The online resource for the historic environment

4.12 Identification and assessment of income sources

To assist your understanding of this Unit see BS 7913: 2013:
Section 5: "Using significance as a framework for managing the historic environment".
Section 6: "Significance as part of operational care and other interventions".
Section 8: "Heritage project management".

“Successful asset management requires a long term view and leadership.”
Hot Property, Audit Commission 2000.

Income is those funds that assist an asset to self finance or part fund its running costs, as opposed to grants or funding assistance which may limit or focus expenditure to achieve specific or targeted aims.

Income might be both beneficial and threatening. The benefits will obviously relate to moneys available to support running costs and maintenance expenditure. The downside might relate to increased wear and tear resulting from increased user throughput.

There is a need, therefore, when evaluating income sources to confirm whether or not significance and authenticity may be adversely affects by the side effects of pressures resulting from additional use.

Some additional sources of income might relate to the following:

  • Entrance charges
  • Guidebooks
  • Catering
  • Retail income
  • Ancillary ventures and service
  • Conference and other functions

"… a major barrier to the better use of assets remains the lack, or poor accessibility of information on which to base decisions.”
Audit Commission (2000) Hot Property

See also/particularly BS 7913: 2013 paras, 5.6.7 "Management strategy" and 5.7 "The process of planning major change affecting historic buildings".

An asset management plan will assist in providing an armature on which to hang management and conservation planning. This will involve the identification and use of sources of finance that will in part, be derived from income generation. These sources of income from use must pay due regard to the protection of significance.

The planning for and allocation of funds generated by income - a business plan - will set out the financial aspects of your project, how its is proposed to generate income, identify funds and plan for their expenditure on maintenance and repairs, on projects or, specific items associated with on-going management of an asset. You should see your business plan as a living document that will benefit from regular updating. New information, new business and new ideas may influence how you proceed with the plan and how you maintain protection of the asset. The business plan should be used in conjunction with and as a management support document for the conservation plan/strategy. See also unit 5.

Such forward planning is essential to ensure that full and adequate provision is made for the day to day and year in year out running of an asset. Grants may be available and funds identified but it is the generation of income that provides the bread and butter funding of an asset.

As an asset manager of a 16th century timber frame former Guild Hall, presently used as a local costume museum, how would you plan for increasing income to help fund plans for timber treatment of a newly identified infestation of dry rot.

You must consider the effects of loss of income, due to the need to close the building during treatment work, this being a requirement under COSHH and health and safety legislation. You may wish to consider planning for other works of repair and maintenance that might be safely carried out during the close down period. Identification of temporary accommodation to house and display the collection may be necessary.

It might be all well and good to increase the number of attractions and facilitate say seminar/conference usage of a site but it must be considered in the light of how such additional use might affect the asset and its future. Neither the asset nor its uses can be considered in isolation. The process is a symbiosis of what the asset offers in terms of its importance, value and significance to the wider society and how it is to be used to ensure longevity and good health.

See Heritage Counts for facts and figures on visitor numbers and average revenue trends etc in respect of visitors to and income from heritage assets.