Frequently asked questions

The following list will be enhanced as the project progresses.


Prerequisites for participation

Can HERs who took part in testing for the NRHE to HERs prototype website submit an application?  
Answer. Yes. We’d strongly encourage any of the HERs who took part in the pilot project to submit an application, providing that they meet the prerequisites for participation.
What constitutes ‘regular’ in terms of updates to the Heritage Gateway?
Answer. We don’t want to be prescriptive in terms of frequency of updates to the Heritage Gateway, acknowledging that this has resource implication for individual HERs, but we do anticipate a programme of updates to be maintained e.g. annually. As part of the NRHE to HER project we will be requesting HERs to do an upload to the Heritage Gateway at the end of the data reconciliation, which can be a costed or in kind item in the project budget. 
What if my HER is unable to maintain its Heritage Gateway presence within the next 6 years (e.g. budget cuts)?
Answer. This is certainly a scenario we would wish to avoid where at all possible, but at the same time acknowledge the pressures that local authorities are under. Alongside the NRHE to HER data transfer we are also redeveloping the Heritage Gateway, with one of the principle aims being to make participation in the Heritage Gateway more sustainable for data providers.
What happens if my HER’s action plan ceases to be live during the course of the transfer project?
Answer. We expect an HER to be in the audit programme throughout the period of the project. However we appreciate that some flexibility may be required and where live action plans are about to expire before the end of a project, we would look to fast-track certain elements of the audit (e.g. MIDAS compliance and the National Security Copy) enabling the remainder of the audit to be picked up later in the schedule when resources become free.
Does the requirement to comply with the Open Government Licence (OGL) limit an HER’s ability to charge for the data via HER searches?
Answer. No, this requirement shouldn’t make any difference to what HER services are chargeable.   While an HER cannot charge for information that has been supplied by Historic England under the OGL, nor can it charge for the supply of HER data. An HER can charge for services relating to the supply of data, which may include the information supplied by Historic England under OGL.
What happens to the NRHE data if an HER is not able to comply with the prerequisites and chooses not to take part?
Answer. Historic England is committed to working with HERs to allow them to participate in the project, and HERs should contact the Heritage Information Partnerships team to discuss the prerequisites.  Support is available from Historic England for HERs wishing to join the audit programme and/or the Heritage Gateway. Historic England will continue to make the NRHE data that has not been accessioned available online until some future point when it is accessioned by the HER. However the NRHE will not be actively updated or maintained.
If an HER is not able to accession all the records, is it acceptable to prioritise those for which we either don’t currently have a record, or where there is a significant amount more information in the NRHE?
Answer. No, the purpose of the project and basis on which funding has been secured is the full accessioning of the NRHE record. 
What is the National Security Copy best practice guidance, and where can I find this?

Answer. The Code of Practice covers two types of security copying to safeguard data maintained as the National Security Copy (NSC):

  • Consistent routine backups where security copies are made of a heritage dataset by an organisation (covered by the Data Management Statement, CoP Part1).
  • Exceptional decisions to deposit a security copy with another heritage organisation for safeguarding (covered by the Access Protocol, CoP Part 2).

The NSC Code of Practice is available to download here.

Application process

How and when can I apply?
Answer. An open call for proposals can be downloaded from the Historic England website, which details the prerequisites and application process.
Is match funding required to take part in the NRHE to HER data transfer project, and if so, at what level? 
Answer. Yes, the project will be seeking match funding from local authorities, although this can be in kind.  In order to ensure there is funding available for all 84 HERs to participate within the 6 year programme, we are aiming at levels of around 50% match funding, but appreciate that some authorities will have more flexibility than others.  Future NRHE to HER calls will look to offer different delivery models where direct support for HERs to take part (as opposed to funding) may be required.   

Project in progress

Am I expected to do time recording during the project? 
Answer. In the pilot project HERs were asked to do time recording  alongside the accessioning.  Time recording functionality is still available on the NRHE to HERs website, but it is at an individual HER's discretion if they wish to use this.  
What happens if the data reconciliation for my HER is not completed within 6 years?
Answer. A condition of the grant funding would be that each project is completed within a specified time period, and certainly less than 6 years. The grant is provided to allow the HER to buy in additional capacity where needed. The project duration should be proportionate to the task in hand, and we anticipate that most projects should be able to be completed within 24 months and less for small HERs.
What happens if I am not able to complete my project during the allotted time? 
Answer. Once your project is commissioned you'll be assigned a Historic England Project Assurance Officer (PAO) who will be your first point of contact for reporting progress and addressing any queries relating to project milestones and timescales.  If you encounter any delays to your project due to unanticipated factors e.g. staff sickness, you should contact your PAO at the earliest convenience who will be able to advise further. 
What is the impact on COVID-19 on the NRHE to HER data transfer project?  
Answer. Since the restrictions placed by the COVID-19 outbreak we have been in touch with all participating round 1 and 2 HERs to assess the impact on their projects, which after a period of adjustment seem relatively unaffected.  The HE Archive is currently closed, and any requests for archive material should be recorded locally until normal services resume.    Any participating HERs who encounter problems arising from the COVID-19 lockdown should contact their PAO at the first instance, who will be able to advise on any adjustments that can be made in light of the current situation. 
We believe that the majority of HERs should be able to participate in the NRHE to HERs project under lockdown, and applications for new projects are welcomed. 

Accessioning queries

When I try to open a related Event record from a monument record I get a message saying 'No record found'. Why is this?
Answer. Many, if not all, of these dead links related to Field Observation (FOB) events, for example Event UID 204888 "Field observation on ST77SE 5".  These are essentially skeleton records that contain no data other than that already present in their associated Monument record, and comprise only the NMR number and date of observation.  As these records add no data or context for the Monument Record it was not considered reasonable or a priority to expect HERs to accession these records in their own systems.  In these instances the associated Event UID can be discarded.  Should a HER wish to create such Event records, all the information required to do so can be obtained from the Monument record. 
The Shapefile attributes contain several ID numbers - FID, RecordID and HE_UID. Which should I record?
Answer. Only record the HE_UID, which is the same as the HOB_UID or Monument Number on NRHE/Pastscape. Note: FID is a Shapefile-generated ID and should be ignored; the RecordID is an internal project-specific ID which should also be ignored.
Will HERs have access to the source data held by Historic England?
Answer. Not as a matter of course, but there will be a help desk facility operated by Historic England that can help clarify any source references in the NRHE export that are unclear.  Any queries relating to items in the Historic England Archive can be directed to Archive Services.
The NRHE dataset for my HER area contains maritime records.  Do I need to accession them?
Answer. The data transfer and reconciliation relates to all terrestrial (i.e. above Mean Low Water) records. Due to the presence of features such as docks, harbours and inland waterways in many HER areas, a number of maritime records will be present on the NRHE-HER website.  HERs should incorporate these into their datasets where they fall above Mean Low Water but should mark any records that fall below Mean Low Water and not being accessioned as “Not in my area”. Historic England retains responsibility for all records below Mean High Water as part of the National Marine Heritage Record.
One of the NRHE records for my HER area contains personal details in the description.  Should I accession these?
Answer. Yes. These tend to be older records and represent instances where site information was supplied by a local resident, owner, church warden, estate manager etc. Having been checked for GDPR compliance, the presence of such details in these cases has been deemed to be acceptable. This exemption is applied to information classed as research and archive: the information was given in the knowledge that it may be published. It has been in the public domain, on archive cards and latterly online, for a significant period of time and it is likely many of these individuals are now deceased. Such details, including the personal names of Ordnance Survey recorders, can therefore be transferred to the HER. 
What if information in the HER is more up to date about a site than the NRHE record, do we still need to update our record?
Answer: We are happy to treat such cases on an individual basis. If the NRHE record contains an out of date interpretation it is good practice to reflect former interpretations in the HER record saying ‘Formally thought to be…’. In some cases we have agreed where a NRHE record is completely erroneous it can be ignored.
We have sensitive sites on the HER we don’t publish, if they are on the NRHE dataset and we incorporate that information will have to publish the site?
If the site is on the NRHE it will have been published by HE already. In such cases review if it should still be considered sensitive, if so add in the NRHE data and publish on the Heritage Gateway with a NGR reduced to 4 figures.