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What we do and who we work with

We perform a range of functions to support and enhance the UK higher education (HE) sector.

Collecting data from higher education providers

We gather information about all aspects of the UK HE landscape. This includes information about:

  • Students, staff and graduates
  • Finances and estates
  • Academic departments and courses
  • Public engagement and commercial enterprises.

We collect data from universities, higher education colleges and other specialist providers of higher education. Collectively, we refer to these organisations as higher education providers.

Higher education providers have a statutory requirement to report data to the HE funding bodies. We work closely with providers to support this data collection process and to analyse and quality check the data they submit. Our Liaison team offers assistance throughout the collection period. We also run training events and provide a range of online support materials.

Providing data and analysis

We deliver the data we collect to our statutory customers, who include the HE funding councils and government bodies.

But the audience for our data is broader than this. We provide data and analysis to a wide variety of customers, including governments, universities (via our Heidi Plus analytics tool), academic and commercial researchers, students and potential students, and policy makers.

Users can access a large amount of data and analysis on our website. This includes freely available open data as well as a range of publications. We also work with individuals and organisations to produce bespoke datasets and analytical projects.

Through disseminating this data and analysis, we promote public understanding of higher education and secure the public's confidence in the sector.

Our data and analysis is also used to:

  • Enable strategic planning
  • Inform policy making
  • Advance academic and commercial research
  • Understand social and economic trends
  • Support prospective students' decision making.

Enhancing data expertise in the sector

We offer training events on all aspects of the data journey: from collection and submission, through to analysis and interrogation. These events enhance understanding and data maturity within HE providers. We also offer consultancy services which allow us to closely engage with an individual provider's processes and data streams.

Our on-going data capability project has analysed capabilities within the sector and is now working on developing and implementing recommendations to address common weaknesses.

Transforming the higher education information landscape

We actively engage with the HE information landscape and infrastructure. We are working to establish a common data language and architecture. We are also running the Data Futures project to upgrade the sector's technological infrastructure. These projects ensure that data is collected and disseminated in efficient and cost effective ways.

We also monitor the changing HE landscape to ensure that we are collecting and publishing the right data at the right time. We work with governments, funding bodies and key data users to understand their information requirements and to review the data we collect.