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Quality assurance self-assessment

We have conducted a quality assurance self-assessment of Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) and "NewDLHE" data. This self-assessment has significantly informed our review of graduate outcomes data.

Read the self-assessment

Executive summary

Data about the destinations and outcomes of graduates is used for a number of high-profile purposes. It is therefore vital that there is a high level of confidence in the robustness of the data. In light of HESA’s work to develop a new model for the collection of graduate outcomes data, HESA has conducted a self-assessment of the quality of this data using the UK Statistics Agency’s toolkit.

HESA seeks to maintain National Statistics designation for its current DLHE Statistical First Release (SFR) and for a future NewDLHE SFR. To maintain this designation, as well as wider public trust in the data, HESA should be aiming for the highest assurance level possible.  In terms of the UK Statistics Agency’s quality assurance matrix, the aim should be to achieve “A3 – Comprehensive assurance”. The current Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey does not meet this standard. It is mostly at “A2 – Enhanced assurance” level with some aspects at “A1 – Basic assurance” and some at “A3 – Comprehensive assurance”.

This self-assessment makes a number of recommendations to achieve comprehensive assurance. The key recommendation is the need to reconfigure the current DLHE methodology to enhance quality assurance mechanisms. This could either be achieved through a centralised model – which would realise additional efficiencies through economies of scale and greater responsiveness – or through a more substantial audit regime – which would include enhanced analysis and quality assurance functions at HESA and the resurveying of samples of graduates.