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Staff Record 2014/15 - Staff identifier

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Staff Record 2014/15

All fields

Staff identifier

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Short nameSTAFFID

This field records a unique code allocated to staff when they are first entered onto the HESA Staff record. The code remains with the member of staff for the whole of their career within higher education

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All staff


The combination of Person.STAFFID and Contract.CONTID field must be unique within a HEP's submission.

This identifier is the key to the whole return as it enables record linking and tracking.

HESA does not yet require staff names. HEPs, however, must keep a record of these in order to cross-reference to the unique Staff identifiers.

The value of the HESA Staff record to statutory customers is greatly increased where it is possible to track staff movements between HEPs. HEPs are reminded that for staff with activity codes in SOC2010 Major Groups 1, 2, and 3, where staff have previously been employed at a UK HEP they should seek the Staff identifier from that HEP.

The Staff Identifier Directory is provided to staff and Staff identifier contacts at all HEPs to facilitate contact between HEPs. It is particularly important for Staff identifier contacts to be kept up to date, in order for HESA to provide HEPs with a functional Staff Identifier Directory. Liaison contact updates are currently being sought from HEPs. Please ensure that the details held for your HEP are correct and current. Even after confirmation, please advise HESA promptly of any changes to contact arrangements that may arise during the year.

There is a desire amongst many users of the Staff record to be able to better understand careers within the HE sector, most specifically academic careers. In order to do this it is necessary to be able to track staff across years. Whilst the HESA staff identifier works well for the time that an individual remains in one HEP, it does not always travel when staff move around the sector. There has been much encouragement given to HEPs in recent years to improve this situation, but there are still some significant gaps, limiting the analysis that can be done with the data.

HESA is now coming under pressure to make changes to the record to allow more robust and reliable tracking. Specifically the proposals are to add names or (partial) national insurance numbers. These proposals were included in the consultation but very firmly rejected by HEPs concerned about the perceived loss of anonymity and consequent impact on individuals' willingness to provide other information about themselves. It has been agreed that names will not be added to the record for 2012/13 while other options are explored. However, the pressure from data users remains and if another solution is not reached in the next few months then names will be added to the record for 2013/14. HEPs should develop their systems in the assumption that these fields will be added to the record for 2013/14. The specification of the fields will match those used for the Student.SURNAME and Student.FNAMES fields in the Student Record.

Where staff return to a HEP with two STAFFIDs (one from the previous HEP and one from the reporting HEP) the ID from the HEP they are returning to should be used to retain tracking within the HEP.

Methods for generating Staff identifiers

HEP method

The structure of the HESA Staff identifier is as follows:

First 2 characters:

Year of entry into HEP (last 2 digits of calendar year). Those entering before 1 August 2003 and whose year of entry is unknown should use 'XX'.

Next 4 characters:

HEP identifier from (as in field 2, HEP identifier), PLUS 1000 (e.g. if the HEP identifier is 0134, the digits in the Staff identifier are 1134).

Next 6 characters:

6 digit reference number internally allocated by the HEP.

Last character:

Check digit.

USR method

Staff with an old 9 digit USR staff number should retain this number, preceding it with 4 zeros. HESA would prefer anyone with an old USR number to keep this under the HESA system to facilitate the tracking of individuals through their HE careers. If a member of staff has been out of the sector for a while, or not previously returned to HESA, but received a USR number, then, if this is easy to trace, the USR number should be used, otherwise it is acceptable to issue a new HESA Staff identifier. HEPs are encouraged to trace employees' identifiers. The emphasis is on the need to retain the same Staff identifier in future in order to be able track future movements.

Using an identifier allocated by another HEP

For staff whose contract is for an activity where the SOC code is in groups 1, 2, or 3 and has already been allocated a HESA Staff identifier by a previous HEP, then that identifier should be returned instead of allocating a new Staff identifier (and, ideally, where staff are employed by two HEPs concurrently, then the same Staff identifier should be used by both HEPs). In order to accomplish this linkage, HEPs will need to obtain from the previous employer the HESA Staff identifier. As the HESA Staff record is currently anonymous, HESA will not be in a position to offer a central look-up service. However, in order to help inter-institution liaison, HESA has circulated staff data stream liaison contact details for operational purposes.

Calculation of Check Digit

The check digit is calculated using the first 12 digits, providing a means of detecting errors of transcription in the identifier. To calculate the check digit, each of the first 12 digits is multiplied by a "weight" which depends on its position in the identifier, and the resulting products added. The check digit is then obtained by subtracting the final digit of the resulting sum from ten.

In this calculation, the character X has a value of zero.

The weights used are:

Digit position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9

A CheckDigit programme is available to assist HEPs.


A lecturer at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London (for which the HESA identifier is 0141), starting in calendar year 2003 is allocated the internal number 123456. The check digit calculation for their Staff identifier, 031141123456, would be calculated as:

Number 0 3 1 1 4 1 1 2 3 4 5 6

Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9

Product 0 9 7 9 4 3 7 18 3 12 35 54

The sum of the products is 161, the final digit being 1, so the check digit is 10 - 1 = 9. The full identifier is therefore '0311411234569'.

If the lecturer in the example above had entered the higher education provider (HEP) prior to 2003, and has been allocated the Staff identifier 'XX1141123456' (because year of entry is unknown) the check digit would be calculated as:

Number X X 1 1 4 1 1 2 3 4 5 6

Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9

Product 0 0 7 9 4 3 7 18 3 12 35 54

The product of the first two digits should be counted as 0, which makes the sum of all the products 152. As the final digit is 2 the check digit is 10 - 2 = 8. The full identifier is therefore 'XX11411234568'.

Note: If the final digit of the sum of the products is 0 the check digit would be the final digit after the subtraction i.e. 10 - 0 = 10, check digit is 0.

Business rules

No two records can have the same Person.STAFFID


Person.STAFFID must not contain all zeroes.


Characters 3 to 6 of Person.STAFFID must be in the range 0000-0099 or 1001-1211 or 1228-1230 or 3001 (excluding 1005, 1093, 1094, 1130, 1166 and 1183).


Character 13 of Person.STAFFID must pass the checksum test given in the coding manual

Reason required

To facilitate tracking and analyse the mobility in the higher education workforce

Part of
Field length13
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: STAFFID
Data type: STAFFIDType
Date modified2015-04-30
Change management notesBusiness stage rule 3 updated to include higher education providers (HEPs) 0229 'The National Film and Television School' and 0230 'Plymouth College of Art'.

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