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Collection Governance Consultation: your feedback

Data collection

Collection governance in the HE sector is evolving. As befits a consensual approach, implementation will be carefully planned through extensive consultation and pilot testing.

The first of these consultations has just closed and, as ever, the responses have been thoughtful and detailed. The sheer volume of feedback will take us a little while to fully process, but there are early highlights we wanted to share.

Code of Practice

Feedback was generally very supportive and featured a high level of response around the Code of Practice. We are doing what we can at this stage to make some changes to the demand-side Code of Practice ahead of review by the Data Landscape Steering Group (DLSG). We are keen to promote the benefits of visibly adopting the Code of Practice and are considering the best way to achieve this.

Burden Assessment

There were encouraging themes emerging from the feedback to re-frame the conversations around burden. The proposed approach of assessing change consistently using a transparent process had almost universal support; as did the idea that providers form a major part of that assessment. Some concerns were raised around a lack of focus on the value of change, and the amount of time providers would be expected to allocate to the process.

Transparency is an integral part of any consensual governance process

These, and other related questions, are all valid but we don’t have all the answers right now. However, we will develop responses through the pilot testing of the governance processes through the Data Futures programme.

One question we can answer is whether the assessments will be published. Transparency is an integral part of any consensual governance process so every change request will be available for review and comment from instigation to implementation. This includes the burden assessment, although individual responses will never be published.

Feedback included strong support for some kind of ‘reward’ for completing an assessment. The most asked-for feature was baselining a provider score against the sector average for that change. We are actively considering how we might approach this.

There were also many comments around timing and implementation. There are two parallel activity streams – one on the consultation items around sector governance focussing on Codes of Practice and assessment of burden. The second is HESA’s best practice implementation of collection governance.

Next Steps

We will thoroughly analyse the feedback and work it into the development of both the sector and HESA governance activity. I cannot stress too strongly the value of the responses provided, especially in support of a consensual governance approach.

Data Governance – even with the best processes, skilled staff and supporting technology – is never successfully implemented without placing the people involved in it at its core. Governance process makes no apologies for ‘doing things differently’ and that means giving everyone the chance to shape it into something fit for purpose for such a diverse sector. The collection governance project is the start of that, but will not mark the end, which will be an ongoing process of improvement.

We look forward to working with you all towards successful implementation.

We will continue to seek your input and feedback at appropriate stages. Meanwhile, please do contact us at [email protected] with your queries, and join the Data Futures JiscMail group for programme milestones and updates.

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Alex Leigh

Alex Leigh

Consultant