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Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education 2014/15: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2014/15 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) collection (C14018).

This should be used alongside the C14018 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.

Please note, the information below is regarding the HESA data submission system and processes for HE providers. Further education colleges should refer to the HEFCE website for guidance on submitting their DLHE return to HEFCE.Need help? Contact us by email or on +44 (0)1242 211144

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education overview

We collect data across a number of streams. These streams focus on different aspects of higher education.

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) stream collects data about what students completing their higher education experience have gone on to do after six months. Details of which individuals need to be returned to us are included in the Coverage document found in the Coding manual.

The data we collect on behalf of the sector is provided to governments and funding bodies in order to support the regulation of higher education. We also make anonymised data available to the public to enhance understanding of UK higher education and to support its advancement.

Our coding manuals provide you with all the necessary documentation to support your data return. The coding manual contains technical documents giving detailed information on the record's coverage, data specification and submission formats. Familiarising yourself with these documents will help you make an accurate and timely return.

Each collection has its own coding manual which can be found in the Data collection section of our site. By default, you will land on the open collection for each record; you can then select previous or future years.

The coding manuals will be updated throughout the data collection cycle and Record Contacts informed by email when new versions are made live. Be sure to check the manual's Revision history for a summary of changes.

The below table provides an overview of the data collection schedule. A more detailed timetable can be found in the Coding manual.

Period Actions
November 2015 Validate data locally using validation kit
December 2015 First release of data collection system
March 2016 Full release of data collection system
31 March 2016 Return date
7 April 2016 Commit date
7 April to 6 May 2016 Data quality checking period
6 May 2016 Last submission
7 May 2016 Sign off

You submit data via our Data Collection system. To access this, you will need to have an appropriate role in our Identity System (IDS). We publish an IDS user guide which includes information on creating and editing your account.

You will need to be given access to the Data Collection system by the relevant Record Contact at your provider.

Once you have access to the system you will be able to upload files and track the progress of the collection.

The coding manual homepage includes all the technical information you require, including:

  • The data specification
  • File format specifications
  • A detailed collection schedule
  • Our XML data entry tool (available for some streams)
  • Quality rules.

This Support guides page collects together the following resources:

  • User guide
  • Data collection system: Known issues and release history.

In the Support area of the HESA website, you can find:

Our Data innovation section includes information about:

  • Open and recently completed record reviews, including information about changes we are implementing
  • Our Data Futures programme which will transform the higher education information landscape.

In the About section, you can find:

Our expert analysts have a thorough understanding of our records and processes. We are here to support you throughout the data submission process.

Our Destinations of Leavers support is led by Janet, although any member of our team will be able to help.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 211144 

Find out more about Liaison

Our JISCMail groups allow you to discuss specific streams with colleagues from across the sector. We also use the lists to circulate news regarding data requirements and coding manual and validation kit releases.

Join the HESA-DLHE JISCmail list

If you encounter any problems, contact Liaison

Preparation guide

Release schedule

In previous years, we have released the full DLHE data collection system in March. For C14018, we have moved to a phased release approach, giving you the chance to interact with those parts of the system that have been developed as early as possible.

Consequently the first phase of the system opened in December 2015. This included business and schema validation and access to the CASCOT tool.

As soon as further parts of the system have been developed (for example exception validation, or downloadable reports) they will be released to you, allowing you to engage with the data collection earlier. Email updates will be sent to notify record contacts and the HESA-DLHE JISCmail group when this happens.

New User Interface and Submission Process

Our data collection system has been upgraded for this year. These upgrades include an improved user Interface, streamlined submission process bar and new style reports. This is now accessed through a different web page to previous collections:

Identity System (IDS)

The data collection system for the C14018 collection, as well as Minerva, is governed through our Identity System (IDS).

The DLHE record contact for each provider will have access to our data collection system and through the IDS will be able to grant access for themselves and invite additional colleagues to also have access to the system to submit data and view reports.

The Identity System user guide provides detailed help with using our new single sign-on system.

Response rates

In order to supply the sector with the best possible statistics, providers are required to meet specific target response rates for the DLHE Survey. All providers are expected to meet, or exceed these thresholds and we carry out extensive data quality checks to monitor both short and long term success in this regard. The target response rates are:

  • 80% for UK-domiciled (i.e. home) leavers who previously studied full-time
  • 70% for UK-domiciled leavers who studied part-time
  • 80% for Research Council-funded students
  • 50% for all other EU students
  • 20% for non-EU international leavers.

The response rates for the DLHE survey are set to ensure that detailed data can be published and that the results of the survey genuinely reflect the outcomes for students gaining HE qualifications. Therefore, while response rates are set at the provider level, providers should seek to ensure that as far as possible the target threshold is met for all courses, and also that response rates are uniform across all student and course characteristics. In particular, specific groups of students should only be targeted for additional follow-up where response rates in previous years have been significantly lower than the provider's average. Providers must also ensure that they return a record to us for all leavers where they receive a valid response.

SIC coding

Providers are encouraged to avoid populating the SIC field with default codes as this will delay the central coding processes undertaken by our contractor.

Record contact changes

The DLHE record contact is our first point of communication during data collection. If these details change please ensure you notify Liaison to prevent any delay in the granting of this access.

Responding to Minerva queries

You are required to actively engage with data quality checking and the resolution of Minerva queries during the collection period. Best practice suggests you interact with Minerva and our data collection system frequently throughout the checking period. This allows you to gradually resolve issues either through providing explanations of genuine data or submitting revised data that corrects issues. Through adopting this approach, you can iteratively improve the quality of your data and expose issues in a timely manner leading to better quality returns.

Data collection system: Known issues

Issue summary Status Date raised Date resolved

SIC report

Where a student appears in both survey periods for a given year they will have two entries in the SIC report. The report is currently duplicating the same Student record information (such as instance, and Instancekey) across both entries however the SIC information contained within each record is correct. In most cases the SIC data will be the same for both records, the only exception being where the student has either left or gained employment between the two survey periods.


Issue 11702: Quality rules

QR.C14018.Student.XPDLHE02.3 showing incorrect response rate.

Fixed   17 February 2016

Issue 12039: Quality rules

QR.C14018.Employment.EMPHOURS.1 triggering for EMPHOURS < 36, rather than 35.

Fixed   17 February 2016

Issue 12498: Credibility report

Tables SOC1, SOC2, MACT1, ACT1, ACT2, ACT3 currently double counting some figures.

Fixed   4 March 2016

Issue 12022: Credibility report

Hide zero rows functionality not operating correctly in the Employment chapter tables.


Issue 12051: Credibility report

Labels incorrectly reading as 2014/15 twice when 'Show more data selected'. Figure in top left is the 2014/15 data, figure on the top right is the 2013/14 comparative data.

Fixed   4 March 2016

Quality rules

QR.C14018.Employment.EMPPAY.3 is triggering incorrectly for students with EMPPAYPERIOD=4. The rule is not taking into account the value returned in EMPHOURS.

Fixed   15 April 2016

Quality rules

QR.C14018.Student.Teaching.3 is triggering incorrectly for students with TTCID=Q. The rule should not trigger for these students.

Fixed   15 April 2016

Quality rules

QR.C14018.Employment.XLOCN01.2 rule is triggering incorrectly for those students and are being treated as 'Not Known' despite them being further studying or not in work.


Credibility report

Download to Excel functionality causes an error message to display for all chapters when opening the credibility report in Excel. This does not impact upon the data displayed and the error can be dismissed.


Experiencing an issue not listed here? Let us know.

Promoting DLHE

Raising the profile of DLHE can be achieved through targeted and comprehensive promotion.

There are many different ways of promoting DLHE. Which ones are used will depend on the type of organisation:

DLHE promotion

Internal publicity

Displaying promotional material such as eye-catching posters and results charts on notice boards and within the students' union will raise the profile of DLHE so future leavers are aware of what it is and why it is important to respond.

You may also wish to consider promoting DLHE within staff areas. Staff buy-in can be an important tool in increasing response rates due to the information they possess about student destinations and contact details.

Graduation ceremonies

Graduation ceremonies are an ideal opportunity to promote DLHE. They are a chance to encourage graduates to update contact details and remind them that they will receive a survey soon and why it is important to complete it.

You could consider including a poster or flyer in graduation packs. Including the information in packs that guests receive will further raise awareness of the survey and might help with third party responses.

Graduate contact

Contacting leavers through the careers service is a good way of offering leavers support whilst simultaneously updating contact and employment information. Regular alumni events are also an opportunity promote DLHE.

Poster, flyer and postcard designs

We have produced a range of downloadable designs which you can use to publicise and promote DLHE. The designs are available to download for free in A3, A4 and A6.  

Design 1 Design 2 Design 3 Design 4

A3 Poster (pdf)

A4 Poster (pdf)

A6 Postcard (pdf)

A3 Poster (pdf)

A4 (pdf)

A6 Postcard (pdf)

A3 Poster (pdf)

A4 Poster (pdf)

A6 Postcard (pdf)

A3 Poster (pdf)

A4 Poster (pdf)

A6 Postcard (pdf)

Stages of data submission

A. Sending data

Send data by clicking on the 'send data' button in the data collection system. Note that actions not currently available will be greyed out.

Data collection system - Process flow

Browse your computer to locate the file you wish to submit, and upload the file to the data collection system. 


  • Files can have any name
  • Files must be in XML and conform to the relevant XML Schema Definition (XSD) file
  • Files can be compressed using PKZip/WinZip which will significantly reduce the upload time
  • Only a single file can be held on the system.

B. Validation

Automated validation checks (quality rules) will now run.

Further details on the quality rules which apply to this collection can be found in the coding manual.

The Quality rules report will contain the details of any rules triggered by the submission. Make any necessary amendments to the data and resubmit the file to the system. To pass validation, the file must not trigger any validation errors.

You can run some of these validation checks through our validation kit before submitting data to the data collection system. The kit enables you to test your data locally against schema and business stage validation rules prior to submission. You are strongly encouraged to use the validation kit as part of your data preparations.

Remember that you need to process and pass the business-stage validation in order to meet the requirements of the return deadline.

How to obtain a switch

When errors are triggered in the Data Collection system but the data has been checked and is genuine, you need to request a switch. This is because your file will not pass the validation requirements of the collection deadlines if there are any remaining errors.

Please email your switch request to Liaison, stating which rule is causing the error to be triggered and for how many records, together with an explanation as to why the data is genuine.

This will then be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for them to review. They may agree the switch, ask for more information or state how they wish the data to be returned so that an error is no longer triggered.

This request should be sent well in advance of any deadline, to allow sufficient time for a decision to be made.

When a switch has been agreed, it will be applied to your data for the count specified and the data will be reprocessed. This will resolve the error.

If the count increases, the rule will be triggered again, and you will need to request that the count on the switch be increased. This will be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for approval.

To proceed to the next stage in the submission process, a valid file needs to have been submitted. The data will then be classed as 'committable' and the option to process a COMMIT transaction will be made available through the data collection system.  

Prior to committing data, you should review all of the reports produced on the data collection system and make any necessary corrections to the data.

The COMMIT transaction sends a copy of your submission to our data quality assurance team and, where appropriate, to the relevant funding council. We analyse your return in parallel with your own analysis.


A passed commit transaction will lock the system to prevent the data from being amended. This is to allow our data quality assurance team to analyse the submission. To unlock the system you will need to request a DECOMMIT transaction.

Request a decommit by email or on +44 (0)1242 388531

Remember that you need to process and pass a COMMIT transaction in order to meet the requirements of the commit deadline.

Once we have analysed your committed return, data quality queries will be posted onto the Issue Management System data quality database. Relevant users will be notified by email when these queries are available to view. The Issue Management System user guide provides help on using the Issue Management System.

Access the Issue Management System data quality database

Once your data has passed all the stages of validation, and any issues highlighted during credibility checking have been addressed, we will set the return to CREDIBLE. This produces the sign-off form.

When data is set to credible, a link to the sign-off form is automatically emailed to the head of the submitting organisation as well as the appropriate record contact. The form should be completed and signed by the head of the reporting organisation and returned to us by email or post. This verification offers both you and us assurances regarding onward use of the data.

Sign-off completes the data collection process.