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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 a successful, competitive higher education sector, underpinned by reliable, trustworthy, and timely data.  

High-quality, timely, and independent data leads to better decisions, enhanced performance, improved outcomes, and increased public trust and confidence. Our vision is to support these aims and deliver public benefit through the exceptional data and services we provide. 

We aim to provide frictionless, flexible access to a wide range of data resources and services that are easy to engage with and understand. Through this, we will continue to cement our role as part of the UK HE sector’s critical infrastructure.

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