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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

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.

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 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)

Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved

Issue ID: 65470 - Credibility Report (LVL2)

For credibility report Staff FTE by contract levels and SOC2010 major groups (LVL2) in the Contract chapter, the values returned for the row ‘B0 -UCEA level 2’ for last year, 2016/17, are incorrectly shown as 0 for all columns.  The correct figures are shown for this year, 2017/18.  Please note the correct values are stored in the database, it is just a display issue.



Closed 12 October 2018 19 October 2018

Issue ID: 66879 - Expected Contract Population

The Expected contract population download is not always returning all the relevant records.  Please note the data stored in the database and displayed elsewhere is correct, this issue only impacts this download.



Closed 1 November 2018 7 November 2018











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.