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Submission of contact details

You will need to submit all the relevant contact details to HESA by the approval deadline for each contact period. We expect that you will return details for all the graduates within the Graduate Outcomes population.

We will provide a population file that contains data from the Student record (including the graduate’s name, identifier and study information). The exact information which makes up this population file can be found in the coding manual.

There are three main activities to support the return of contact details:

Suggested graduate contact plan

Providers play a vital part in the success of Graduate Outcomes. It’s important that providers are engaging with the cohort population directly in the build up to the contact period commencing.

To support providers in carrying out the suggested contact with graduates prior to being surveyed, we’ve created a simple contact plan to follow. This covers the suggested emails that providers should send to collect updated personal contact details and the recommended “warm up” contact shortly before the contact period starts.

Providers should also be promoting Graduate Outcomes to graduates during the following suggested points: during their time as a student, the student’s final weeks of teaching, at graduation and embedded into any existing post-graduation engagement activity i.e. driven by Alumni teams / Careers services (if relevant).

All contact details should be the best, most up-to-date and the personal contact details for the graduate as provided and verified by that graduate. What we mean by ‘best’ is the supply of contact details that are most likely to elicit a response to the survey. This can be determined by recent contact with the graduate via this contact detail. To supply the best contact details, the above communication activities should help to determine this.

Collation of accurate contact details


We’re aware that many staff members are involved in the creation of the contact details data for the purposes of Graduate Outcomes, using a number of different internal systems and software houses.

Additional checks/validation should be taken by providers prior to submission to HESA to ensure there are no human / system related errors when producing the XML file for submission to the provider portal. This is to avoid incorrect transposition of data arising from manual data handling.

These checks should include a thorough data cleansing exercise prior to submission in the provider portal and the identification and removal of all duplicated contact details, where there is not a genuine reason for there being shared contact details.

What is needed

Providers should carry out thorough data cleansing to include:

  • Accuracy of personal contact data – these should be current (verified by undertaking the recommended best practise 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 that there is a valid reason for the submission of duplicate/shared contact details and removing duplicate/shared contact details where there is no valid reason for their submission
  • Removal of unacceptable contact details as outlined in the Data Specification for Graduate Outcomes, examples of which are given in the acceptable / unacceptable contact details table.

Quality assurance


With any HESA return, there are deadlines in place that you must adhere to when returning data. For Graduate Outcomes, there is an approval deadline, which is the date by which contact details need to have been submitted and approved by in the provider portal. Full details can be found in the data collection schedule

Providers need to return contact details that have passed validation by the approval deadline for each cohort.

During the quality assurance period prior to approval, you can assess the details uploaded through the HESA provider portal and amend/update (if necessary). Once contact details have passed all quality rules, they can be approved and HESA can send them to Confirmit ready for undertaking the survey.

The provider portal remains open following the approval deadline for ad-hoc quality assurance. During this period, providers can update contact details where necessary up until the ‘final updates’ deadline. At this point, the contact details will need to be approved again to represent updates you might have made during the survey period.

The last opportunity to collect and make final updates to the contact details will be one week prior to when the contact period ends. This will allow HESA time to process these updates.  

What is needed

Providers have access to a wealth of supporting materials to assist you in returning details accurately and in a timely manner. These include: