Civic Voice: Our Plans for the future: Message from the outgoing Chair

The last six years have seen a remarkable set of achievements for such a small organisation beginning from a standing start.

The Board has recognised that with added maturity comes a need to reflect on how the future should be managed, what should be the new directions and what now should be the new strategic objectives. It was therefore with great pleasure that the Board learned by the end of the year that Historic England was prepared to fund an external firm of consultants to conduct a strategic review of Civic Voice with the twin objectives of assessing progress and making recommendations for the future.

At the time of writing, well beyond the end of the year, the Board has now had an opportunity to consider the consultants report and recommendations. It is gratifying that the achievements of the last six years have been acknowledged and the Board is currently working on the most effective ways of implementing the many very useful and appropriate recommendations.

The Civic Voice consultant's report is available for Civic Voice members from here (summary) or (here full version).

Meanwhile, the Board continues to create and plan the implementation of significant new programmes to support the development of the movement. As next year is the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civic Amenities Act 1967, it has decided that, in conjunction with Historic England a special focus will be placed on projects related to Conservation areas. This theme will run through a number of different programmes, including Civic Day on 17 June 2017 and the next round of the Design awards programme.

In conclusion, I must thank all those people and organisations who have supported the work of Civic Voice during the past year. First and foremost, I thank John Walker without whose input I would not and could not have carried out my own role. John has been a tireless contributor to our work notably in managing our Design Awards and Collaborative Planning programmes and in instigating and leading with Jan Pahl the Historic Cathedral Cities Alliance. I thank also Tony Fooks who very ably assumed the role of Chair of the Regional Forum, Martin Meredith who has been an excellent Treasurer since our formation and the other members of the Board of Trustees who have given so willingly of their time and energies to all aspects of our work. As ever, Griff Rhys Jones has played an enthusiastic and invaluable role as our President and I thank him most warmly for his advice and encouragement and the vitality that he injects into the many occasions when he addresses meetings throughout the movement.

Finally, none of this would have happened without the energetic and unfailing support of all the staff, led most conscientiously by our Executive Director, Ian Harvey, supported by Gill Roxborough, Anna Wilson, Sarah James, Ben Murray and, by no means least, Amber Palmer our amazing apprentice.

Freddie Gick