Historic Environment Scotland

Discover how public consultation can help drive policy change.


Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is the lead public body established to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. Part of its role is to list buildings and designate other types of historic sites and places. HES also regulates changes to some of these structures and is responsible for more than 300 properties of national importance.


The challenge

What’s Your Heritage? was a four-month public consultation project that, for the first time, involved the people of Scotland in a dialogue about the buildings and places that matter to them. The two key outputs were a consultation report and online survey. These are informing changes to the HES Policy Statement.

What did
John Clancy say?


How we used creativity to design the right response

What’s Your Heritage? captured the imaginations and hearts of people across the country, generating an unprecedented volume of rich and diverse views.

We worked closely with the knowledgeable HES team and enjoyed making full use of an extensive archive to research lesser known examples of built heritage. We also considered 'intangible heritage', experiential activities like football matches, concerts, whist drives and dances - that give special meaning to a building or place. This research helped to broaden the definition of the historic environment and framed the conversation with people across Scotland.

We developed a workshop approach testing the key areas of the HES Policy Statement, shaped a widely-distributed online survey, created viral digital content and supported the communications team. Perhaps most importantly, we collated and reviewed all of the feedback generated by the consultation, presenting it in the form of a report and actionable next steps.

For many people it was the first time they ever had the opportunity to reflect on what the historic environment means to them. As a result, the campaign raised awareness that HES is a new organisation doing things differently.


Delivering results

  • 1,952 online survey responses from all 32 local authorities
  • 200 people attended 12 workshops in communities across Scotland
  • 250,000+ people saw content on Facebook, generating 760+ comments

“Spreng Thomson’s wide range of contacts helped us speak with a diverse range of audiences that we might not otherwise have reached, creating a buzz about the project. They were enthusiastic, great at engaging with people and were excellent facilitators at our workshop events.”

Elizabeth McCrone, Head of Designations for Historic Environment Scotland

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