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EMR 2014/15 (C14042): Post-implementation review of C12042 - Outcomes

Following the collection of the 2012/13 Estates management record data a Post-implementation review has been undertaken. This commenced in July 2014 with a consultation survey, reviewing the experience of the changes made to the Estates Management record 2012/13 from the perspectives of higher education (HE) providers. The aim was to gather information about what has been successful and what has been difficult in order to optimise the performance of the Estates Management record for providers and data users. Responses were received from 35 providers.

Following the consultation, a meeting was held between provider representatives, statutory customers, HESA and representatives from AUDE and USHA. The meeting addressed the items raised in the consultation and also discussed any other items which had been raised outside the consultation. These items have been recorded below and have been actioned by us.


Issue raised: Removal of the data definition categories

When the collection of EMR was taken over by HESA, the data definition categories were replaced by short names, as is HESA standard. Some providers have expressed difficulties in the transition between data definition categories and short names.

Our response: Add the data definition categories at sub-entity level in the coding manual

We have added the data definition categories at sub-entity level in the coding manual where applicable (see Revision history for details), as well as adding links to guidance at entity level in the non-functional template. Given the historical provenance of data definition categories, new categories will not be added. We will also consider methods of simplifying navigation of the record in the coding manual, web form, and in heidi.

Year of implementation: 2013/14, December manual release

Issue raised: Commercial space

Providers stated they had faced difficulties in identifying which areas should be returned as commercial space. Providers also stated there had been confusion over the various types of commercial space.

Our response: Removal of a number of the commercial space fields

As commercial space fields were added to the record purely to help exclude this space from ratios, it was agreed that the breakdown of these fields had become too specific. Therefore all commercial space fields (BCLBC, BCPFIPPP, BCTF, BCTLE, BCTLI, BCTLL, SMGIANRC, SMGIARC, SMNIANRC, SMNIARC), apart from SMGIACT and SMNIACT can be removed from EMR. SMGIACT and SMNIACT will be moved to the GIA and NIA entities respectively and the entities (Net Internal Area commercial space and Gross Internal Area commercial space) in which they currently sit will be removed.

Year of implementation: 2014/15 collection

Issue raised: Difficulties in obtaining Scope 3 data

Providers raised difficulties in collecting Scope 3 data and expressed some confusion as to why this data was being collected.

Our response: Provide more Scope 3 guidance

In response to providers concerns, we have now provided specific guidance to the legislation and guidance from each of the funding councils. The requirement to collect Scope 3 data is still in force and originates from the Climate Change Act. Therefore HESA is not currently able to remove these fields from the EMR.

Year of implementation: 2014/15 collection

Issue raised: USHA require the ‘Persons at risk’ fields to be collected by FTE, not headcount

Colleagues at USHA expressed the requirement for this change in the data collected.

Our response: Provide USHA with Staff and Student FTE data from the Estates Management section of the record

Rather than duplicate collection of the data within the record, we will now provide USHA with the data from the STFTET and SFFTET fields in the Estates Management section of the record. Other persons at risk will no longer be collected, as the data is not required. Therefore the Other persons at risk fields (INPAROT, INPARSF and INPARST) will be deleted from the record. 

Year of implementation: 2014/15 collection

Issue raised: Confusion over nulls and zeroes and how these impact on ratios

Some providers expressed confusion over the guidance on the use of nulls and zeros.

Our response: Nulls should not be changed to zeros to create ratios

Nulls and zeros have different meanings. Zero data includes data items for which the value is known to be zero or data items which are not applicable to your provider and 0 should be returned for these data items. Null data includes data items for which a value may exist but you either do not know the value or have chosen not to return it. Data items that meet this definition should be left blank. Colleagues should note that, unlike zeros, nulls cannot be used to create ratios.

This guidance will be added to the Coverage of the record. We will also consider clearer methods of identifying and reporting nulls.

Year of implementation: 2014/15 collection

Issue raised: Providers would like to see entries in the coding manual presented in the same order as in the webform

Providers informed us that, given the size of the record, it would be helpful if the coding manual could be in the same order as the webform. Links to the relevant coding manual pages have been placed at entity level in the non-functional template.

Our response: Scoping the work

The non-functional template order has been updated to match the web form. The work to present the coding manual in the same order as the webform is currently being scoped.

Year of implementation: 2014/15 collection, if possible

Issue raised: Requirement to separate catering financial data from residential

Providers raised with us the requirement to separate catering from residential fields in the finance entity.

Our response: Create a new field for recording catering income, catering expenditure and catering capital expenditure

This change is going to be made to the Finance Statistics Return and pulled though into the EMR finance fields, so will have no impact on collection of the data.

Year of implementation: 2015/16 collection

Issue raised: Return of health and safety data

Providers questioned why they were returning health and safety data to both HESA and USHA. Providers were also concerned by the number of health and safety data items, which they found to be burdensome. There were concerns raised about the quality of health and safety data returned.

Our response: Reduce the total number of health and safety data items collected

There was dual reporting for a single year in 2012/13, to enable continuity of historic data. USHA have agreed to cease separate collection of the data, and USHA data will now be reported through HESA. We are working with USHA to simplify reporting and reduce the number of data items required, particularly regarding the fire data fields.

Year of implementation: 2015/16 collection

Issue raised: Breakdown of energy cost fields is unnecessary

Providers suggested that the energy costs breakdown by type is unnecessary and that this data should only be recorded at total residential, total non-residential and overall total level.

Our response: No objections to removing energy cost field but requires further consultation

While HESA believe that removing unnecessary fields and therefore reducing burden for providers is beneficial, as this is a significant change, we would like to consult wider with the Estates sector before making this change.

Colleagues are invited to comment on the proposed removal of all fields within the Energy costs sub-entity excluding FNRECTOT, FRECTOT and FECTOT. Please send your responses to [email protected] no later than 2 February 2015. 

Year of implementation: 2015/16 collection, if supported

Technical group

At recent advanced training seminars for the Estates Management record, we sought initial feedback on a proposal to establish a technical group for this record. This idea was agreed in outline by the panel for the post-implementation review.

The benefits of establishing a technical group are seen as follows:

  • Improve the quality and relevance of data in the EMR, to support efficiency in providers
  • Improve the structure of the EMR to better reflect the functional categories of data it holds
  • Reduce the size of the EMR to make it a more focussed collection
  • Improve the quality of guidance available for the EMR
  • Create an opportunity for knowledgeable practitioners to influence the development of the record.

In order to pursue these benefits, we are currently consulting on creating a technical group, made up (principally) of provider representative with knowledge of the Estates sector.  We envisage the following arrangements for a technical group:

  • Terms of Reference and role descriptions for members
  • An opportunity for members to work at national level
  • A formal plan of work
  • Transparent publication of the group’s activity.

We are consulting widely on this approach. Please contact us at [email protected] by 1 February 2015 if you would like to comment on this approach, or to volunteer to be involved in the work programme.