Support for Heritage Professionals
We, together with our partners, make tools and resources available to heritage professionals who are responsible for the management and maintenance of Historic Environment Records (HERs). This page provides an overview and links to these resources.
The Historic Environment Record Forum (HER Forum) is open to anyone with an interest in HERs. There are over 380 members including HER staff, conservation officers, consultants, students and a wide range of heritage professionals.
The group's purpose is to promote best practice amongst HERs. The chair is elected by the membership at one of the regular national meetings and sits on the Association for Local Government Archaeological Officers (ALGAO) (UK) HER Committee.
Our Heritage Information Partnerships team facilitates the working of the group and arranges:
- Two national meetings per year, usually with presentations on current issues and projects
- An email discussion list
To get a taste of the HER Forum email list you can browse the public archives.
Guidance for Historic Environment Record (HER) Services
HER Audit Programme
We help HERs to carry out self-audits that will provide you and your parent authority and Historic England with an accurate picture of the service and the data you hold. The process will enable you to identify forward actions that will develop and enhance your service.
Working to a HER Audit Specification, together we will produce a report covering nationally-agreed requirements for HERs including the following:
- Content and Coverage
- Data Standards and Security
- Access and Engagement
- Infrastructure (Service Delivery)
We will then work with you to identify actions that will help develop and enhance your service, and to plan your future progress.
One audit cycle usually covers a five year period after which we will invite you again for the next audit.
If you are interested in joining the HER Audit Programme, or have any other queries about the work of the programme, please contact us.
Audit summaries have been recently introduced into the HER audit programme. We will be publishing more summaries to cover all HERs in the audit programme.
Please click on the HER area you are interested in to read the summary of their audit.
Guide for HER host authorities
The Guide to Historic Environment Records (HERs) in England sets out how an HER host authority needs to ensure that an HER record is kept up-to-date with accurate information in order to meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for better support and an improved information base for the planning system.
National Security Copy
We want to safeguard the historic environment records for England for future generations as a dispersed National Security Copy (NSC). It is made up of records held by Historic England and by locally held Historic Environment Records (HERs).
Since Historic England and local HERs hold the NSC as a dispersed copy, each data owner must be responsible for ensuring the security of their own data. We therefore ask all organizations that participate in the Heritage Information Access Strategy (HIAS) programme to uphold agreed standards for maintaining the records that you hold for the NSC.
The aim of the NSC standards is to establish trust in the long-term preservation and access of historic environment records created and held by all partners. In the event that these records become at risk, a code of practice will be activated to safeguard the NSC.
The Code of Practice (CoP) covers two types of security copying to safeguard data maintained as the National Security Copy (NSC):
1. Consistent routine backups where security copies are made of a heritage dataset by an organisation (covered by the Data Management Statement, CoP Part 1)
2. Exceptional decisions to deposit a security copy with another heritage organisation for safeguarding (covered by the Access Protocol, CoP Part 2)
HER outcomes framework
We have also commissioned a project to develop a method for HERs to measure progress against achieving their goals and those of their parent authority. You can see the report on this draft HER Outcomes Related Framework, which requires further work at this stage.
HER case studies
We have five case studies on HER use of social media, that cover best practice in this field. You can find out more about the case studies by clicking on the links to PDF documents below.
- Distinctly Black Country
- Archiving Social Media: Mesolithic Online Resources
- Social Media as a tool for engaging communities with recording heritage
- A collaborative approach to developing a social media strategy (Bristol)
- Developing a historic environment social media presence for Suffolk. You can also see a later update from Suffolk on how this social media presence continued to develop after the initial project
Working guidelines for HERs
Informing the Future of the Past: Guidelines for Historic Environment Records covers everything from how to create records to the legislative framework within which HERs operate. You can find these working guidelines for managing, running, using or supporting HERs as an online wiki.
Standards and terminology
Heritage Data Standards and Terminology tools are available for recording historic environment information accurately and consistently which, when applied rigorously, will improve data retrieval and access.
HER policy templates
We have created a library of templates for HER policy to help HERs when writing their own local documents:
If you would like any of these documents in an alternative accessible format please contact us.
HER21: Historic Environment Records for the 21st century
As part of its on-going strategy to support the development of HERs, we commissioned a programme of projects known as HER21 or ‘Historic Environment Records for the 21st century’. In addition to strategic research, 12 projects undertook to expand the content and coverage of HERs and provided methodologies accessible to other HERs. The results of the programme inform our forward looking national strategy for HERs.