I am today publishing the tailored review of the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund, which launched on 23 February 2017.
The review sought to provide assurance of the continuing need for the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), including its activities operating as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and to identify opportunities to strengthen its effectiveness, efficiency and governance. The review concluded that the organisation’s functions of distributing National Lottery funding and providing a fund of last resort for heritage at risk of loss to the nation remained vital, and should continue to be delivered in the current model of a Non-Departmental Public Body.
The review found that HLF’s role in distributing funding for heritage was seen as crucial to the conservation of heritage assets, to engaging communities across the UK with their heritage, and to providing support for heritage organisations to survive and thrive. Whilst HLF has a good reputation in the sector, the review found scope for it to become a more strategic organisation by clarifying its priorities; strengthening its partnerships with other heritage organisations and National Lottery distributors; using its data more effectively; and focusing on supporting the sustainability of the heritage sector and heritage assets, including by supporting skills capability in key areas such as digital engagement.
The review also recommended that HLF focus its efforts to promote inclusion and diversity by developing a strategy for engaging underrepresented groups and by streamlining its grant application processes. Whilst HLF is a relatively lean organisation, the review supported its efforts to become more efficient, including by reducing its estate, developing an internal digital strategy, and ensuring its consultant network - the Register of Support Services - is cost-effective. Additionally, there are recommendations for the governments of the UK to clarify priorities for the heritage sector, to update the Policy Directions given to HLF, and to work with HLF to promote the intrinsic, economic and social value of heritage.
The review was carried out by DCMS with input from the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive given the UK-wide nature of NHMF/HLF. The review was carried out with the full participation of NHMF/HLF, and an independent Challenge Panel was appointed to assure its robustness and impartiality. The review gathered evidence from a range of stakeholders from across government, from the cultural and natural heritage sectors and others with an interest in heritage, and through a public consultation. I would like to thank all those who contributed evidence to the review.
The report is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/tailored-review-of-the-heritage-lottery-fund-and-national-heritage-memorial-fund