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Our vision and principles

HESA was set up by agreement between higher education funding councils, higher education providers, and the relevant government departments. The Further & Higher Education Act 1992 and the White Paper ‘Higher Education: a new framework’ had identified a need for a co-ordinated approach to higher education statistics and information. In 2018 HESA was confirmed as the Designated Data Body for higher education in England.

Our mission is to support the advancement of UK higher education by collecting, analysing, and disseminating accurate and comprehensive statistical information in response to the needs of all those with an interest in its characteristics and a stake in its future. 

Our vision

Our vision is to operate as an independent, expert data collection, assurance, and dissemination agency, delivering reliable services for our customers and stakeholders. We do this to enhance the competitive strength of UK HE through providing a trusted source of information, supporting better decision making, and promoting public trust in HE.

  • We will deploy our expertise in the use and application of advanced statistical and open data techniques to transform and present HE data.
  • We will seek to develop innovative, low-cost techniques to improve the quality and efficiency of data collection.
  • We will also work as part of an open infrastructure to ensure that as much data as possible is open and accessible to all.

Our strategy is delivered through our people. Ensuring that our staff have the skills, capabilities, and tools to do their jobs effectively is therefore a key theme underpinning all our activities and objectives. This includes providing opportunities for development, growth, and learning.

Our core principles

A set of core principles underpins everything we have done since we began collecting data in 1993:

  1. We are a charitable company operating under a statutory framework on behalf of the funding and regulatory bodies, and government departments, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We support HE providers in fulfilling their data reporting requirements.
  2. We are part of the UK’s ‘statistics family’. We produce Official Statistics, a sign that a number of our statistical outputs have met a rigorous quality threshold. These outputs are regulated by the UK Statistics Authority which has a direct line of accountability to Parliament, independent of any government department.
  3. We are principally funded by subscriptions from HE providers and are dedicated to ensuring that we deliver value for money.
  4. In addition to our work with HE providers and sector bodies, we are driven by a wider public purpose: to advance higher education in the UK.

Our Strategy

Our core purpose is to collect, assure, analyse, and disseminate data and information on all aspects of UK higher education. Our strategy focuses on achieving this core purpose while delivering major transformation projects within a constantly changing environment.

Read more about our Strategy