HEF Structure

HEF Assembly

The main component is the HEF assembly, comprised of one delegate for each member organisation. The HEF is led by an independent Chair. The current Chair of the Historic Environment Forum is Dr Adrian Olivier.

The assembly enables information sharing and collaboration, agrees priorities for its activities and provides leadership and accountability for their delivery, and acts as the Heritage Council reference group. It also contributes to the series Heritage Counts, produced by Historic England, and takes responsibility for coordinating the annual Historic Environment Overview.

In 2020, the HEF agreed a Strategic Framework for Collaborative Action.  This Framework used to broadly inform and support the direction of HEF’s interests, complimenting topical news and policy issues for the sector.

The assembly meets monthly on an informal basis, and formal meetings take place quarterly to carryout to support strategic discussion.

Steering Group 

A Steering Group, composed of six elected delegates, coordinates the direction of HEF’s project activities – including Task Group objectives. The Steering Group oversees the delivery of the HEF’s Strategic Framework and sets the agenda of Formal HEF meetings.

Current Steering Group Members are:

  • Ben Cowell, Director General – Historic Houses
  • Lizzie Glithero-West, Chief Executive – The Heritage Alliance
  • Matthew McKeague, Chief Executive – The Architectural Heritage Fund
  • Neil Redfern, Executive Director – Council for British Archaeology
  • Elaine Willett, Historic Environment Principal Advisor –  Natural England
  • Ingrid Samuel, Historic Environment Director – National Trust.

Steering Group Meetings are Chaired by Dr Adrian Olivier, the Independent Chair of the Historic Environment Forum. Historic England is invited to HEF Steering Group meetings as a standing observer.

Task Groups

Outside of meetings of the main assembly, HEF is active in the sector through its dedicated Task Groups. Task Groups are the HEF’s main mechanism for delivering sector support and specific outputs. Task Groups are time-limited, delivery-focussed, and aim to support outcomes of the HEF’s Strategic Framework.  The work of the Task Groups is open to the contribution of other organisations beyond HEF membership.

Each Task Group is supported by a dedicated Task Group Manager.

Our live Task Groups currently are:

The past activities of the Task Groups can be found in the


Topic Groups

HEF Topic Groups are voluntary sector working groups whose scope aligns with HEF priorities can receive endorsement from the Forum. Topic Groups are able to update HEF during meetings and seek input or direction.

Explore our current Topic Groups.

Terms of Reference

The structure of HEF, with clear remit, accountability and procedures of each component, is set out in the Terms of Reference.