Historic England inherits English Heritage's position as the UK government's statutory adviser and a statutory consultee on all aspects of the historic environment and its heritage assets. This includes archaeology on land and underwater, historic buildings sites and areas, designated landscapes and the historic elements of the wider landscape. It monitors and reports on the state of England's heritage and publishes the annual Heritage at Risk survey which is one of the UK Government's Official statistics. It is tasked to secure the preservation and enhancement of the man-made heritage of England for the benefit of future generations.
Its remit involves:
Caring for nationally important archive collections of photographs, drawings and other records which document the historic environment of England and date from the eighteenth century onwards.
Giving grants national and local organisations for the conservation of historic buildings, monuments and landscapes. In 2013/14 over £13 million worth of grants were made to support heritage buildings.
Advising central UK government on which English heritage assets are nationally important and should be protected by designation (i.e. listing, scheduling, etc.).
Advising local authorities on managing changes to the most important parts of heritage.
Providing expertise through advice, training and guidance to improve the standards and skills of people working in heritage, practical conservation and access to resources. In 2009–2010 it trained around 200 professionals working in local authorities and the wider sector.
Consulting and collaborating with other heritage bodies, local and national planning organisations e.g. the preparation of Planning Policy statement for the Historic Environment (PPS5)
Commissioning and conducting archaeological research, including the publication of 'Heritage Counts' and ‘Heritage at Risk’ on behalf of the heritage sector which are the annual research surveys into the state of England's heritage.
It also owns the National Heritage Collection of nationally important historic sites, currently in public care. However, they do not run these sites as this function is instead carried out by the English Heritage Trust under licence until 2023.