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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.

A magnifying glass looking at an historic map
The innovative and engaging ‘Know Your Place' enables wider access to historic archives and encourages greater understanding and appreciation of the heritage of an area © Bristol City Council

HER Forum

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.

Contact us to join the group.

View on Botallack mine buildings on cliff overlooking the sea, Cornwall.
Botallack mine, Cornwall. © Historic England (k021789).

Guidance for Historic Environment Record (HER) Services

HER Audit Programme

We help HERs to carry out self-audits that identify actions to develop and enhance their service.

Working to a specification that we provide, you will produce a report covering every aspect of the working HER including the following:

  • Accessibility
  • Content
  • Data standards
  • Organisational framework

We will then work with you to identify actions that will help develop and enhance your service, and to plan your future progress.

Three years after completing a full HER audit, we will invite you to revisit your audit and measure progress against your action plan and identify any additional areas where improvements can be made.

If you are interested in joining the HER Audit programme, or have any queries about the work of the programme, please contact us.

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.

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:

  • Recording manual (forthcoming)
  • Manual to support a developed GIS system (forthcoming)
  • System Security Policy (forthcoming)

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.

Individual projects:

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Heritage Information Partnerships Team

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