Staff 2014/15: Support guides
This page provides an overview of the 2014/15 Staff collection (C14025).
This should be used alongside the C14025 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.
We collect data across a number of streams. These streams focus on different aspects of higher education.
The Staff stream collects data about staff employed in the UK at a higher education provider. Details of which staff 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.
|August 2015||Data collection opens|
|30 September 2015||Return date|
|15 October 2015||Commit date|
|15 October to 12 November 2015||Data quality checking period|
|12 November 2015||Last submission|
|13 November 2015||Sign-off|
You submit data via our online 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, track the progress of your submission, view data quality issues and download reports. An overview of the submission and validation process is given below. Further details are provided in the Coding manual under the 'Submission process and quality assurance' section heading.
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:
- Preparation guide
- Stream user guide
- Data collection system: Known issues and release history.
In the Contact and support area of our site, you can find:
- User guides for our Identity System (IDS) and Minerva Data Quality database (HESA subcribers only).
- Support with using XML files
- Our XML amalgamator tool and Validation kits available for some collections.
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 us section, you can find:
Changes made to the Staff record for 2014/15
A document summarising the changes that have been made to the Staff record for 2014/15 can be found in the coding manual. A full list of the changes can be found in the Revision history for the coding manual. Any changes made to the 2014/15 Staff record after the first release of the manual will also be documented here, so you should frequently reference this web page.
Accessing the Data Collection System
The Staff record contact for each provider will have access to the data collection system and through the IDS will be able to invite additional colleagues to also have access to the system to submit data and view reports. This replaces the previous system of access codes and PINs. Further information can be found in the IDS User Guide.
Together with the UK funding councils, we are soon to publish a code of practice on data collection. Formally the code comes into practice from the reporting year 2015/16. However, given the nature of the code, it is expected that providers will wish to ensure that their 2014/15 returns are prepared in a way that is consistent with the code.
HEFCE intend to publish initial data on staff teaching qualifications at each provider in Autumn 2015 based on the 2013-14 staff record. It is anticipated that this will be the first of an annual series of publications. The levels of unknown data continue to be a concern to HEFCE and any published statistics will clearly highlight the extent of unknown data at each provider.
C14042 Estates management record 2014/15
Staff record information is included in some of the data items contained in the Estates management data collection. Please ensure that you liaise with colleagues completing this return to provide them with the necessary information to complete the associated staff FTE data items. Details about the collection can be viewed at C14042.
Data supply files
The Data supply files are available to download following every test_commit/commit transaction. These files are designed to provide the Person, Contract and Activity tables as downloadable .csv or XML files during the data collection process. This enables you to replicate the populations used in the check documentation. The files can also be exported to your local systems to act as a basic data management tool.
You are reminded that responsibility for data quality rests with providers, and that we aim to support you in ensuring your data is of the highest quality through the provision of check documentation and parallel scrutiny of the same. You are therefore advised to ensure that sufficient time is spent examining the check documentation produced through a commit, to check that errors have not been introduced that would cause any degradation to data quality. As you are in a better position than us to recognise more detailed anomalies within your data, using local knowledge of the intricacies of your own organisations, you are strongly encouraged to closely scrutinise the check documentation reports.
To assist you in the role of review of committed data, we provide a guide the interpretation of check documentation. This guide will be available from the C14025 coding manual.
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.
As a guide we expect that these queries should be answered within 5 working days.
We expect you to have responded to all queries raised prior to sign-off by the head of your provider. Failure to do so may result in the sign-off not being accepted.
All reported issues are available under Known issues. These include any fixed and open issues that we are aware of.
Derived field specifications
Record contact changes
The record contact is the first point of communication during data collection. Access to our data collection system is also managed by the nominated record contact. If these details change please ensure you notify Liaison to prevent any delay in the granting of this access.
Data collection system: Known issues
|Issue summary||Status||Date raised||Date resolved|
Validation kit, fields Contract.ENDCON, Contract.STARTCON and Person.DATEFHEI
The removal of 'Reason for null' has caused a conflict with some of the rolled on Business Rules. If you do not include 'Reason for null' the following Business Rules may trigger an error and need to be switched within the Validation Kit:
|Fixed||20 May 2015|
Check documentation: Checkdoc - item 11
The values in checkdoc item 11 for 'Staff (excluding atypical) who started in this reporting year' is incorrect for PREVEMP codes 22, 23, 99.
|Fixed||9 Spetember 2015|
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remember that you need to process and pass a COMMIT transaction in order to meet the requirements of the commit deadline.
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.