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Provider Profile 2022/23: 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

Preperation guide

HESA Identity System

The Data Collection System for the C22041 collection, as well as Issue Management System, 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 C22041 coding manual.

Validation kit

The validation kit for the 2022/23 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.

Please Note that the Validation Kit and XML Data Entry Tool for C22041 Provider Profile will be available by mid-April. If you are looking to use the XML Data Entry tool and the Validation kit prior to this, you will be able to use the C21041 XML data entry tool and validation kit and you need to modify the RECID appropriately to meet the schema of the C21041. This is because there has been no schema changes between the C21 and C22 Provider Profile collections. Simply remember to amend the RECID back to match the validation of C22041 once the kit becomes available.

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.

Cost centre coverage

Returning the Academic HESA cost centres entity is now compulsory for Approved (fee cap) HEPs in England. For HEPs in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and providers in the Approved category in England, it is optional.

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 Liaison 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.

Responding to Issue Management System (IMS) queries

You are required to actively engage with data quality checking and the resolution of IMS queries during the collection period. Best practice suggests you interact with IMS 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 Issue Management System.

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.

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.

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.