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AP student 2017/18: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2017/18 AP student collection (C17054).

This should be used alongside the C17054 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.

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

AP student overview

We collect data across a number of streams. These streams focus on different aspects of higher education.

The AP student stream collects data about students studying at alternative higher education providers. The sector uses this term to describe specialist providers of HE. Details of which students 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 the government and the relevant funding council 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 211144 

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-AP student JISCmail list

If you encounter any problems, contact Liaison

Preparation guide

Change to the data collection schedule

Providers are reminded that the data collection schedule for C17054 will fall earlier than in previous years.  All deadlines, from submitting complete data to the final sign-off for data submissions, will occur at least one week earlier.  The complete data collection schedule is available here.

Change to the coverage statement

The Alternative provider (AP) student record is collected for all students registered at the reporting provider who are studying designated and non-designated courses leading to a higher education qualification or credit. The C17054record will be the first time that:

  • All providers return students studying undergraduate non-designated courses lasting less than one year
  • All providers are required to return postgraduates on both taught and research courses.

Full coverage of the AP Student Record is outlined here.

New validation on open instances

There is a new warning that highlights where a record has not been returned in this reporting year, however an active record was sent to HESA in a previous reporting year.  This will be changed to an error in C18054.  This is to help providers close open instances that should be closed, which will support effective migration of records to the data collection return under data futures.


Further changes to the C17054 AP Student record

The Notification of Changes outlines the full changes to C17054.  Providers should also consult the Revision History page of the coding manual for a full technical list of changes to the C17054 record specifications.

Data Protection

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies from 25 May 2018.  Article 13 of the GDPR requires data controllers to provide information to data subjects that identifies data controllers and describes their purposes for processing personal data, including transfers and disclosures to other data controllers. HESA’s Collection Notices provide this information for students, staff and graduates on behalf of HESA, HESA Services Ltd, and the other organisations who are data controllers in common of HESA datasets.

HE providers must inform students that their personal data will be submitted to HESA, and must make the HESA Collection Notices available to all relevant data subjects. HESA recommend that HE providers include a link from their own privacy notices to the HESA Collection Notices.  The Collection Notices are published at

Graduate Outcomes

Graduate Outcomes is superseding the DLHE record and will survey graduates who complete their studies in the 2017/18 reporting year and onwards.  Graduates will be surveyed in 3-monthly cohorts.  A file for the expected graduate outcomes population for cohort A will be generated and provided in the AP Student Record in the data collection system.  Expected populations for subsequent cohorts B,C and D are planned to be available in the Graduate Outcomes record in the data collection system.  Further information on the collection can be found here.

Data Collection Deadlines

Providers are reminded about the importance of meeting data collection deadlines. Statutory customers will consider the meeting of these deadlines as part of their analysis of provider risk.

Information Reporting Interface Service (IRIS) output

The Office for Students (OfS) will generate four outputs to allow providers to verify, and where appropriate correct, their data before signing it off. Three of these outputs (HEAPES comparison, Student Loans Company comparison and Pearson qualification comparison) compare the data you submit to us with data from other sources. The fourth output will be final year outcome metrics that will provide early sight of an academic performance indicator which will be shared with the Department for Education once the data is signed-off. The OfS will write to you in early August with more information about these outputs.

The first of these outputs (HEAPES comparison) will be made available to providers from mid-August as part of the Information Reporting Interface Service (IRIS) reporting available through our data collection system. The other outputs which will also form part of the IRIS output, will become available in the following months. You are required to review all of these outputs to ensure that the data returned to us is accurate.

Validation kit

Our validation kit grants you earlier access to the validation processes to test against schema and business stage quality rules. The 2017/18 AP student validation kit is available for download.

Minerva queries

During the data quality checking phase of data collection, 'committed' data will be reviewed by HESA and the Office for Students (OfS).  Resulting data quality queries will be raised with providers through the Minerva system.

You are required to actively engage with data quality checking and the resolution of Minerva queries during the collection period.  Providers are expected to 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.

We expect you to respond to all queries, before your file can be set to credible and signed-off by your accountable officer.  As a guide we expect data queries to be answered within 5 working days.

Known issues

All reported issues on the AP Student record are communicated under Known issues. These include both open and fixed issues that we are aware of.

Derived field specifications

Analysis and outputs provided by us use derived field groupings to produce populations. Full details of the derived fields that we use in analysis of the C17054 AP student data are available from the derived fields specification page in the coding manual.

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, and they have the ability to grant system roles to colleagues. The Record Contact should inform Liaison of any changes to contact details, including if a new record contact is taking over.

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved

Issue ID: 67276 - GO population report

The CENSUS column in the GO sruvey population download (for both XML and CSV) has 'DEC' instead of 'Dec' as is says in the specification

Please note: this will not be fixed for C17054 now and this report will not exist in C18054 anyway as this was only an interim solution for this year. From next year you should get your Graduate Outcomes population from the Graduate Outcomes provider portal. 

Open 12 November 2018  

Issue ID: 64899 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.Student.SURNAME.3 rule was triggering a 'target for invocation' error message, and not displaying the records that have triggered the rule. 

Closed 28 September 2018 1 October 2018

Issue ID: 64871 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.StudentEquality.RELBLF.3 continuity rule is triggering for HUSIDs that do not have any associated designated Instance Periods. 

Closed 27 September 2018 1 October 2018

Issue ID: 64204 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.Student.HUSID.2 rule is triggering incorrectly. 

Closed 13 September 2018 14 September 2018

Issue ID: 63796 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.Instance.1 rule is triggering incorrectly. We don't think it's taken everything into account that it should be. 

Closed 7 September 2018 12 September 2018

Issue ID: 63897 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.6 business rule is triggering incorrectly - providers are triggering when they shouldn't be. It looks like we need to list more COURSEAIMs into the rule, so the rule doesn't trigger any more. 

Closed 3 September 2018 12 September 2018

Issue ID: 63125 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.QualificationsAwarded.1 rule was triggering a 'target for invocation' error message, and not displaying the records that have triggered the rule. 

Close 17 August 2018 22 August 2018

Issue ID: 62553 - Quality Rules

There are a few rules that reference OfS's designation file that aren't triggering incorrectly (i.e. they shouldn't be triggering). We agree with OfS that the course aims they put in the designation file could be padded with leading zeros, however we didn't realise at the time that this would cause the quality rules to trigger unexpectedly. OfS are supplying us with a new designation file without the leading zeros, to fix this issue. Examples of rules that have been triggering are: QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.8 and QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.9. 

Closed 31 July 2018 22 August 2018

Issue ID: 62610 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.1 rule is triggering for QUALGRADEs Q, X or U when it shouldn't be. We will amend the rule to allow these to be returned. 

Closed 6 August 2018 22 August 2018

Issue ID: 61596 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.QualificationsAwarded.1 rule is triggering for records that do have a Qualification Awarded entity against them, which is incorrect. 

Closed 25 July 2018 30 July 2018

Issue ID: 61412 - Schema

The schema for the QUALGRADE / QUALTYPE combinations hasn't been updated. This is causing providers to trigger quality rules when they shouldn't be. 

Closed 13 July 2018 19 July 2018

Issue ID: 61110 - Quality Rules

The QR.C17054.Student.SSN.4 rule seems to be triggering incorrectly for students that don't have an SSN returned. 

Closed 6 July 2018 13 July 2018

Issue ID: 58012 - Quality Rules

There are some rules that are triggering with the following message: "Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation. Inner exception: Object reference not set to an instance of an object." (for example, rule INITIATIVES.7) 

Closed 14 May 2018 23 May 2018
Release ID Release date Release summary
86 1 October 2018

QR.C17054.StudentEquality.RELBLF.3 - to fix bug 64871

QR.C17054.Student.SURNAME.3 - to fix bug 64899 

85 20 September 2018

QR.C17054.EntryProfile.PREVINST.1 exception rule has been updated to not be required for student on non-designated courses. 

84A 14 September 2018

QR.C17054.Student.HUSID.2 business rule amended - to fix bug 64204

QR.C17054.Instance.ENDDATE.9 rule added - to validate that an end date is not returned when a student is not in active study. 

83 12 September 2018

QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.6 business rule has been amended, the COURSEAIMs have been extended - to fix bug 63897 

QR.C17054.Instance.1 business rule has been amended - to fix bug 63796 

82 5 September 2018

QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.11 business rule amended - COURSEAIM code changed 

Credibility shading rule on SIN2 table fixed. 

81 28 August 2018

QR.C17054.QualificationAwarded.QUAL.15 exception rule amended to match the SIN1 and SIN2 credibility tables. 

QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.17 business rule plain English amended to make it clearer. 

QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MODE.10 business rule amended (so it doesn't contradict with MODE.12 rule). 

80 22 August 2018

Commit button and Sign-off form are now available to providers. 

A new designation file has been uploaded - which will update the designation status report for some providers. 

The Credibility report TAR1P shading rule has been amended (query triggers when difference is now greater than 20%). 

Business rule QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.QualificationsAwarded.1 has been amended - to fix bug 63125. 

Excpetion rule QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.1 has been updated to allow generic values QUALGRADEs Q, U or X to be accepted. 

A new derived field has been added - XPUBPOPG01. 

The sign-off deadline on the progress tracker has been updated. 

76 25 July 2018

Credibility report table GO1 shading rule added. The derived field specification link was broken and has now been fixed.

QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.QualificationsAwarded.1 display has been amended. 

75 19 July 2018

There is a new Designation Status Report available to providers. This report is an extract, for information, of the Designation file provided to HESA from the OfS. The Designation file is derived from the Existing Regulatory Data available on the OfS website. The designation file is used by HESA for validation purposes in the AP Student collection. 

There is now a draft version of the NSS report available. Please be aware that this is an early version and therefore may not be correct. The final version will be released in the coming weeks, once any changes for this year have been agreed with OfS. 

Amended the QUALTYPE / QUALGRADE reference data - to fix bug 61412 

74 13 July 2018

Credibility reports have been updated, including the following:

  • GO1 and GO2 added the split into PGR/PGT
  • SOF1, SOF2 and SOF2P change in coverage to include all students
  • CLAS1P and TAR1P shading rules amended (query does not trigger unless more than 5 instances) 
  • SSN2 and SOF2P shading rules removed
  • FTE1, FTE2 and FTE3 quality notes updated 

Amended 2 business rules:

  • QR.C17054.Instance.COMDATE.6 - to exclude Non-English UK domicile students
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.HEAPESPOP.23 - rule now doesn't trigger unless there are more than 50 instances

Amended 1 business rule:

  • QR.C17054.Student.SSN.4 - to fix bug 61110 

Added 1 exception rule:

  • QR.C17054.Instance.ENDDATE.8 - these new rules are to highlight records that need to be returned and potentially closed off. These will both be warnings in C17054 and then made errors in C18054. 

The Unistats report is now available to providers.

The links to the coding manual from the data entry tool weren't all working - this has been fixed now. 

The XTPOINTS Tariff appendix has been updated to use the latest version (V.1.6) 

73 4 July 2018

Credibility reports have been updated, including the following:

  • Drill down added to: SYR1, SYR2, EXPL1, EXPL2, DOM3 
  • DOM3 and SBJ1 added more shading rules 
  • SOF1 and SSN3 amended to remove SSELIG 
  • TAR1 and TAR1P changed to use XTPOINTS01 and XTPOINTSGP01 derived fields 

Deleted 4 business rules (due to valid entries 07, 30 and 96 being removed from MSTUFEE):

  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.3
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.4
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.5
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.16

Added 9 business rule (mostly to move credibility shading rules into quality rules):

  • QR.C17054.StudentEquality.ETHNIC.9 - to prevent English providers using Scotland only codes
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.18
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.19
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.20
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.21
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.22
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.23
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.24
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.25

Amended 4 business rules:

  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.1 - due to change in coverage to all students
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.14 - due to change in coverage to all students
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.15 - to change to standard registration population
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.16 - to change to standard registration population
72 27 June 2018

The following quality rules have been updated:

Amended 4 business rules: 

  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.1 (just the plain english) 
  • QR.C17054.Instance.GROSSFEE.13 
  • QR.C17054.Instance.GROSSFEE.15
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MODE.10

Deleted 1 exception rule:

  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.14 

Amended 4 exception rules:

  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.5
  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.6
  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.7 
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.PREVINST.1

Credibility reports have been rolled forward for 2017/18. Most of them have been updated now (mainly to include PGR students in the reports). 

71 20 June 2018

Three reports have now been updated for this year with minor changes and are now available to providers:

  • Continuity Population - removed the exclusion on LOCSDY S students 
  • Data Supply - added INTENTLEV field 
  • Frequency Counts - added INTENTLEV and removed SSELIG field 

Continuity population report – this report provides a list of students for whom a record is expected in the C18054 return.  This is based on students returned in the C17054 record.

Data Supply report - this report gives you a copy of your data back but also includes all the derivations that we apply to the data so that you can recreate the Credibility tables and produce your own management information reports. Data supply includes both Excel and XML files so that you can either import directly into your system or utilise the reports locally to create pivot tables and charts.   

Frequency Counts report – this report shows the number of students returned against selected fields and their valid entries in the AP Student record.  

Deleted 2 business rules: 

  • QR.C17054.Course.REGBODY.3
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.8

Amended 4 business rules:

  • QR.C17054.Course.REGBODY.2 (plain english only)
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.2
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.3
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALSBJ.2 

Added 4 business rules:

  • QR.C17054.Instance.INTENTLEV.3
  • QR.C17054.Instance.INTENTLEV.4 
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.17
  • QR.C17054.StudentEquality.RELBLF.3

Amended 11 exception rules:

  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.10 (HEFCE to OfS only)
  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.11 (HEFCE to OfS only)
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QualificationsOnEntry.3 
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.1
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.4
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.3
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.4
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.QUALENT3.5
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.14 
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MSTUFEE.15 
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.15
70 13 June 2018

Amended 9 business rules (mostly due to the new QUAL codes):

  • QR.C17054.Instance.ENDDATE.6
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALTYPE.3 - new QUALTYPE exceptions added into the rule
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.CLASS.2 
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.CLASS.3 
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.CLASS.4 
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.1
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.2
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.4
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.5

Added 4 business rules (mostly due to the new QUAL codes):

  • QR.C17054.Instance.ENDDATE.7 - to check PERIODEND and ENDDATE
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.11
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.13
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.14 

Amended 2 exception rules:

  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.YEARSTU.9 - to exclude provider level designation
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.HEAPESPOP.13 - to exclude INITIATIVES=K 

Added 1 exception rules:

  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.15 - to replace a manual check in Credibility Report QUAL1 

Added 1 continuity rule: 

  • QR.C17054.Instance.RSNEND.8 - Warning on live instances that were previously closed
69ii 5 June 2018

Amended 2 business rules:

  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.YEARPRG.2 (now an error)
  • QR.C16054.InstancePeriod.YEARPRG.4 (now an error)

Added 2 business rules: 

  • QR.C17054.Instance.RSNEND.7
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.INITIATIVES.8

Amended 1 exception rule:

  • QR.C17054.EntryProfileQUALENT3.2 (XTARIFF changed to XTPOINTS)

XTPOINTS derived field updated following recent coding manual changes and XTPOINTSGP01 derived field created. 

69i 30 May 2018

A number of quality rules have been added or updated, mostly due to the increase in coverage this year, including the addition of all postgraduate students.

Amended 17 business rules: 

  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.13
  • QR.C17054.Course.REGBODY.1
  • QR.C17054.Course.TTCID.2
  • QR.C17054.Course.TTCID.5
  • QR.C17054.CourseSubject.SBJCA.3
  • QR.C17054.CourseSubject.SBJCA.4
  • QR.C17054.Student.BIRTHDTE.4
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.POSTCODE.10
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.3
  • QR.C17054.Instance.GROSSFEE.13
  • QR.C17054.Instance.GROSSFEE.15
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.HEAPESPOP.26
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.INITIATIVES.1
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MODE.3
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.STULOAD.11
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.STULOAD.15
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.2

Added 9 business rules:

  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.15
  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.16
  • QR.C17054.Instance.INTENTLEV.1
  • QR.C17054.Instance.INTENTLEV.2
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MODE.12
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MODE.13
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.MODE.14
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.STULOAD.16
  • QR.C17054.QualificationsAwarded.QUAL.10

Amended 5 exception rules:

  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.6
  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.8
  • QR.C17054.Course.COURSEAIM.9
  • QR.C17054.EntryProfile.PREVINST.1 
  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.STULOAD.12
68 23 May 2018

Amended 1 business rule:

  • QR.C17054.InstancePeriod.INITIATIVES.7 - to fix bug 58012

Amended 1 exception rule: 

  • QR.C17054.QualificationsOnEntry.QUALGRADE.4 - for new COURSEAIMs
67 11 May 2018 The Graduate Outcomes population report is now available - this is for the first cohort only December 2018, as an interim solution. Once the Graduates Outcomes collection site has been developed, the full functionality for reviewing the population information and returning contact details will become available on the Graduate Outcomes collection site. 
64 16 March 2018

This release includes:

  • the first release of the data collection system - the quality rules, entry profile, credibility and data supply reports have been rolled forward. However please note that the 2017/18 changes have not yet been made, and it will currently look like it did in 2016/17. 
  • the downloadable validation kit, including a roll on of business rules, exceptions and continuity validation 
  • the XML data entry tool 

Please note that access to the data collection system is governed by the Identity system. Users will need to ensure that they have the relevant permissions attached to their Identity system account in order to access the data collection system. 

Entry Profile report – this report highlights where an entry profile has not been returned for an instance, and helps providers to identify whether this has been omitted accidently, or where the UHN link has been unintentionally broken. 

Credibility reports – these reports contain information from the AP Student record, which are broken down into categories of information.  These categories or “chapters” present relevant information in tables, which can then be analysed by HESA and providers, to check the accuracy of the data returned.

Data Supply report – this report gives you a copy of your data back but also includes all the derivations that we apply to the data so that you can recreate the Credibility tables and produce your own management information reports. Data supply includes both Excel and XML files so that you can either import directly into your system or utilise the reports locally to create pivot tables and charts. 

Month Scheduled areas of work

Work will be released in roughly the following order:

  • Final NSS report 

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.