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Provider profile 2019/20: support guides

Provider profile overview

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

The Provider profile stream collects data about campuses and academic cost centres. Details of what information needs 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 councils in order to support the regulation of higher education. We also make 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

Preparation guide

HESA Identity System

The Data Collection System for the C19041 collection, as well as Minerva, is governed through our Identity System (IDS).

The Provider profile 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.

The Identity System user guide provides detailed help with using the new single sign-on system.

XML data entry tool

Our data entry tool produces XML data in the correct format. This tool is available for the Provider profile data, it is available to download on the C19041 Provider profile record coding manual.

XML template

We have made an Excel-based template available which was successful in helping providers convert data into XML format. Once again this Data submission template is available to download on the C19041 Provider profile record coding manual.

Validation kit

The validation kit for the 2019/20 Provider profile record is now available to download.

The validation kit enables institutions to run their data against first stage (business rule) validation ahead of submitting the file to the Data Collection System.

Mandatory return of overseas campuses

HEPs are reminded that it is now mandatory to return campuses located outside the UK in order to align with the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

Further guidance for allocation of cost centres

Providers are reminded that academic cost centres are defined as groupings of academic staff. Therefore, even where a department is split across cost centres, individual members of academic staff will normally be allocated to only one cost centre. An exception would be where a staff member has two or more distinct roles which naturally fall into different cost centres. For example a 'Department of Ancient History' may allocate their staff half to the 'History' cost centre and half to 'Classics'; however; each individual staff member will only be in one cost centre, even if they teach a mix of classics and ancient history.

Record contact changes

The record contact is the first point of communication during data collection. If these details change please ensure you notify us to prevent any delay in the receipt of important information.

Data supply files

Data supply files are available to download following every successful file upload. During the data collection process these data supply files provide the Campus and Cost Centre tables as downloadable .csv or XML files. The data supply files can also be exported to your local systems to act as a basic data management tool.

Web reports

HESA have introduced three web reports which will help with comparison between years. Two of the reports, ‘Academic HESA Cost Centres’ and ‘Campus Report’, will contain shading to more easily identify changes between years. The ‘HESA Cost Centre Analysis’ web report uses data from the most recent Student, Staff and Finance collections.

Checkdoc has been discontinued from C17041 onwards.

Responding to Minerva queries

You are required to actively engage with data quality checking and the resolution of Minerva queries during the collection period. Best practice suggests you 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.

You will need to set up an IDS account in order to access the Data Collection System and Minerva.

Interaction with colleagues and timely cost centre mapping

Providers should ensure that any review of the allocation of activity to cost centres occurs in advance of submission of the Provider profile return. This is because the Provider profile collection provides metadata for use with the upcoming HESA Staff, Student and Finance records. Academic cost centre data returned in the Provider profile return will therefore be incorporated into COMMIT-stage quality rules for the Student, Staff and Finance returns. Statutory customers have indicated that they do not expect to switch validation in this area.

For providers in England any such review of the allocation of activity to cost centres ideally should happen before submission of the relevant HESES, to ensure that the HESES and HESA Student returns are aligned. Therefore changes to cost centre allocations for the 2019-20 academic year should have been made prior to submission of HESES19.

Data users would not expect providers to use cost centres in their Student, Staff or Finance returns that are not included within the associated Provider profile return. It is therefore essential that the compiler of this return liaises with record contacts who are responsible for completing the Staff, Student and Finance returns to ensure consistency of reporting.

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved



There are currently no known issues.

Experiencing an issue not listed here? Let us know.

Release ID Release date Release summary




Month Scheduled areas of work
  No upcoming releases planned.