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Personal Characteristics and Equality data consultation

The Government Statistical Service (GSS) has sponsored research into new harmonised standards for data collection in time for the 2021 Censuses. As a part of the statistics family, HESA is considering these changing standards to ensure:

  • Data remains comparable with other sources.
  • Coherent analyses across different datasets.

HESA’s consultation is considering updates to the coding frames for various personal characteristics and equality data items, across multiple collections. There are also proposals to consider the implications of collecting three new data items on marital status, pregnancy and maternity. The consultation is available for three months and we will carefully consider provider feedback before we proceed with any changes.

Please note, we will only be accepting online responses; the following text and questions included in the consultation is for reference purposes, to assist cross-organisational response.

HESA Personal characteristics and equality data consultation text (PDF)

The consultation

The consultation is now closed.

Quick reference guide

We accepted multiple responses from a provider, only if they were responding about different records. The Quick reference guide below shows which records apply to each data section. Respondents indicated which records they have considered in question 6 of the survey.

  ITT Staff Student





Care leaver No No Yes Yes Yes
Disability Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ethnicity Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gender Identity No Yes Yes Yes Yes
National Identity Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Religion / Belief No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sex Identifier Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sex Orientation No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Proposal: Marital Status No Yes Yes No Yes
Proposal: Pregnancy No Yes No No Yes
Proposal: Maternity / Parental Leave No Yes No No Yes

Background information

The annex details the research we have undertaken by

  • looking at each of the records mentioned,
  • what data we collected now,
  • what is collected elsewhere,
  • concluding with a recommendation to align these in these proposals.

It was not necessary to read the annex to complete the consultation and there was no expectation on providers to look at this, but it may be helpful background reading, if you are interested.

Download annex: Personal characteristics and equality data research (Excel)