Collecting and maintaining contact details
There are three activities that underpin your approach for collecting graduates’ personal contact details:
You will need to collect personal contact details for all the graduates in your Graduate Outcomes population.
The collection of graduates’ personal contact details can take place throughout the year. There isn't a formally required date for collection; all that is required is for you to have collected robust, accurate and comprehensive details by the specified return date for the relevant contact period.
However, as a best practice recommendation, we would advise collecting contact details at (re-) enrolment/(re-)registration, as these details are part of the core information you need to collect about your students. See the section below on best practice around when to maintain / update these contact details. Please also note the recommended quality assurance steps.
You must ensure that your collection of contact details complies with GDPR guidelines. You can read more about the data protection implications of Graduate Outcomes.
What is needed
In order to collect these details you will need a system/setup that is able to collate, maintain and update graduate’s personal contact details.
We will supply you with the documentation to support this collection activity, including:
- The contact details coding manual, which includes all the data items you need to collect, as well as the schema. We have also prepared some guidance that outlines what is deemed accurate personal contact details
- The data protection collection notice for the contact details
- Thorough data protection guidance
- A population file which will identify the necessary graduates (available)
Throughout the collection process, you should quality assure (QA) contact details to ensure their robustness, accuracy and validity. This should include a thorough data cleansing exercise prior to submission to HESA via the provider portal. Your process should include:
- Verification of the accuracy of personal contact data – these should be current (verified by undertaking the recommended best practice contact activities) and be the personal contact details for the graduate as provided and verified by that graduate. This should include taking all reasonable steps to verify that ‘unacceptable’ contact details have not inadvertently been recorded as the graduates’ personal contact details
- Determining the validity of duplicate / shared contact details
- Removing / verifying duplicate/shared contact details
- Removal of unacceptable contact details as outlined in the Data Specification for Graduate Outcomes
How providers quality assure the information is up to you and will depend on your systems and processes. We would suggest that quality assuring the details at the point of collection would be most efficient.
What is needed
You will need to establish a QA process within your provider (if there isn’t one already).
We will supply:
- Information on the specification of the information you need to return
- The data collection schedule, covering what you need to return and when
- [Only for those providers that also submit student data to HESA] The facility through the Student/AP student data collection system to allow providers to check your in-house generated cohort numbers against the automatically generated Graduate Outcomes population (available from Spring 2018).
Poor quality assurance of contact details will be evident in the survey contractor’s failure to contact graduates and also may result in complaints from graduates. The level of successful contact details (i.e. contact details that led to a survey response or explicit refusal) will be monitored by HESA.
You should actively maintain the contact details collected. This will involve encouraging graduates to update their contact details between the point they are collected and the point you return them to HESA.
What is needed
HESA strongly recommends that you undertake a minimum of two dedicated activities to encourage your students/graduates to update their contact details before the survey takes place. Good practice suggests that graduates should be contacted by email at around 5/6 months after graduation / completion of the course, and again at 12/13 months. View the suggested contact plan for obtaining updated contact details from graduates.
It’s also advised that you make specific reference to the Graduate Outcomes survey as the reason for the requirement for updated contact details. This will ensure where graduates have supplied shared contact details or those for a third party, they are fully aware that their survey will be sent to these contact details.
If you collect contact details at (re-)enrolment/(re-)registration, it would also be beneficial to conduct an activity in the student’s final weeks of teaching to ask them to check their details.
Providers should be aware that significantly more contact attempts than those recommended might discourage the graduate from participating and providing updated details.
To support this activity, we will provide:
- A suggested graduate contact plan by cohort / collection, templates for emails/other communications, a graduate facing information website and Graduate Outcomes social media accounts.