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Staff 2016/17: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2016/17 Staff collection (C16025).

This should be used alongside the C16025 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.

Need help? Contact us by email or on +44 (0)1242 211144

Staff overview

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.

Period Actions
August 2016 to March 2017 HE providers' local preparation
Early March 2017 Validate data locally using validation kit
July 2017 Preparation guide released
August 2017 Full data collection system opens
30 September 2017 Return date
16 October 2017 Commit date
16 October 2017 to 10 November 2017 Data quality checking period
10 November 2017 Last submission
14 November 2017 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.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388531 

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-Staff JISCMail list

If you encounter any problems, contact Liaison

Preparation guide

Key changes for the C16025 2016/17 Staff record

A document summarising the changes that have been made to the Staff record for 2016/17 can be found in the C16025 coding manual. A full list of the changes can be found in the Revision History. Any changes made to the 2016/17 Staff record after the first release of the manual will also be documented here, so you should frequently reference this web page.

Updates to user interface and submission processes

Our data collection system has been upgraded for this year to show the progress of your file in meeting key deadlines.

In addition, we now operate a tolerance approach for switch requests whereby the quality rule will not be switched entirely, but instead for an agreed maximum number of counts. This request should still be raised in the usual way by emailing [email protected] with an explanation as to why the rule is not applicable. HESA will then seek approval from the relevant Funding Council to switch this rule within a specified tolerance. If this tolerance is exceeded it will re-trigger as an error and you should get back in touch to seek approval to increase this tolerance.

Accessing the data collection system

Access to the data collection system for the forthcoming C16025 collection, as well as Minerva, will be governed through our Identity System (IDS).

The Staff record contact for each provider will have access to the data collection system and through IDS will be able to invite additional colleagues to also have access to the system to submit data and view reports. Further information can be found in the IDS User Guide.

System release

For the C16025 Staff record, we have adopted an agile approach to data collection. Functional components of the system are being released incrementally during the period leading up to full functionality being released by early August. This approach gives you more flexibility in when data can be submitted. This in turn provides a longer window for data quality checks to be made. 

Details of the contents of each release can be accessed via the Release history.

Quality rules

Validation rules previously known as Business and Exception have now been collectively rebranded to be quality rules. There is a new quality rules webpage accessed via this page. This single webpage presents all the data quality validation in one place, rather than the rules appearing on each page for individual data items. This ensures greater visibility of the portfolio of rules, easier searching as well as a downloadable spreadsheet of rules.

HESA Amal tool

For the C16025 collection you need to submit a single file containing full data. Each subsequent file you upload will replace the previous one. If you prepare your data in multiple *.xml files, our XML amalgamator tool will combine these records prior to submission.

Guidance from Statutory Customers

HEFCE would like to remind providers about the importance of meeting the published collection schedule. HEFCE will review providers' performance as part of the annual provider review process.

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved

Issue ID: 46488 - Credibility Report - SAL4

Average figures are being incorrectly calculated for UCEA Level 2 for last years (15/16) data only. Correct figures are available from Liaison if required.

As the collection is due to close on the 14th November, this issue will not be fixed within the current collection.

Open 07 November 2017  

Issue ID: 44204 - QR.C16025.Contract.LEVELS.3

This quality rule error is triggering correctly but displaying the incorrect information. 

The instances that are triggering this rule can be found within the LVL1 Credibility Report that is available. To do this please use the 'Total' drilldown option and sort by the 'Levels' column.

Closed 21 September 2017 28 September 2017

Issue ID: 43444 - Credibility Reports

The populations in the following reports incorrectly includes starters who began after 1 August 2015, not starters who began after 1 August 2016: PREV3, PREV4, ACTL2, ATQ2, ETH2, HQHD2, LOCL2, NAT3 & PREV2.

Closed 4 September 2017 5 September 2017

For info only: Credibility Reports

Shading rules on credibility reports do not appear until your submission has finished processing. The reports and tables will appear first and the shading rules later. So whilst you're transaction is processing, please wait until it has completely finished before checking if you have triggered any shading rules. 

For info only 31 August 2017  

Issue ID: 35249 - Credibility Report Download to Excel

When downloading credibility reports to excel there is an issue with sub-headings (Part-time, Full-time, Total) not being pulled through.

The following tables with this issue are: ETH4, SAL1, SAL2, SAL3, SAL4, SOBS1, MOE2, HCC1.

Closed 25 August 2017 14 September 2017

Issue ID: 41530 - Credibility Reports

To use the drill down functionality on the credibility reports please always go into the chapters by clicking on the 'view' button; you can then use the blue triangles to view the figures. If this method is not followed then you will experience issues with this information displaying.

For info only 09 August 2017  

Issue ID: 41484 - QR.C16025.Activity.CCENTRE.5

A number of providers are experiencing an issue where this rule is triggering despite knowingly recording cost centres from last year.

Currently all cost centres are being recognised as 'New' despite being returned in previous years, as data from C15025 has not been pulled through correctly into the current collection.

Closed 09 August 2017 10 August 2017
Release ID Release date Release Summary
45 13 July 2017

This is the first release of the data collection system. 

The C16025 Staff record collection includes drill down functionality on the following credibility reports:  AGE1, AGE2, ATQ1, ATQ2, ATQ3, HCC1, HCC2, LVL1, MOE3, SAL1, SAL4 & SALG1

In addition, a concept of 'tolerances' has been incorporated to quality rules.

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.