Originally known as the Historic Environment Review Executive Committee (HEREC), the Historic Environment Forum (HEF) was established and initially coordinated by English Heritage following the preparation of The Power of Place (2000), a statement of the value of the historic environment in England.
Since then, HEF worked to improve the collaboration of the sector and high-level intelligence sharing to deliver beneficial change. HEF carries out a range of activities to encourage and support research, conservation, presentation, enjoyment and use of the historic environment in England.
Today, HEF involves 21 members which represent the different aspects of the sector in England. The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports is invited as an observer to HEF meetings.
The work of the HEF is facilitated by a small, independent team which is funded by Historic England and hosted by The Heritage Alliance on behalf of the wider Forum membership.
The Historic Environment Forum is a key element of a strategically connected historic environment sector capable of delivering public value through heritage.
Our Strategic Framework for Collaborative Action 2020-25 sets out the priorities for the work of the Forum until 2025. The main mechanisms to achieve the beneficial outcomes identified in the Strategic Framework are the HEF Task Groups and ‘Topic’ Groups.
From 2014-2020 HEF provided the basis for effective sector collaboration through the programme Heritage 2020, which worked on five strategic areas: discovery, identification and understanding; constructive conservation and sustainable management; public engagement; capacity building; and ‘helping things to happen’.
Since 2020, the HEF has delivered a number of products and projects for the sector through its Task Group work, with focusses including Covid Recovery, Sector Resilience, and work connected to the historic environment’s relationship to sustainability and climate change.