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Staff 2017/18: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2017/18 Staff collection (C17025).

This should be used alongside the C17025 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

What is the Staff stream?

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.

What is a coding manual?

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.

How do I submit data to HESA?

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.

Submit data

Where can I find...?

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:

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:

Where can I find further help with the Staff record? Who are Liaison?
 

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 211144 

Find out more about Liaison

Staff record JISCMail list

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

Preparation Guide (C17025)

Key changes for the C17025 2017/18 Staff record

The Notification of Changes outlines the full changes to C17025.  Providers should also consult the Revision History page of the coding manual for a full technical list of changes to the C17025 record specifications.

One key change for C17025 is the collection of data on members of a provider’s governing body.  To help explain to governing body members why we are now collecting data on them, we have published the following statement in collaboration with the OfS.

System release

Functional components of the system are released incrementally in the months leading up to August when the system will have full functionality.  We open the system before it has full functionality in order that you have longer to upload a file and perform quality checks on it.

You can monitor the contents of each release via the Release history.

Accessing the data collection system

Access to the data collection system for the forthcoming C17025 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.

Validation process reminder

Providers are reminded that we 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.

Quality rules

You can find a general FAQ on quality rules here.  You can find further information on specific rules triggered on the following webpage.  The quality issues report in the data collection system will also highlight which areas of data have triggered specific rules.

HESA Amalgamation tool

You need to submit a single file containing full data in the data collection system, and 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 for you in order to submit one file to the system.

Guidance from Statutory Customers

The funding councils would like to remind providers about the importance of meeting the published collection schedule.  The meeting of deadlines will be monitored closely by the funding councils.

Data collection system: Release history and known issues (to follow)

Stages of data submission

Stage 1: Submitting and validating data

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. 

Tips:

  • 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.

Stage 2: Committing and decommitting data

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.

Decommitting

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 211144

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

Stage 3: Credibility checks

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

Access the Minerva Data Quality database

Stage 4: Sign off

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.