A Guide to Historic Environment Records (HERs) in England

Historic Environment Records (HERs) provide detailed information about the historic environment of a given area. The historic environment records in England have been created as a result of decades of research and investigation. They are maintained and updated for public benefit and used in accordance with national and international standards.

This guidance sets out the specification for Historic Environment Records (HERs) and replaces the Benchmarks for Good Practice (ALGAO 2002). It defines the scope of the content and coverage of an HER, its temporal and geographical limits, and how the public can access records. It also includes information about service delivery, the requirements for staffing, and HER infrastructure. In short, it sets out how an HER host authority needs to ensure that the record is kept up-to-date with accurate information in order to meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), resulting in better support and an improved information base for the planning system.

The specification for HERs set out in this guidance forms the backbone to the HER Audit Programme managed by Historic England. The guidance supports HER host authorities in ensuring that they are managing their records in line with best practice and accepted standards, thereby raising quality and consistency across the network of English HERs. Participation in the HER Audit Programme helps each HER achieve this.

Whilst this guidance has been prepared specifically for bodies that host, manage, maintain and make accessible the HER, it will be of relevance to a range of other public, voluntary and private sector bodies, and individuals with an interest in the historic environment of England.


  • Introduction
  • Historic Environment Records (HERs)
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Content and coverage
  • Data standards and security
  • Public access and engagement
  • Service delivery
  • Further reading
  • Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 22
  • Product Code: HEAG266


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]