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Staff 2018/19 Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2018/19 Staff collection (C18025).

This should be used alongside the C18025 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

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved

Issue ID: 72253 - Validation Kit is not available for providers

The Validation Kit for C18025 is currently unavailable. Although the kit can be downloaded, it returns the following error message:

"A validation package is not available for this collection (C18025). Either it is not yet published or this collection uses the old kit."

This means that the kit cannot currently find the validation rules for this collection in the underlying system and therefore it has nothing to return to the user. This issue is being investigated.

Closed 11 April 2019 25 April 2019

Issue ID: 77037 - QR.C18025.Contract.SIGRES.1 - Not identifying those that have not ended 

We have recently identified that the above rule does not trigger where a staff member has a NULL ENDCON, SIGRES does not exist and the rest of the criteria is met. In this situation we would expect SIGRES.1 to trigger as a NULL ENDCON indicates the contract is still active. 

This has now been fixed.

Fixed 9 August 2019 27 August 2019

Issue ID: 77037 - QR.C18025.Contract.SIGRES.1 - Amendment required to change this from an error to a warning

In addition to the below issue we have now updated the rule from an error to a warning as it was incorrectly included as an error. This supports the basis that REF this year is a trial exercise and as such this field and REFUOA are optional this year. 

This has now been fixed.

Fixed 23 August 2019 27 August 2019

Issue ID: 77041 - QR.C18025.Person.REFUOA.3 - Not identifying those that have not ended 

We have recently identified that the above rule does not trigger where a staff member has a NULL ENDCON, and REFUOA does not exist and the rest of the criteria is met. In this situation we would expect REFUOA.3 to trigger as a NULL ENDCON indicates the contract is still active. 

This has now been fixed. 

Fixed     9 August 2019 27 August 2019

REFUOA2021 and SIGRES validation - Specification wording currently a little unclear as to what the rules do

We have identified that the rule descriptions for rules relating to REFUOA2021 and SIGRES are not entirely clear as to what they are doing. This relates to the following rules:

  • QR.C18025.Contract.SIGRES.2
  • QR.C18025.Person.REFUOA2021.2
  • QR.C18025.Person.REFUOA2021.3
  • QR.C18025.Person.REFUOA2021.4

We will be releasing an update for the rule descriptions for these shortly. 

Fixed 30 August 2019 5 September 2019

Issue ID: 77924: Temporary removal of the REF1 and REF2 Credibility reports

We have temporarily removed the REF1 and REF2 Credibility reports from the Data Collection System whilst we are investigating the specification of these. 

As of 18 September these are now present again.

Fixed 30 August 2019 17 September 2019


Release ID Release date Release Summary


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.