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Official statistics

Compliance statement

  • HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) Limited
  • 95 Promenade
  • Cheltenham
  • GL50 1HZ


The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 introduced the concept of Official Statistics. This encompassed the previous category of National Statistics which continues to exist as a sub-category of Official Statistics. The Official Statistics Order 2008 first designated HESA as a producer of Official Statistics.

The Code of Practice for Statistics (Principle T3: Orderly release) states that organisations should commit to releasing their statistics in an open and transparent manner that promotes public confidence.

This statement explains how HESA complies with the principle.

Merger and delegation of statistical production

On 4 October 2022 HESA merged with Jisc (the UK’s digital body for tertiary education). As part of the merger arrangements HESA (Limited) has been retained as a company limited by guarantee, with Jisc as sole member. The former staff of HESA Limited have been transferred to Jisc. HESA remains a designated producer of Official Statistics under the relevant Official Statistics Orders. Following the merger the Board of Directors of HESA Limited have taken the decision to formally delegate the production and release of HESA’s range of official and national statistics to Jisc.

Production and release processes are now undertaken by the same team of staff who were responsible for this work prior to the merger. These staff remain appropriately skilled and experienced in compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics and the associated Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Orders. Statistical policies and procedures established before the merger (and previously assessed as compliant with the Code of Practice for Statistics by the Office for Statistics Regulation) remain in-force and materially unchanged. Governance of delegated production and release activities is provided by a ‘Data Collection and Statistics Oversight Board’ which includes the members of the Board of Directors of HESA Limited. 

On the basis of these delegated statistical production arrangements, the regular HESA publications listed below continue to be published as official and national statistics. Users of these statistical products can be confident in their ongoing compliance with the pillars of quality, value and trustworthiness as articulated within the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Types of Official Statistics

HESA publishes four types of official statistics as defined by the Code of Practice for Statistics:

  • Official statistics: Statistics produced by crown bodies, those acting on behalf of crown bodies, or those specified in statutory orders, as defined in section 6 of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.
  • Experimental official statistics: A subset of newly developed or innovative official statistics undergoing evaluation. Experimental statistics are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in the assessment of their suitability and quality at an early stage.
  • Ad-hoc official statistics:  Statistical analyses produced and released where there is a pressing need for official statistics in the public interest. 
  • National Statistics: Official statistics assessed as fully compliant with the Code are given National Statistics status by the Office for Statistics Regulation, in line with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

National Statistics designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • Meet identified user needs
  • Are well explained and readily accessible
  • Are produced according to sound methods
  • Are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Types of HESA releases

HESA releases Official Statistics in three types of publication:

  • Statistical Bulletins: provide high level statistics at a national level.
  • Open data releases: larger suites of interactive open data tables providing detailed views of the data.
  • Ad-hoc Statistical Bulletins: statistical analyses published where there is a pressing need for official statistics in the public interest

Regular Official Statistics publications

HESA’s regular Official Statistics releases are listed below. None of these releases are regarded as market sensitive.

  • Higher Education Student Statistics (Statistical Bulletin) (National Statistics)
  • Higher Education Staff Statistics (Statistical Bulletin)
  • Higher Education Student Data
  • Higher Education Staff Data
  • Higher Education Provider Data: Finance
  • Higher Education Provider Data: Business and Community Interaction
  • Higher Education Provider Data: Estates Management
  • Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Data
  • Unistats Dataset


The final decision on the timing of Official Statistics releases is agreed between HESA and the devolved UK administrations and is published on our publication schedule.

Forthcoming Official and National Statistics releases are also announced on the UK Government Research and Statistics web-pages.

Any delay in the availability of publications will be announced via the HESA website and the UK Government Research and Statistics web-pages where applicable.

Timing of releases

Statistical publications classed as Official or National Statistics are issued at 09.30 hours on the pre-announced date.

Pre-release access

The Pre-Release Rccess to Official Statistics Orders permit limited advanced sight of statistical releases in specific circumstances. For full details of HESA's compliance with pre-release access please see Pre-release access.

Statistical policies

User engagement strategy