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Subject: ICON Edinburgh office closure

ICON Edinburgh office closure

From: Alison Richmond <arichmond<-at->
Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Christa Gerdwilker, in her letter, (Conservation DistList Instance:
25:33 Sunday, January 15, 2012) has lamented the closure of Icon's
Edinburgh Office with the loss of two posts, scheduled for the end
of March 2012. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the
reasons for the closure and to explain the changes to the staffing
at Icon.

Icon's Edinburgh office has been staffed since 2006 by Icon's
Work-based Training Manager, Carol Brown, and the Work-based
Training Officer, first Gillian Drybrough, and more recently,
Georgina Ripley. Until 2010, these posts were entirely externally
funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Esmee Fairbairn
Foundation. Both posts have had a UK-wide remit for management and
administration of our work-based training. Following the last
extension of funding from HLF in 2009, the Training Bursary Scheme,
and therefore the funding for these posts, come to an end in March
2012.

As part of strategic planning for the sustainability of Icon's
work-based training, in consultation with the staff and Board of
Trustees, I have restructured the staffing of Icon so that we can
continue to deliver on our commitments without the current level of
external funding. Three old posts were in fact replaced and a new
post created from a new funding stream for strategic work in
education and training. However, it is clear that, at this time,
without additional funding, Icon is not able to sustain a regional
office anywhere in the UK. The establishment of an office in
Scotland is not ruled out and may be considered an appropriate step
at a future date.

On convergence of the five organisations, it was stated in the
prospectus (the "Blue Book") that Icon would have five full-time
equivalent staff, including a part-time officer for Scotland. 10% of
the Work-based Training Officer's time was originally allocated to
Scotland Group, but this had diminished and, since 2007, the
Edinburgh Office has only had a marginal function as administration
support for Scotland Group. However, Carol and her team have
provided support of all kinds to members and groups around the
British Isles.

Christa asks whether the membership fees at Icon are "too high a
price to pay for accreditation (the main reason for joining Icon),
and if so what can be done about it?".

I would pose the question differently: What is the value of Icon
membership? The benefits are both tangible, for example Icon News
and our Journal, but also intangible and therefore harder to put a
price on. Icon members may not be always be aware of what staff and
trustees, and indeed, other members are doing: to name a few,
currently Icon is leading the delivery of the UK-wide National
Conservation Education and Skills Strategy and a parallel funding
strategy; planning our second Icon conference, this time to be held
in Glasgow in Spring 2013 (Far from discounting the importance of
Scotland in Icon, this is a partnership endeavour with the
University of Glasgow.); completing work on our fully rebuilt
Conservation Register; carrying out a review of our disciplinary
process to ensure its robustness; and updating our recommended
salary minima and guidelines. All of these initiatives reflect our
UK-wide remit. With regard to accreditation, we are very proud of
the fact that numbers of accredited members continue to grow
steadily. Last year, fifty new ACRs brought the total to 830.

To conclude, I would like to acknowledge that while the success of
Icon's Training Bursary Scheme, our externally funded placements,
and the Conservation Technician Qualification is due to the
initiative, dedication and hard work of the interns, supervisors,
and regional co-ordinators, and the Icon team, all with the support
of our funders--special recognition must go to Carol, Gillian and
Georgina, for their excellent management and co-ordination of these
projects across the whole of the UK.

Alison Richmond
Chief Executive, Icon


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 25:35
                Distributed: Saturday, January 28, 2012
                       Message Id: cdl-25-35-002
                                  ***
Received on Tuesday, 24 January, 2012

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