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Institution profile record 2012/13

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Institution profile record 2012/13

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Version 1.2 Produced 2013-04-30

The Institution profile record needs to be returned by all HEIs and is made up of two key pieces of information, the campuses and academic cost centres of HEIs. The data collected in this record will be used to validate the Student, Staff and Finance HE-BCI records as well as providing benchmarking material for heidi.

As previously with campus information, this data will be collected via web-based forms using the HESA data collection system. This method enables HESA to present institutions with the information currently held, and invite updating as necessary. The fields collected in the web-based forms are described in the 'Field list and detail' document in the 'Specification of the data to be returned' section of the manual homepage, in a manner common to other records.

The reporting period is from 1 August in year 1 to 31 July in year 2.


Campus information is required for all campuses of the reporting institution which are located within the UK. Institutions are also strongly encouraged to identify campuses located outside the UK so that this information can be used in data quality checking of the Aggregate offshore record at HESA.

A separate campus identifier should be used if a substantial number of students are studying on a campus at a substantial distance from where the main institution is based, such that it would be regarded as not being in the same city/town. Greater London can be treated as a single entity.

A separate campus identifier should be used when a merger takes place, to identify any merged institutions as separate campuses if they otherwise fit the criteria specified.

Although campus information is compulsory, in the majority of cases an institution will return a single campus with the generic value 'A', indicating the main campus or entire institution.

HEFCE expects separate campus identifiers for any part of the institution funded separately e.g. 0151 University of London - Institutes and activites, even where these do not meet the other criteria.

Academic cost centres

Provision of data regarding the mappings of academic departments to cost centres is compulsory for institutions in England, and optional for institutions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The ability for HEIs to return data about their organisational structures, and where their departments 'sit', was indicated to be useful for the sector during a consultation exercise in early 2011. The option to return mappings of departments to other institutional structures is available to all, but is not compulsory.

For those institutions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland wishing to make a return of academic department to cost centre mappings, the minimum requirement for such a return is that for each mapping, the AcademicCostCentres.ACCENTRE, AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT, AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC and AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT fields must all be returned. Without the minimum of these four fields being completed data returned will be insufficient for use.

Defining academic cost centres and departments

For the Institution profile record, assigning departments to academic cost centres should be done on the basis of the full-time equivalence of academic staff, rather than that of student numbers. This is consistent with the HEFCE guidance issued to institutions in England in their previous allocation exercise.

HEFCE established five fundamental criteria for grouping departments into cost centres, which are as follows:

  • Similar cost structures for teaching
  • Similar cost structures for research
  • Similar patterns for capital expenditure
  • Academic coherence in terms of the academic disciplines of staff
  • Similar rates of funding for research grants and contracts.

Cost centres should comprise of groups of staff whose attributes and activities collectively satisfy all the above criteria.

In order to map academic cost centres to departments on an institutional level, it is important to consider the definition of 'department'. The report 'Enabling Benchmarking Excellence' suggested some common themes:

  • A department is responsible for organising and delivering academic activity in a discrete subject, discipline or field of knowledge.
  • A department will have a formal position within the institution's structure; it is likely to be separately identified on the institution's organisational chart, it is likely to have its own management structure and be led by a 'Head' or 'Director' etc, and it is likely to have some degree of budget responsibility.
  • In larger organisations, a department can often form part of a larger structure (such as a faculty or school) which has been formed to cohere and link related subjects or disciplines.

Within the Institution profile record, an institution may identify their departments using a free-text string of up to 100 characters, in the field AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT.

Institutions are also encouraged to complete two additional fields, AcademicCostCentres.TIER1 and AcademicCostCentres.TIER2, that record the organisational structure above AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT, i.e., placing departments into schools, faculties etc.. These optional fields permit free text in the same way as AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT. Institutions can use one or both of these fields as necessary:

Capture of this data is intended to provide useful contextual data for benchmarking.

Two different representations of the same institutional structure, and how those might map to these three fields, are shown below:

Both of the examples above could be recorded as follows:

AcademicCostCentres.TIER1 AcademicCostCentres.TIER2 AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Department of Ancient History

Not all institutions will have three tiers of organisational structure - some may have more, some fewer. It is recommended that these fields are populated with appropriate tiers, even if these may not fully capture the nature of an institution with a complicated structure.

Academic cost centre/department mapping

Departments and academic cost centres may not map on a one-to-one basis. An institution may have a department which allocates staff across multiple academic cost centres.

Take, for example, the department of 'Ancient History'. Staff considered to be within this department may be allocated to either of a History cost centre or Classics cost centre. There may be additional staff within the History cost centre, however, that may have originated from another department - for example, a Department of Classical Studies.

For that reason, the data collected for each cost centre includes:

The act of assigning the staff within a department to each academic cost centre, and producing the resulting AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC values, will also give the values that would correspond to the proportion of staff from each department in each cost centre (AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT). Even where a department is split across cost centres individual members of academic staff will normally be allocated to only one of the cost centres. The exception would be where a staff member has two or more distinct roles which naturally fall into different cost centres. To use the 'History' example from above, the 'Department of Ancient History' may allocate their staff half to the 'History' cost centre and half to 'Classics'. The 'Department of Classical Studies' might allocate all their staff simply to the 'Classics' cost centre:

Departments 'History' cost centre 'Classics' cost centre Total staff in Department
Department of Ancient History 5 5 10
Department of Classical Studies 0 10 10
Total staff in cost centre 5 15 20

In this example, the two cost centres populated from the Department of Ancient History have equal allocations of staff. This gives a value of 50% for AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC for each mapping. The cost centre of 'History' does not have staff from any other department - the AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT value for this is 100%. The 'Classics' cost centre, however, also has staff from the Department of Classical Studies on a 66.7%:33.3% basis. This can be summarised as follows:

AcademicCostCentres. TIER1 AcademicCostCentres. TIER2 AcademicCostCentres. DEPARTMENT AcademicCostCentres. CCENTRE AcademicCostCentres. PROPACC AcademicCostCentres. PROPDEPT
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Ancient History History 50% 100%
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Ancient History Classics 50% 33.3%
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Classical Studies History 0% 0%
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Classical Studies Classics 100% 66.7%

It is recognised that precise percentages may vary year on year due to minor changes in staff recruitment, it is not expected that institutions will recalculate percentages each year. Rather, it is expected that institutions will review the mappings to ensure they are broadly correct and only make updates where it is found that the data are no longer representative, for example where there have been significant changes to staff numbers or organisational structure.

Across the record, every department recorded against one or more academic cost centres must have associated AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC values which sum to 100%, and all academic cost centres that have been used must have AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT values which sum to 100%.

A further, more detailed example may be found in the Further guidance on calculating proportions document.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.