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Staff 2023/24 - Staff identifier

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Staff 2023/24

Fields required from institutions in All fields

Staff identifier

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Short nameSTAFFID

This field records a unique code allocated to staff when they are first entered onto the HESA Staff record. The code remains with the member of staff for the whole of their career within higher education

Applicable toEngland Northern Ireland Scotland Wales

All staff


The combination of Person.STAFFID and Contract.CONTID field must be unique within a HEP's submission.

This identifier is the key to the whole return as it enables record linking and tracking. The value of the HESA Staff record to statutory customers is greatly increased where it is possible to track staff movements between HEPs. HEPs are reminded that for staff with activity codes in SOC2020 Major Groups 1, 2, and 3, where staff have previously been employed at a UK HEP they should seek the Staff identifier from that HEP.

Where staff return to an HEP with two STAFFIDs (one from the previous HEP and one from the reporting HEP) the ID from the reporting HEP should be used to retain tracking within the HEP.

There is a desire amongst many users of the Staff record to be able to better understand careers within the HE sector, most specifically academic careers. In order to do this it is necessary to be able to track staff across years. Whilst the HESA staff identifier works well for the time that an individual remains in one HEP, it does not always travel when staff move around the sector. There has been much encouragement given to HEPs in recent years to improve this situation, but there are still some significant gaps, limiting the analysis that can be done with the data.

HESA does not yet require staff names. HEPs, however, must keep a record of these in order to cross-reference to the unique Staff identifiers.

Staff Identifiers Report

For new staff members that have previously worked for another UK Higher Education Provider, they are likely to already have a STAFFID assigned which should be returned consistently throughout their employment regardless of whether they move between providers. The Staff Identifiers report in the Identity System can be used to facilitate contact between providers to obtain STAFFIDs. Each Staff record contact can assign the Staff Identifiers role in the Identity system, either to themselves or relevant colleagues. There should always be at least one Staff Identifiers contact in place for each provider.

Those with the Staff Identifiers role will be able to view the Staff Identifiers report in the Identity System. This report details staff members at other providers who hold this role, providing a mechanism through which STAFFIDs can be requested and obtained through these designated contacts.

HESA advises co-operation with Staff identifier requests, as this is the only avenue to collect a staff member’s previous STAFFID.

For further information on assigning the Staff Identifier role in the Identity system, please see the HESA Identity System (IDS): User guide.

Methods for generating Staff identifiers

HEP method

The structure of the HESA Staff identifier is as follows:

First 2 characters:

Year of entry into HEP (last 2 digits of calendar year). Those entering before 1 August 2003 and whose year of entry is unknown should use 'XX'.

Next 4 characters:

HEP identifier PLUS 1000 (e.g. if the HEP identifier is 0134, the digits in the Staff identifier are 1134). Please see further guidance on HEP identifiers below.

Next 6 characters:

6 digit reference number internally allocated by the HEP.

Last character:

Check digit. See calculation of check digit below.

USR method

Staff with an old 9 digit USR staff number should retain this number, preceding it with 4 zeros. HESA would prefer anyone with an old USR number to keep this under the HESA system to facilitate the tracking of individuals through their HE careers. If a member of staff has been out of the sector for a while, or not previously returned to HESA, but received a USR number, then, if this is easy to trace, the USR number should be used, otherwise it is acceptable to issue a new HESA Staff identifier. HEPs are encouraged to trace employees' identifiers. The emphasis is on the need to retain the same Staff identifier in future in order to be able track future movements.

HEP identifiers (INSTID)

This is a four-digit identifier number assigned to providers by HESA. A list of all providers who have submitted to HESA across all time (since HESA's creation) can be downloaded in a CSV file from the "All HESA Providers" web page. This includes provider name, INSTID and UKPRN.

Calculation of Check Digit

The check digit is calculated using the first 12 digits, providing a means of detecting errors of transcription in the identifier. To calculate the check digit, each of the first 12 digits is multiplied by a "weight" which depends on its position in the identifier, and the resulting products added. The check digit is then obtained by subtracting the final digit of the resulting sum from ten.

In this calculation, the character X has a value of zero.

The weights used are:

Digit position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9


A lecturer at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London (for which the HESA identifier is 0141), starting in calendar year 2003 is allocated the internal number 123456. The check digit calculation for their Staff identifier, 031141123456, would be calculated as:

Number 0 3 1 1 4 1 1 2 3 4 5 6

Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9

Product 0 9 7 9 4 3 7 18 3 12 35 54

The sum of the products is 161, the final digit being 1, so the check digit is 10 - 1 = 9. The full identifier is therefore '0311411234569'.

If the lecturer in the example above had entered the higher education provider (HEP) prior to 2003, and has been allocated the Staff identifier 'XX1141123456' (because year of entry is unknown) the check digit would be calculated as:

Number X X 1 1 4 1 1 2 3 4 5 6

Weight 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9 1 3 7 9

Product 0 0 7 9 4 3 7 18 3 12 35 54

The product of the first two digits should be counted as 0, which makes the sum of all the products 152. As the final digit is 2 the check digit is 10 - 2 = 8. The full identifier is therefore 'XX11411234568'.

Note: If the final digit of the sum of the products is 0 the check digit would be the final digit after the subtraction i.e. 10 - 0 = 10, check digit is 0.

Quality rules
Quality rules to follow
Part of
Field length13
Minimum occurrences1
Maximum occurrences1
Schema components
Element: STAFFID
Data type: STAFFIDType

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388 531.