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Roles and responsibilities of HE providers

Our model of open centralisation places much of the responsibility for administering the Graduate Outcomes survey on the third-party survey contractor. It therefore aims to take the burden of collection away from providers.

However, HE providers will have certain actions they will need to complete to ensure we collect accurate and comprehensive data. There are also further activities providers can opt into.

Note: The following is a provisional overview of roles and responsibilities of HE providers. We will be inviting the Graduate Outcomes steering group to advise on these in order to publish agreed responsibilities after the first meeting of the group.

Collection and maintenance of contact details

It is vital the providers collect and maintain accurate and comprehensive contact details for their graduates. We will expect providers to:

  • Capture specific contact details when a student registers or (re-)enrols on their course
  • Conduct communications prior to the student completing their studies and shortly before the Graduate Outcomes survey takes place to ensure those contact details are up to date.

We have published further guidance about what contact details we require, and how providers should approach the process of maintaining these details.

Return of contact details

Providers will need to return contact details for all of the graduates in their Graduate Outcomes population. These contact details will need to pass quality checks.

We will generate a target population for the survey to ensure providers know whose details they need to return. However, as the target population file may not be available until after the students have left, providers must maintain contact details for all graduates who fall into the coverage. Further information on this process, and the specification for the contact details, will be published in September/October.

Administration and promotion of the Graduate Outcomes survey

HE providers will not be expected to engage significantly with the administration of the Graduate Outcomes survey. The surveying of graduates and the return of their responses to HESA will be undertaken by the survey contractor.

Providers will have an account manager at the survey contractor. Providers will be able to liaise with this person to discuss the profile of their graduates, and to raise any concerns about the responses received.

Providers may be called on to offer institutional third-party responses outlining the activities of graduates who the survey contractor has not been able to contact.

We expect providers to contact graduates prior to the survey period to give graduates the opportunity to update their contact details. This should also be used as an opportunity to promote the survey.

We will develop a campaign timeline defining the methods the survey contractor will use to contact graduates. As part of this timeline, we anticipate that HE providers will be asked to conduct an email campaign targeted at non-respondents mid-way through the survey period. Experience of similar HE sector surveys suggests that this communication is most effective coming from a recognisable figure to the graduate – such as an academic or a school or departmental administrator.

Additional activities HE providers could undertake

Analysis of in-cycle survey responses

Throughout the survey period, responses will be available to providers via a near real-time dashboard. This enables providers to oversee the responses that have been collected, both for the purposes of providing additional careers support and to inform strategic planning.

Bespoke services from the survey contractor

Providers can, at cost, request additional services from the survey contractor, including the facility to ask bespoke questions (which will require providers to develop their own privacy notices) and to allow for survey respondents to be transferred to the providers’ careers service.

Additional promotional activity

We have described above the minimum we expect from providers in terms of promotional activities. To enhance response rates – and to allow for greater granularity of data to be available – providers can engage in further promotional activity. We will provide templates to support such activity.


The Graduate Outcomes steering group will determine an audit process for the Graduate Outcomes record. This will determine the regularity of auditing activities and the mechanism for undertaking them. We recognise further information is needed on this, and will be publishing more in September/October. At this stage, the most important aspect is that providers keep a record of their undertaking of the collection of contact details described above.