How We Use Information

We will process your personal information in accordance with our obligations under applicable data protection laws and regulations, for the following reasons and in order to:

  • Perform tasks carried out in the public interest or in exercise of the official authority vested in us under the National Heritage Act 1983 (for example, providing advice on listing applications, providing pre-application advice, assessing applications for planning permission or listed building consent)
  • Comply with applicable laws and regulations, and requests from statutory agencies
  • Provide you with the services, products or information you have asked for - such as processing applications or responding to requests for information
  • Record any contact we have with you for internal administrative purposes.
  • Process sales transactions, donations or other payments and verify financial transactions (including processing Gift Aid)
  • Provide you with information about; our work in championing, protecting and educating people about the historic environment; campaigns, events and fundraising appeals; activities and how you can take part; opportunities to volunteer and work for us; and the services we provide or provide access to
  • Manage your communication preferences with us generally (if you ask not to receive marketing materials, we will keep a record of this)
  • Perform research such as user satisfaction surveys
  • Notify you about changes to our services
  • Ensure that content from our website is presented in the most effective manner for you and for your computer/mobile device
  • In the event of a dispute, we may process your personal information to establish, exercise or defend Historic England’s legal position


In order to better understand your interests and preferences, we may use profiling and screening techniques to ensure the communications we have with you are relevant and timely, and to provide an improved experience for our audiences.

Historic England asks customers to 'opt-in' for marketing communications. We use Legitimate Interests as our legal basis for processing personal data in some limited circumstances for fundraising. We always conduct a balancing test to ensure the rights of our supporters are maintained. You have the right to ask Historic England to stop using your personal data for marketing purposes. Please contact [email protected] for further information.


We use donations and support from others in order to champion and protect England's historic environment. If you make a financial donation, we will use the personal information you provide to record the nature and amount of your gift, claim gift aid where you have told us you are eligible, and to thank you for your gift.

If you inform us that you are planning to leave us a gift in your will, we will use the information you share with us to keep a record of this, including the purpose of your gift, if you let us know this. We will also use your personal information to keep in touch with you and send you updates on our work as well as invite you to exclusive events.

If we have a conversation or interaction with you (or with someone who contacts us in relation to your will; for example, your solicitor), we will note these interactions throughout your relationship with us, as this helps to ensure your gift is directed in accordance with your wishes.

Charity Commission rules require us to be assured of the provenance of funds and any conditions attached to them. We follow a due diligence process which involves researching the financial soundness, credibility, reputation and ethical principles of donors who have made, or are likely to make, a significant donation to the Historic England Foundation. As part of this process we will carry out research using publicly available information and professional resources. If this applies to you, we will remind you about the process when you make your donation.

From time to time we will contact supporters with fundraising material and communications. If you would prefer not to receive such communications, you can let us know by emailing [email protected] with details of the communications you no longer wish to receive or by following the unsubscribe instructions in our emails.

If you fundraise on our behalf or make a donation to someone who is fundraising for us via a third-party fundraising platform, such as Just Giving or GoFundMe, the platform may share your personal information us. They will do this pursuant to their own policies and you should check their privacy policy when you provide your information to them.

Social media

Historic England operates on a number of social media platforms, and although this policy covers how we use any data collected from these sites, we bear no responsibility for how these third-party providers may use your information. We recommend you read the privacy policy of the social media website before sharing data and make use of the privacy settings and reporting mechanisms stated within to control how your data is used. The Historic England Blog and Social House Rules are available at

National Blue Plaque Scheme

The national blue plaque scheme celebrates people throughout history who have made an important and positive contribution to human welfare or happiness across England, recognising that every place has a unique story to tell, and helping to showcase the importance of heritage everywhere. In managing the national blue plaque scheme, we handle personal data in line with our public task.

When you nominate a person, group of people or event for a national blue plaque, we will ask you to provide information such as your name, contact information, the organisation you represent (where applicable), information about person(s) or event you are nominating, why you feel they should be recognised, and where you propose the plaque is installed. We will use this information when considering your nomination, and for the administration of the national blue plaque scheme. This includes communicating with you about your nomination and keeping you updated about its progress. If your nomination meets the published eligibility criteria, it will be assessed by both internal and external experts. If it is shortlisted, it will be shared with our historians, who may wish to contact you to conduct further research to support your nomination. Final decisions on shortlisted nominations will be made by our Blue Plaques Panel, which comprises experts outside Historic England.

When making your nomination, you will also be asked some voluntary questions such as your postcode, gender, ethnicity, religion and other information to help us understand the geographical impact of the scheme and to check whether we are achieving our diversity and inclusion goals. This information will be anonymised and used for equality and diversity monitoring only; it will not be used to assess your nomination.

In the event that your nomination is unsuccessful, we will retain your personal data for a period of 18 months from the closure of the nomination window, after which time it will be permanently deleted from our systems. If your nomination is successful, your personal data will be retained in perpetuity and archived in the public interest.

If you own a property selected for a national blue plaque, we will collect and use your name and contact details, which we will obtain from public records or the nomination form. We will use this information to contact you to seek consent to install a national blue plaque and to maintain a record of such consent or objection and any other information you choose to provide. Your name and contact information will be shared with our contractor to communicate with you about the installation of a national blue plaque. We will also use your personal information to keep you, and your tenant where applicable, informed about the process and arrangements for an unveiling event where such an event is to take place.

Levelling Up Places Service

As part of the Government's Levelling Up agenda, Historic England and its partners provide support to Local Authorities in order to achieve better outcomes for levelling up projects. During the course of your interaction with us, we will ask you to share your name, work contact information, the local authority you represent and your role within the project. We will use this information for the purpose of communicating with you about the project for which you are seeking support. It is your responsibility to keep us informed of any changes to your contact information and role within the project.

Depending on the nature of the project or the support you have requested, we may share your personal data with our programme partners; these are: Arts Council England, Sport England, National Lottery Heritage Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund, British Film Institute, and VisitEngland. We may also share your personal data with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. For more information about how our partners will handle your personal data, please see their privacy notices which can be accessed via their websites.


When you submit a listing application to Historic England you will be asked to provide your name and contact details. We will use these details to contact you and keep you informed about the status of your application. The personal information you choose to provide in support of your application, including photographs, will be used to maintain a record of the application and to inform our assessment and recommendation. You should not include sensitive personal data within the application.

Information in the application will be shared with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), where the Secretary of State is responsible for making the final decision.

We retain a permanent record of all submitted applications, which includes unsuccessful applications. Applications that are not submitted will be deleted two years after the date of creation.

Our statutory responsibilities

In order to carry out our statutory purposes it is necessary for us to engage with a wide range of heritage stakeholders. We collect and use personal data such as work email addresses to communicate with individuals in a professional capacity (for example, Heritage Champions, Conservation Officers, and Historic Environment Records Officers) to keep you up to date with our activities. As this relates to our public function, we will not seek consent to send out communications of this type to individuals acting in their professional capacity.

IT system testing

IT systems must be tested thoroughly as part of their implementation in order to avoid errors in the way that data is processed and to avoid data protection breaches. To ensure systems are tested thoroughly, copies of live data from existing systems are sometimes used.

It would not be possible to invent datasets for this purpose as it would be difficult to create a sufficiently large dataset to cover the vast number of possible combinations that occur in reality. If you have submitted personal data to us, your data may go through this process. Personal data held in test environments is subject to technical and organisational controls to ensure it is stored securely and is contained within the development environment.