Colour image showing map background with blocks of grey showing the extent of geophysical survey and various coloured lines
Combination of geophysical survey and air photo interpretation for Marden Henge © Historic England
Combination of geophysical survey and air photo interpretation for Marden Henge © Historic England

Strategic Background to Heritage Information Access Simplified

Find out the rationale for the Heritage Information Access Simplified (HIAS) strategy, its principles, partners and what it will achieve.

Why is there a strategy to simplify access to heritage information?

 In the 2016 Culture White Paper the government proposed the following action:

We will ask Historic England to work with local authorities to enhance and rationalise national and local heritage records over the next ten years, so that communities and developers have easy access to historic environment records.

The Culture White Paper 2016 UK Government

In response to this and in partnership with key heritage stakeholders, Historic England have developed a series of projects that aim to simplify access to heritage information, under the umbrella of the Heritage Information Access Strategy (HIAS).

HIAS is a business and culture change programme for those involved in the production and handling of heritage information.

A fully integrated approach

A shared national heritage record will define clearer roles for data creators, local authority Historic Environment Records (HERs) and Historic England and formalise agreements that will share the joint responsibility and benefits of a fully integrated approach.

Eight key principles for the strategy

We set out eight basic principles at the start to gather partners together with a set of shared goals and common aims.

  • Principle 1: Local Authority HERs should be the first point of call for and primary trusted source of investigative research data and knowledge
  • Principle 2: Historic England should be the first point of call for and primary trusted source of national datasets, such as the National Heritage List for England and national marine heritage dataset
  • Principle 3: Historic England, together with its partners, should continue to champion the development, maintenance and implementation of standards for the creation, management, sharing, re-use and storage of digital historic environment data
  • Principle 4: Investigative research data or knowledge should be readily uploaded, validated and accessed online
  • Principle 5: A national overview should continue to be delivered online through the Heritage Gateway.
  • Principle 6: Such data or knowledge should not be at risk of loss, fragmentation, inundation (in data), or system obsolescence
  • Principle 7: Historic England should, on behalf of the nation, ensure that a security copy of all such data exists in accordance with Principles 3 and 6.
  • Principle 8: Digital data should be supported by material archives in safe repositories accessible to the public.

Which organisations are partners in HIAS?

The HIAS programme is a coordinated series of projects and work packages which will only succeed fully with collaboration and help from key stakeholders from the sector. The programme team within Historic England is therefore supported by an advisory panel of the following key external partners and stakeholders.

We are also working with:

  • Representatives from the commercial built environment sub-sector
  • Representatives from the academic research community

Senior Responsible Officer for HIAS

Barney Sloane, National Specialist Services Director

Marion Page

HIAS Communication and Engagement Manager

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