Scottish Government
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

Securing Scotland’s heritage

An options appraisal on how best to secure the functions of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) was published yesterday.

Following the options appraisal, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop is seeking a detailed business case for a merger between RCAHMS and Historic Scotland.

Ms Hyslop said:

“The functions of RCAHMS - to survey and analyse the built environment, as well as conserve their established collections - are vital in securing Scotland’s built heritage for future generations.

“From the evidence presented in the options appraisal I believe that a merger between RCAHMS and Historic Scotland could offer the best route to securing RCAHMS’ important contribution to Scotland’s culture. 

“I have asked that a detailed business case is developed to explore the potential synergies between RCAHMS and Historic Scotland, and protects the staff and expertise of the two organisations.”

Diana Murray, Secretary of RCAHMS said:

“We welcome the publication of the report on the options appraisal and will make every effort to work with the Scottish Government and Historic Scotland on the development of a viable future for the role and functions of the RCAHMS within a new organisation.”

Related information:

The options appraisal is available at

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) was first established by Royal Warrant in 1908 to ‘make an inventory of the ancient and historical monuments and constructions connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilisation and conditions of life of the people of Scotland from the earliest times to the year 1707… and to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation.’ Its remit has evolved substantially over the last 100 years.

Currently the organisation:

  • Identifies, surveys and analyses the historic and built environment of Scotland.
  • Preserves, cares for and adds to the information and items in its collections.
  • Promotes understanding, education and enjoyment through interpretation of the information it collects and the items it looks after.

RCAHMS has a duty defined in statute to record listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas for which permission to demolish or part-demolish has been granted under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.  RCAHMS also provides information to the Ordnance Survey for updating ‘antiquities’ depicted on its map series. 

Universal Credit...meeting the verification challenge and cutting costs...find out more