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Staff 2020/21: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2020/21 Staff collection (C20025). This should be used alongside the C20025 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.

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


A high-level summary of the C20025 major component releases are highlighted below. This is a guide to the proposed sequence of releases only, and releases may occur before or after the month indicated depending on internal and external factors:


  • Continued quality rule updates
  • Credibility reports
  • Cost centre analysis report
Release ID Release date Release Summary
72 8 September 2021
  • A known issue with the CCAnalysis report has been fixed
  • Quality rules PREVEMP.2/3 have been updated from errors to warnings
  • Derived field XNEWSTAFFMRK and quality rules ACTCHQUAL.8, ACTLEAVE.6/8/10, ETHNIC.6/9/11, HQHELD.3/5, LOCLEAVE.6/8/10, NATION.3, PREVEMP.7/8 have been updated to ensure they are correctly identifying new starters
  • The known issue with the download of the Person credibility report chapter has been fixed
  • Providers are now able to Commit data for data quality checking
71 12 August 2021
  • Validation for campus and cost centre data has been updated to reflect the latest Provider Profile data (C20041)
  • Validation for the SPOINT field has been updated to reflect the latest pay scales
  • The CCAnalysis report is now available
70 2 August 2021
  • SIGRES.1/2/3: the rule description has been corrected to refer to the end of the reporting year
  • SALG1 credibility table: the table has been updated to reflect the latest salary bandings
69 14 July 2021

A number of rule and credibility report updates have been made in this release.


  • Salary rules updated to reflect the latest minimum wage values
  • New rule STAFFID.13 added to flag where members of staff appear to have been incorrectly assigned a new STAFFID
  • GOVERNOR.2/3/5 updated to use the latest (C19032) HE-BCI data
  • REGBODY.7 updated to not trigger where REGBODY changes reflect known changes to the field

Credibility reports:

  • The sector averages document has been updated with the C19025 values
  • Tables PREV4 and AGE1 have been added meaning all tables are now available
  • Table DISB1 has been updated to be based on proportions rather than headcount and renamed to DISB1P

The collection dates in the progress tracker have been updated to align with the data collection schedule.

68 2 July 2021

Exception stage validation has now been turned on.

Credibility reports are now available, a number of these have been updated to replace the DATEFHEI field with the new XNEWSTAFFMRK derived field.

Tables PREV4, DISB1, AGE1 are currently not displaying due to further updates being made to these tables, these will be made available in a later release.

Issue Summary Status Date raised Date resolved

The download for the Person chapter in the credibility report is not working, users will get an error message when trying to download this chapter.

Resolved 21 July 2021 8 September 2021

The CCAnalysis report is not displaying correctly for providers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Provider Profile and Finance data are not populated.

Resolved 17 August 2021 24 August 2021

ACTCHQUAL.11 is currently only using the C20025 data to identify new members of staff. Continuing staff members whose only open contracts started in the 2020/21 reporting year will therefore be incorrectly identified as new starters.

This rule will be updated for C21025.

Open 24 September 2021  

The XSALPNT01 derived field is not displaying the correct salary groupings in some cases due to referencing an old salary pay spine.

Resolved 12 October 2021 13 October 2021

The drill down for the SALG1 credibility report works in some cells and not others.

This will be investigated for C21025.

Open 25 October 2021  





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.