Principle T3.9 of the Code of Practice for Statistics states that scheduled revisions or unscheduled corrections to the statistics and data should be released as soon as practicable. The changes should be handled transparently in line with a published policy.
- The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) aims to avoid the need for revisions to statistical releases unless these are absolutely necessary. HESA statistical releases are published in final form only, without provisional release stages. These are not subject to any scheduled revisions.
- Revisions to HESA statistical releases can arise only as a result of errors in HESA's data collection or production processes.
HESA operates an annual data collection process that includes provision for HE providers to correct errors identified in data previously submitted to HESA in controlled circumstances (errors are judged to be significant in impact and corrective actions approved by the relevant UK HE Funding Body). Where any HESA data release includes time series, the time series will use the most up-to-date copy of those data held by HESA at the time of release preparation (i.e. incorporating corrections made after first submission to HESA). As a result time series figures may differ from previous published data releases.
- Whilst HESA operates robust statistical production and quality assurance procedures we recognise that errors occasionally arise. When errors in statistical releases are identified HESA will take the following course of action:
- A rapid assessment will be undertaken of the significance of the error on the interpretation of the statistics.
- If deemed to be significant, users of the output will be informed promptly via direct contact where contact details of specific users are known or via the relevant electronic publication medium (usually the HESA website). The error will be corrected as soon as possible by a re-issue of the release. Subsequent editions of the statistical release may also make reference to the error to ensure that any users wishing to undertake comparisons between successive editions are fully aware.
- If deemed not to be significant, details of the error are logged to ensure that there is no repetition of the error in subsequent editions of the statistical output.
- Significant errors are fully investigated by HESA. A thorough analysis is taken into the cause of the error, together with an assessment of impact and list of corrective actions to minimise the risk of any repetition.