seriously and their positive and forward looking attitude is to be commended. In order to avoid misrepresentation it is repeated in full:
“Having looked into this case it was a simple clerical error and nothing more. It was made by a member of the IMT Resources Department, not Designation. The officer in question accidentally blended the letter templates for scheduled and listed sites. It was a genuine mistake, and the manager in question has reminded all officers in question to check carefully that they refer to the appropriate form of designation throughout any correspondence.
While English Heritage, like all organisations, strives to avoid such mistakes, unfortunately they do occasionally occur. We remain committed to protecting and managing sites where appropriate through scheduling, and are determined to do more work in this regard, both expanding and improving the scheduled element of the designation base. There is no deep seated problem with the archaeological element of our role as you appear to fear.”
My reply to English Heritage stated:
“Thanks for looking into this. I think the evidence and my own experience indicates that there is more of a problem than you currently wish to admit to.
I note your commitment to expanding and improving the archaeological designation base and this I obviously welcome. However 10 years have now passed since these promises were first aired by the newly formed Designation Department and still there is no evidence to demonstrate any progress – instead only promises of better days ahead and increasing numbers of mistakes.”
Looking at a couple of aspects of the English Heritage response in a little bit more detail it is perhaps worth emphasising that this is the second occasion in this single case that this very same mistake has been made. So perhaps these mistakes are not as occasional as EH would like us to believe. A detail perhaps confirmed by the inordinate number of mistakes in recent scheduling documentation. Just how many mistakes will be notched up before the management at EH have to admit that there is a fundamental problem and seek to address it?
I love the idea of letter templates being blended. Surely the purpose of template letters is that there is one for every occasion. Perhaps the scheduling one is so rarely used that they had forgotten it existed!
[For other articles in the series put Scheduling in the search box]