The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative information about higher education in the UK. It was set up, by agreement between the relevant government departments, the higher education funding councils and the universities and colleges, in 1993, following the White Paper Higher Education, a new framework, which called for more coherence in HE statistics, and the 1992 Higher and Further Education Acts, which established an integrated higher education system throughout the United Kingdom.
In line with the legal framework within which HESA operates the Board of Directors has defined the mission of the Agency as:
To provide, at the best value, a responsive and effective system of data collection, analysis and dissemination, as the basis of a comprehensive management information system for publicly funded higher education in the UK in so far as such advancement and assistance shall be of an exclusively charitable nature and to assist the Universities and Colleges, for whose benefit the Agency has been established, to achieve their objectives.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency Ltd is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England (No. 2766993) at 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ. It is registered as Charity No. 1039709. The Agency is accredited to two recognised standards; BS EN ISO 9001 (Quality Standard), Registration number GB 6244 and BS 7799 (Information Security Standard), Registration number GB 7226.
The members of the company are Universities UK (UUK) and the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP), the Board of Directors comprises representatives of these bodies together with co-opted directors drawn from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The Chairman is currently Professor David Melville, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Kent, the Chief Executive is Professor Robin Sibson. HESA is funded by subscription from all of the publicly funded universities and HE colleges throughout the United Kingdom.
HESA collects information from the publicly funded HEIs in the UK at the request of its Statutory Customers, which are currently:
Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
National Assembly for Wales (NAW)
Scottish Executive (SE)
Department for Education and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL(NI))
Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)
Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC)
Teacher Training Agency (TTA)
Department of Health (DH)
HESA's relationship with each of these statutory bodies is formalised by either a Service Level Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding or other formal contractual basis.
HESA is a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998, registration no. Z7475057. The data received from HEIs is processed by HESA into a form suitable for analysis by each statutory body.
For more information about the statutory framework in which HESA operates please see the document 'Data Protection Guidance for the HESA Records' which can be found at index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=140&Itemid=170
Personal data collected by HESA comprises the following records:
Processing of these records must therefore comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Principle 1 of this Act requires information to be provided, or made readily available to data subjects so that they are not deceived or misled as to the purposes for which their data is to be processed. In order to satisfy this principle with respect to individual staff records submitted to HESA, institutions are asked to make the collection notice contained in the document at index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=140&Itemid=170 available to their staff. Institutions should provide this statement to staff in the same way as the statement that covers their own uses of the data.
The collection notices for the above records have been put together by a working group comprising representatives of HESA and each of its Statutory Customers, since it was felt that the HEIs could not be expected to know exactly the scope of what is done with the HESA records after submission. These notices cover the uses made by HESA and each of its Statutory Customers and so are necessarily fairly general. The relevant Funding Council has supplied each HE Institution with text for collection notices and each country in the UK will have its own implementation arrangements. In addition, institutions should ensure that their own uses of the data are similarly covered in a statement provided to staff.
For more information on collection notices and other data protection issues, please see the data protection section of the HESA website (index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=131&Itemid=180), and the document at index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=140&Itemid=170
The staff return covers the reporting period 01 August 2004 to 31 July 2005 inclusive. Valid and complete data should be returned to the Agency by 30 September 2005. In order to be accepted by HESA, data must pass HESA validation checks. Institutions are encouraged to test their data locally using the validation kits made available by HESA before submitting data to the collection. Data which fails validation will not be considered to have been returned to the Agency.
Institutions are asked to include in each data collection all staff who were employed by the institution at any time during the reporting period (i.e. between 1 August 2004 and 31 July 2005) and who come within the coverage of the record.
The HESA data collection system can be found at http://submit.hesa.ac.uk. The system includes a full on-line Help Guide. Access codes for the data collection will be sent to record contacts when the collection opens. These access codes can be used to create user accounts on the system.
Institutions should consider Institutional Liaison (IL) as general first point of contact during (and outside of) data collection. Please therefore contact the Agency’s IL team (Alison Berry, Marietta Nkweta, Janet Earl and Clara Elcocks) at HESA or email email@example.com.
Inclusion of an individual in the record will depend on the existence of one or more contracts of employment between the institution and an individual and/or the liability of the institution to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions for that individual. (See Inland Revenue leaflets IR56 and CA26 for further guidance.) All staff for whom the institution is liable to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions and/or who have a contract of employment with the institutions must be included in the record.
However, the range of data required about an individual and the contract(s) that they hold will depend on the nature of those contracts and also the classification of the activity for which the contract exists.
Atypical staff (staff with atypical contracts only)
For those individuals with contracts of employment and/or for whom the institution is liable to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions but whose relationship for all contracts held with the institution during the reporting period would be defined as 'atypical' there is a requirement to return only a minimum data set. Staff who hold atypical contracts only must be returned from 2004/05 onwards.
Definition of atypical
The definition of 'atypical' is set out by the DTI:
|‘The term ‘atypical’ is used to describe working arrangements that are not permanent, involve complex employment relationships and/or involve work away from the supervision of the normal work provider. These may be characterised by a high degree of flexibility for both the work provider and the working person, and may involve a triangular relationship that includes an agent. They can be contrasted with the model of a permanent, full-time employment contract between two parties, where one works standard hours under the control of the other and termination can only take place if there is grave fault or by giving notice. Atypical arrangements may involve an absence of mutual obligation between the work provider and working person beyond or within a given period of work or assignment and may also involve complex relationships between the working person, an agent paying and/or supplying the working person and the principal, under whose supervision the working person may work. It is important to recognise, however, that atypical workers may often be employees.’|
Source: DTI Discussion Document on Employment Status (pdf) para 23.
In addition to this definition from the DTI, some HE specific guidance has been devised. Atypical contracts meet one or more of the following conditions:
All other staff
For those individuals whose relationship with the institution, for one or more of the contracts held during the reporting period, cannot be defined as ‘atypical’ there is a requirement to return a wider range of data. For many staff, those who have contracts to undertake activities classified in SOC groups 4-9, this additional requirement relates mainly to grade and salary information and start and end dates of employment and contracts.
Where individuals have contracts to undertake activities classified in SOC groups 1- 3 is there a requirement for an additional range of data – for example about qualifications and previous employment/destination on leaving information. There is also a requirement for institutions to track the use of staff identifiers when staff move between institutions.
This is illustrated in the diagram below.
The staff record is collected in two sections; the person table and the contract table. The person table should contain one record for every person employed by the institution during the reporting period and contains attributes of the individual such as birthdate, gender and ethnicity.
Each person's employment with an institution will be governed by a legally-binding contract and each contract that exists must be recorded on the contract table. If a person has a single contract with the institution there will be one record on the person table and one record on the contract table. If a person has three contracts with an institution (as in the diagram below) there will be one record on the person table and three records on the contract table. This structure will allow the analysis of casual and short-term patterns of employment and should result in the production of more meaningful statistics about patterns of employment within the sector.
Institutions in England have been granted a concession to compress contract information into a single record for each member of staff. Institutions who choose this option must follow a standard algorithm for the amalgamation of contract records, apply this algorithm across their entire return and inform HESA in advance of the collection of their intention to do this.
Institutions are strongly urged, if at all possible, to meet the full data specification. Doing so will enable the higher education community to present the best possible statistics, and therefore the best possible statement of its total contribution. It will also enable HESA to have in place a sound basis for time series comparisons for future years. HESA is firmly of the view that HE institutions have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from the provision of comprehensive information about their work.
Every person is allocated a unique staff identifier (STAFFID) and this will be recorded on the person table. The staff identifier will also be used on the contract table to identify which person this contract belongs to. In order to ensure the integrity of this structure, the following checks will be applied to each institution's return:
For certain groups of staff only a subset of fields is required on either table. This is summarised in the diagram below. Further details are contained in a separate document the Summary of field requirements for different types of staff. The selection of appropriate fields will therefore depend on an individual's circumstances. The record specification has been devised in such a way that institutions are required to return a valid entry in all fields for all staff. Where appropriate default values are available and the notes to each field set out the circumstances in which these defaults should be used.
Like the previous staff record, the new Staff Record will operate a simple year-on-year muster. If a person is returned in one year and is not recorded as a leaver on all of their contracts, then a record will be expected for that person in the following year's collection. For a person to be removed from the muster, all of their contract records must contain leaving information.
If you have any queries arising concerning data collection, or need advice on completing this record, please contact the Agency's Institutional Liaison team at HESA (firstname.lastname@example.org).