Management and maintenance plan good practice guidance

Management and maintenance plan good practice guidance

Good management and maintenance are crucial to the long-term care of heritage sites, collections and assets, while poor management and maintenance can put your heritage at risk and lead to higher costs in the future.

By reading this guidance you’ll get tips for successful management and maintenance planning, including how to structure your plan, steps to take when preparing your plan and how to link to other related plans. It also includes appendices on what we mean by management and maintenance and links to further guidance that’s specific to different types of heritage.

To ensure the heritage we support is valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future, if you’re applying for a grant over £250,000 and your project involves capital works, the creation of new material or the purchase of a historic building, structure, transport heritage or land, we require you to prepare a management and maintenance plan.

If you’re running an area-based project, you’ll instead need to create an area management plan as part of your area action plan.

About management and maintenance planning

A management and maintenance plan sets out how your project’s results will be maintained, who will do it, what skills they will need, when things need to be done and what the cost of this work will be. A plan can help you care for your heritage, develop your project, think about resources and hopefully ensure the same problems don’t recur.

As part of our terms of grant, we ask you to ensure the work we fund is kept in good condition and that the benefits of your project are maintained into the future.

If you are required to produce a management and maintenance plan as part of your project, we will expect your organisation to:

  • adopt your management and maintenance plan
  • integrate it into your existing policies for management and care
  • provide financial resources to implement that plan for the duration of your grant contract

You can include increased management and maintenance costs for a maximum of five years following the project within your delivery round application budget.

This includes any increased costs that arise because of capital works which have taken place during your project. If you do this, increased management and maintenance costs must be included in both the cost and income section of your application. Costs and income should be evidenced through a letter stating their value and signed by the most senior financial officer of your organisation.

Links to other aspects of your project

Management and maintenance planning should not be done in isolation from other aspects of your project planning.

Before you prepare a management and maintenance plan, you will need to consult a condition survey or report on your heritage, such as a building survey or survey of a habitat, landscape or collection. You should also make sure you understand how your building or site functions in terms of its environmental performance.

If your project involves capital works, the creation of new material or the purchase of a historic building, structure, transport heritage or historic designed landscape like a park, we will ask you to prepare a conservation plan in addition to your management and maintenance plan early in the development phase or as part of your delivery round application, and an activity plan as part of your delivery round application. It’s important these plans relate to each other.

Ideas on how you can link different plans are included in Appendix 2 of this guidance.

The contents of a management and maintenance plan

A management plan should set out:

  • the current situation
  • analysis, aims and objectives – developing the desired future situation
  • a way of moving towards the desired future situation
  • a method of measuring progress

Your plan needs to be accessible to the intended audience and you might want to consider an overall summary document if the plan itself becomes too technical.

Cross referencing to other plans and summarising content from other documents will help keep the plan size down and make it easier to read.

We suggest you use this structure:

  1. Introduction
  2. Current situation
  3. Analysis, aims and objectives
  4. Action plan

1. Introduction

A short section to include:

  • who wrote the plan, when and why
  • who was consulted
  • scope of the plan
  • links to other planning work
  • a very brief description of your project and what it will cover
  • any gaps in the plan
  • if the plan covers the whole site, collection or asset in your ownership or just the project area
  • how the heritage has changed through time, why it is important and to who

2. Current situation (where we are now)

Structuring this section is key to making the plan readable. The following headings are suggestions.

The site, collection or asset

  • who is currently responsible for management and maintenance
  • what they do, when they do it and with what resources
  • what condition your heritage is in now (using your condition survey)
  • what management and maintenance standards you need to meet
  • briefly mention of your project and what work it will involve

Activity plan

Your activity plan should provide you with useful information to help you complete this section, which should include:

  • your current audience including types of use, annual visitor numbers, visitor profile, reasons for use, length of stay, satisfaction levels
  • your potential audience including non-users and identified or perceived barriers to greater use
  • current scope and nature of community engagement and volunteering including the range and type of people involved and what they do
  • current events and activities including who runs them, how they are funded, how they are marketed and promoted, who attends and how successful they are
  • current role of site user groups or volunteers, their skills, any management responsibilities and how they are involved in decision making

The organisation

Give details on any organisations involved in the management and maintenance of the site, collection or asset.

Policy context

Identify key national, regional and local policy that has a direct impact on the management and maintenance of your site, collection or asset. Only include issues that directly affect you and consider using appendices to include a wider policy context.

Current management and maintenance

Include the current management structure shown as an organogram highlighting the key service areas. List everyone who plays a part in management and maintenance including all staff posts employed directly or indirectly through contracts, full or part-time.

Show as an organogram all other departments and external organisations (stakeholders) who assist or inform the management and maintenance of the site, collection or asset.

Include a short description of the current standards of maintenance including who delivers them, how they are procured, whether they are delivered by site-based staff and what maintenance facilities exist on site.

You should also describe operational procedures for inspections, repairs and non-planned maintenance such as dealing with graffiti and anti-social behaviour.

3. Analysis, aims and objectives (where we want to get to)

Say how you have critically evaluated:

  • your heritage, its overall condition and current threats to its heritage significance
  • the performance of the managing organisation, adequacy of current resources, skill levels, procedures and environmental management
  • the views, ideas and aspirations of your current and potential audiences

You can bring in elements of other plans produced as part of your project so you have a comprehensive assessment. This will enable you to develop not only an overall vision but also some clear aims and objectives that can be translated into actions with identified timescales and resources.

Proposed management and maintenance

Consider the overall aims you have defined for your project. Assess how your management and maintenance procedures, processes and resources may have to change to sustain the capital works and activities proposed.

To provide a direct comparison with the information provided under ‘current management and maintenance’ above, please provide:

  • An organogram of the proposed management organisation. Highlight key service areas that have responsibility for the site, collection or asset or that play a part in its management and delivery including all staff posts directly or indirectly employed.
  • an organogram showing how all the other departments and external organisations will be involved in managing and maintaining the site, collection or asset in future
  • A description of the proposed management and maintenance operations, how they will be procured and delivered, their frequency or performance targets. This may be presented either as text or a table of periodic operations.
  • a description of how you will respond to any future issues such as climate change and extreme weather events, graffiti, vandalism, litter, complaints or security concerns, setting out clear targets for responses to be delivered

Show that you have thought through how the site, collection or asset needs to be cared for after completion of the capital works. Explain the need for any increased management and maintenance costs that you have allocated to the project or why you believe there is no need for additional costs.

Activity plan and digital technology

Look at how your future management and maintenance plan will continue to support the proposals identified in your activity plan. There may be new facilities that need to be looked after such as:

  • exhibitions
  • education spaces
  • electronic displays and interactive devices

Indicate what training you will provide to make sure staff and volunteers have the skills to maintain and manage your heritage after the project has finished, and when and how you will provide this training.

We require any digital outputs (for example, web pages and documents, audio-visual works, maps and surveys) you create with grant funding to be available, accessible and open. This means that you must provide unfettered access to materials for a minimum of five years, depending on the value of your project. Find out more about these requirements from our digital good practice guidance.

Protecting the environment

We expect all projects we fund to protect the environment. For more information see our environmental sustainability good practice guidance.


You will need to consider:

  • the nature and variety of risks to the site, collection or asset after completion of the project
  • your proposals to manage the risks

You will be asked for this as part of your delivery round application.

4. Action plan (how we will get there)

This section captures all that you need to do and when, usually in a table. Actions should flow from your objectives. Your action plan should be clear about:

  • who needs to lead on the action
  • who needs to support them
  • what skills they will need
  • when it needs to happen
  • what aim or objective the action relates to
  • what resources are needed (if there is a requirement for funding from the project, please explain where this appears in the project costs)

Income and expenditure table

Set out an income and expenditure table that covers five years post completion of the practical works. On completion of the practical works, update this with:

  • all the financial implications of your current and proposed management and maintenance
  • management and maintenance implications arising from any other capital works and activities
  • a summary of any income and expenditure from any commercial activity
  • all items of expenditure
  • a look at the whole life costs and costs of different facilities
  • allowance for work that will be done by volunteers and any in kind contributions

You are strongly encouraged to think of innovative ways of raising income to support your future costs such as grants, local authority funding, tenancies, leases, commercial access, concessions, rentals, cafes, shops, weddings, parking, entrance charges, filming, events, sponsorship, carbon sequestration and biodiversity net gain.

Monitoring, evaluation and plan review

Explain how the plan itself will be reviewed and updated.

Once you are in the delivery stage, review the plan at least annually to reflect new information, new research and design changes, and to highlight what has been achieved.

Tips for successful planning

Get specialist help

You and your team might need help to prepare the management and maintenance plan or to train staff to implement it. If you need specialist help to prepare your plan, make sure you identify the cost as part of your project development work.

Involve people

Use the process to bring together the people who will be essential to the success of your project or management strategy. Make sure the document includes a wide range of views. Delays and extra costs can arise if the right people are not involved. Also, give copies of the completed plan to anyone involved in looking after your site including volunteers, staff and contractors.

Manage it

Make sure the plan you prepare, or commission helps you care for the asset. Be prepared to manage the planning process from the first discussion of the idea through to the commissioning process, to make sure people use the plan in the long term.


Use the plan to mediate between different ideas about heritage and its conservation. For example, built heritage specialists and ecologists might have diverse aspirations about how to look after your site, collection or asset.

Organise information

A plan can easily be overwhelmed by the amount of information needed to care for a complicated heritage asset. Keep a secure management and maintenance file and regularly update it. Keep copies of surveys and other information in the file, as well as a copy of your management and maintenance plan. You may also want to have an up-to-date working copy.

Adopt it and use it

We expect you to adopt the plan formally as part of your organisation’s management policies. We also expect to see the plan clearly labelled as adopted with the names of those responsible for its adoption on behalf of your organisation and the date when the plan was adopted.

Publish it

Make sure everyone who needs to use the plan has a copy. Keep a master copy in a secure archive as we may ask to see it in future. The plan should be made available on your website so that other people can learn from it.

Further guidance for different types of heritage

Landscapes, public parks, cemeteries and gardens

If your project is restoring a landscape, public park, cemetery or garden, as part of our grant terms you should secure and retain the Green Flag Award once your project’s capital works have reached practical completion. You will be required to retain a Green Flag Award, at a high pass level, for at least seven years.

To assist in attaining a Green Flag Award you may use the standard Green Flag Award management and maintenance template for producing your plan for your project application. There is no need to produce two plans.

The Green Flag Award’s guidance will help you to prepare a management and maintenance plan that will satisfy both us and the Green Flag Award.

Historic buildings

The best way to tackle the long-term care of historic buildings is to concentrate on regular preventative maintenance, which:

  • keeps up a building’s appearance and extends its life
  • prevents the loss of original fabric, because less material is lost in regular, minimal and small-scale work than in extensive restoration projects
  • extends the period between repair projects, placing less of a burden on scarce resources
  • reduces the need for new materials, which in turn reduces processing, transport, waste and energy use

Good practice

Planned annual maintenance inspections need to be carried out in a careful and organised way. Ideally, you should aim to complete a full visual inspection of your buildings at least once a year. Begin by preparing a checklist identifying all the elements of the building that need to be inspected. Templates are available from:

Top tips

  • The inspection does not have to be carried out in a single day but might be tackled a section at a time.
  • It is helpful to carry out the external inspections during, or immediately after, heavy rainfall, as this highlights whether rainwater goods are functioning properly or not. And it is always worth checking vulnerable areas after heavy rain or snowfall.
  • It may be easier to inspect each face of the building in turn, starting by looking up at the roof and working downwards. Binoculars are a useful aide.
  • However, if parts of the building are inaccessible, consider whether you need to seek professional help.
  • Storm damage to roof coverings and metal flashings may provide a route for water penetration into the building, which needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.
  • If your inspection identifies issues of concern, you should seek further advice from an architect or building surveyor.

What we mean by ‘management’ and ‘maintenance’

When we talk about management and maintenance, management includes all the activities that can keep heritage in good condition, such as having procedures or arrangements for:

  • environmental monitoring and control
  • safe and appropriate handling
  • emergency preparedness
  • storage and security
  • acquisition and disposal
  • complying with legislation and regulations and obtaining consents or licenses where needed
  • welcoming visitors and other users
  • having access to the specialist skills needed to look after your heritage
  • providing training for volunteers and others who look after your heritage
  • community involvement
  • monitoring
  • meeting management standards for heritage (eg: Green Flag Award for parks, BS 4971 for conservation and care of library collections or BS EN 16893 for conservation of cultural heritage on new sites and buildings intended for the storage and use of collections)
  • documenting sites, species, collections, buildings or landscapes
  • meeting other standards (eg: operating standards for historic railways)

Maintenance is the routine everyday work needed to prevent decay such as:

  • maintaining interpretation, exhibitions and interactives
  • maintaining lighting
  • maintaining facilities for visitors and other services
  • keeping paths, fences and means of access in good condition
  • clearing gutters and keeping drains clear
  • painting woodwork and replacing slipped roof tiles
  • keeping working objects in good operational condition
  • keeping digital outputs working as intended
  • migrating digital files to an appropriate format to avoid obsolescence
  • dealing with litter, waste collection and disposal
  • housekeeping and routine cleaning
  • regular inspections of equipment, structures and services
  • caring for trees and other vegetation

Links to other plans

Conservation plan

  • How the conservation plan defines zones in the site may help you organise the management plan site description section.
  • Ensure you summarise any built, landscape or nature designations and other useful historical information from the conservation plan.
  • Ensure the management and maintenance plan includes a summary of the significance of the site, collection or asset.

Project master plan and overall project design

  • Look at all capital elements and decide how they will be maintained, who will do it, what skills they will need, when things need to be done, what the cost will be.
  • Decide whether there are management interventions other than capital projects (eg: do you need to do other physical works to improve your heritage beyond our investment?)
  • Ensure that when you revise the management plan during the delivery phase that you capture key information to maintain the quality of newly restored features (eg: the origin and specification of materials, the palette of colours used to paint features/furniture, planting plans).

Activity plan

  • Include a brief description in the management and maintenance plan of the demographics of your area to show you understand the context.
  • Set out how current and proposed levels of volunteering and community engagement identified in your activity plan will be managed and maintained in the future.
  • Identify how the local community will be actively engaged in managing and caring for the site, collection or asset in the future.

If you have a project which includes commercial income streams, such as from a café or visitor centre, we will require information on the operation of these businesses to be set out within your management and maintenance plan.

Steps in preparing a management and maintenance plan

Step 1: Before your development phase application

First work out:

  • who needs to be involved or consulted
  • what information is already available or needs to be established
  • who will write the plan
  • what resources will be needed

Your heritage

Think about your heritage and consider if all the right organisations are involved in its current management and maintenance. Consider if the overall standards of maintenance are what is required? Think about how standards might be improved either by capital investment or by changes in working practices.

Budgets and resources

Review the current staffing structure and wider resources. Consider how this might need to change in the future and in response to our investment in the project.

Consider if everything to be delivered through the project can be properly maintained by existing management and maintenance budgets and resources. If the answer is yes, you will need to provide a clear explanation of how this will be achieved and how standards will be maintained. If the answer is no, you will need to identify additional funding and resources and explain how these will be maintained in the long term.

The team

Identify the team that will be involved in preparing the management and maintenance plan during the development phase. Identify what skills they will need to be able to write the plan. Decide if you can produce the plan in house or whether you need additional help or expertise. If additional resources are required, then include the cost of these in your application. Don’t underestimate the time it will take or the benefits of employing expert advice or a critical friend.

Reviewing performance

Think about how you will review your environmental management performance and procedures during the development phase and allow for expert advice in your application if specialist help is needed.

Step 2: During the development phase

By your development review, we will expect you to have:

  • a clear structure to your management and maintenance plan (see our suggested structure above)
  • written the ‘where we are now’ section
  • identified initial aims and objectives
  • reviewed and refined your staffing structure including staff resources for project management and delivery of the activity plan
  • developed an action plan to engage people, volunteers and especially any site user groups in discussions about their role in the management and maintenance
  • reviewed the emerging designs for the capital and conservation works to identify what extra resources or skills may be required in the future
  • considered your overall income and expenditure budgets and identified any opportunities to increase site income
  • developed your baseline evaluation data and considered draft ideas for monitoring and evaluation targets

After the development review we will expect you to:

  • work up your overall income and expenditure forecasts based on the RIBA/LI stage D designs and any potential commercial income
  • identify and confirm any proposed uplift in financial or staff resources
  • finalise your proposed staffing structure and draft appropriate job descriptions
  • confirm all targets for monitoring and evaluation
  • finalise and adopt the management and maintenance plan

Step 3: During delivery phase

The management and maintenance plan should be a living document which is reviewed and updated as the project develops. During this phase you should:

  • review the plan annually
  • check your plans to protect the environment are on track
  • amend and update the plan to reflect any changes in the nature and scope of the physical works or any new visitor surveys
  • ensure the roles of local people, volunteers and any site user groups are clearly identified and confirmed
  • collate design information such as material and product specifications, plans, surveys or drawings so they are available for future maintenance operations

Step 4: On completion of capital works

Review and update your management and maintenance plan. We expect you to:

  • extend the plan to 10 years starting from the date of project completion and re-forecast any financial projections based on the ‘as built’ scheme
  • submit your plan to us for approval

You will need to consider how you resource development of the management and maintenance plan during project delivery and allow for the cost of any specialist advice you may need.