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Provider Profile record 2019/20 - Coverage of the record

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Version 1.2 Produced 2020-04-17

Contents: General definition |Campus | Academic HESA cost centres | Defining academic HESA cost centres and departments | Academic HESA cost centre/department mapping

General definition

The Provider profile record is collected in line with statutory requirements from all HE providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in line with statutory requirements all approved and approved (fee cap) providers in England. These requirements are as detailed in Subscription model information. The Provider profile record is made up of two key pieces of information, the campuses and academic HESA cost centres of HEPs. Those providers in England who are completing the Student Alternative record are not required to return academic cost centre data. Where applicable the data collected in this record will be used to validate the Student, Staff and Finance records as well as providing benchmarking material for heidi.

The fields collected in this return are described in the 'Data items' document in the 'Data specification' section of the manual homepage, in a manner common to other records.

The reporting period is from 1 August in year 1 to 31 July in year 2.


Campus information is required for all campuses of the reporting higher education provider (HEP) which are located within the UK. HEPs are now required to return campuses located outside the UK in order to align with the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

A separate campus identifier should be used when a merger takes place, to identify any merged HEPs as separate campuses.

In cases where a provider has a single campus they should return an entry with the generic value 'A', indicating the main campus or entire HEP'

For providers in England:

A separate campus identifier should be returned if 25 or more students are studying at the campus and it is at least 1km away from another location. In exceptional circumstances campuses that are over 1km apart may not need to be separately identified, if for example they are advertised as one and students frequently move between the two locations.

Occasionally it may be appropriate to return campuses with fewer students, provided these are geographically distinct and separately marketed to students.

The Office for Students and Research England expect separate campus identifiers for any part of the HEP funded separately e.g. University of London - Institutes and activities, even where these do not meet the other criteria.

For providers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales:

A separate campus identifier should be used if a significant number of students, for example 25 or more, are studying at a campus that is in a different city/town. Occasionally it may be appropriate to return campuses with fewer students, provided these are geographically distinct and separately marketed to students.

Academic HESA cost centres

Provision of data regarding the mappings of academic departments to HESA cost centres is compulsory for HEPs in England who are submitting to the Student record, optional for HEPs in England who are submitting to the Student Alternative record, and optional for HEPs in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The ability for HEPs to return data about their organisational structures, and where their departments 'sit', was indicated to be useful for the sector during a consultation exercise in early 2011. The option to return mappings of departments to other HEP structures is available to all, but is not compulsory.

For those HEPs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland wishing to make a return of academic department to HESA cost centre mappings, the minimum requirement for such a return is that for each mapping, the AcademicCostCentres.ACCENTRE, AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT, AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC and AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT fields must all be returned. Without the minimum of these four fields being completed data returned will be insufficient for use.

Assigning departments to academic HESA cost centres should be done on the basis of the full-time equivalence (FTE) of academic staff, and not headcount.

Defining academic HESA cost centres and departments

For the Provider profile record, assigning departments to academic HESA cost centres should be done on the basis of the full-time equivalence of academic staff, rather than that of student numbers. This is consistent with the Office for Students guidance issued to HEPs in England in their previous allocation exercise. The allocations of HESA cost centres should include all academic staff that are active in the reporting period, including those with contracts involving teaching and/or research, and both non-atypical and atypical contracts.

There are five fundamental criteria for grouping departments into HESA cost centres, which are as follows:

  • Similar cost structures for teaching
  • Similar cost structures for research
  • Similar patterns for capital expenditure
  • Academic coherence in terms of the academic disciplines of staff
  • Similar rates of funding for research grants and contracts.

HESA cost centres should comprise of groups of staff whose attributes and activities collectively satisfy all the above criteria.

In order to map academic HESA cost centres to departments on a HEP-wide level, it is important to consider the definition of 'department'. The report 'Enabling Benchmarking Excellence' suggested some common themes:

  • A department is responsible for organising and delivering academic activity in a discrete subject, discipline or field of knowledge.
  • A department will have a formal position within the HEP's structure; it is likely to be separately identified on the HEP's organisational chart, it is likely to have its own management structure and be led by a 'Head' or 'Director' etc, and it is likely to have some degree of budget responsibility.
  • In larger organisations, a department can often form part of a larger structure (such as a faculty or school) which has been formed to cohere and link related subjects or disciplines.

Within the Provider profile record, a HEP may identify their departments using a free-text string of up to 200 characters, in the field AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT.

HEPs are also encouraged to complete two additional fields, AcademicCostCentres.TIER1 and AcademicCostCentres.TIER2, that record the organisational structure above AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT, i.e., placing departments into schools, faculties etc.. These optional fields permit free text in the same way as AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT. HEPs can use one or both of these fields as necessary:

Capture of this data is intended to provide useful contextual data for benchmarking.

Two different representations of the same HEP structure, and how those might map to these three fields, are shown below:



Both of the examples above could be recorded as follows:

AcademicCostCentres.TIER1 AcademicCostCentres.TIER2 AcademicCostCentres.DEPARTMENT
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Department of Ancient History

Not all HEPs will have three tiers of organisational structure - some may have more, some fewer. It is recommended that these fields are populated with appropriate tiers, even if these may not fully capture the nature of a HEP with a complicated structure.

Academic HESA cost centre/department mapping

Departments and academic HESA cost centres may not map on a one-to-one basis. A HEP may have a department which allocates staff across multiple academic HESA cost centres.

Take, for example, the department of 'Ancient History'. Staff considered to be within this department may be allocated to either of a History HESA cost centre or Classics HESA cost centre. There may be additional staff within the History HESA cost centre, however, that may have originated from another department - for example, a Department of Classical Studies.

For that reason, the data collected for each HESA cost centre includes:

The act of assigning the staff within a department to each academic HESA cost centre, and producing the resulting AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC values, will also give the values that would correspond to the proportion of staff from each department in each HESA cost centre (AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT). Even where a department is split across HESA cost centres individual members of academic staff will normally be allocated to only one of the HESA cost centres. The exception would be where a staff member has two or more distinct roles which naturally fall into different HESA cost centres. To use the 'History' example from above, the 'Department of Ancient History' may allocate their staff half to the 'History' HESA cost centre and half to 'Classics'. The 'Department of Classical Studies' might allocate all their staff simply to the 'Classics' HESA cost centre:

Departments 'History' HESA cost centre 'Classics' HESA cost centre Total staff in Department
Department of Ancient History 5 5 10
Department of Classical Studies 0 10 10
Total staff in HESA cost centre 5 15 20

In this example, the two HESA cost centres populated from the Department of Ancient History have equal allocations of staff. This gives a value of 50% for AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC for each mapping. The HESA cost centre of 'History' does not have staff from any other department - the AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT value for this is 100%. The 'Classics' HESA cost centre, however, also has staff from the Department of Classical Studies on a 66.7%:33.3% basis. This can be summarised as follows:

AcademicCostCentres. TIER1 AcademicCostCentres. TIER2 AcademicCostCentres. DEPARTMENT AcademicCostCentres. ACCENTRE AcademicCostCentres. PROPACC AcademicCostCentres. PROPDEPT
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Ancient History History 50% 100%
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Ancient History Classics 50% 33.3%
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Classical Studies History 0% 0%
Faculty of Humanities School of History and Classics Classical Studies Classics 100% 66.7%

It is recognised that precise percentages may vary year on year due to minor changes in staff recruitment, it is not expected that HEPs will recalculate percentages each year. Rather, it is expected that HEPs will review the mappings to ensure they are broadly correct and only make updates where it is found that the data are no longer representative, for example where there have been significant changes to staff numbers or organisational structure. A degree of forecasting will be required for contracts that commence between June and the end of July.

Across the record, every department recorded against one or more academic HESA cost centres must have associated AcademicCostCentres.PROPACC values which sum to 100%, and all academic HESA cost centres that have been used must have AcademicCostCentres.PROPDEPT values which sum to 100%.

A further, more detailed example may be found in the Further guidance on calculating proportions document.

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