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Backing for new HE management information tool

A new web based management information tool is set to reduce the burden on higher education institutions of extracting and manipulating data for planning and reporting purposes.

The service, to be known as heidi (Higher Education Information Database for Institutions), will take the form of an on-line data interrogation tool.

The project is being led by Leeds University in partnership with the British Universities Finance Directors Group and the Higher Education Statistics Agency. The idea is based upon the success of Leeds University’s LUMIS system. This application has provided its planning and management information staff with fast and user-friendly access to a range of higher education data largely based on statistics published by HESA. LUMIS pulls these statistics together to one central source and allows the user to select the information required and perform data manipulation.

heidi will aim to develop and expand this concept further via a web interface. The service is due to go live in 2007.

The project has received the financial backing of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Leadership, Governance and Management fund to the tune of £322k, the largest grant ever made from the fund. In it’s first year of operation HEIDI is expected to save participating institutions an average £45k each in staff time and in-house software development.

Professor Robin Sibson, heidi Project Director and Chief Executive of HESA, said: "HESA has recognised for some time that there would be major benefits for sector institutions from making it easy to access and manipulate the data we collect. We are delighted that the opportunity to meet this need has now arisen through the setting up of a project in which we shall be collaborating with the University of Leeds and BUFDG. The LUMIS system developed by Leeds provides a tested platform on which to base the new development, and a major grant from HEFCE will ensure that resources are available to carry the project through to successful completion."

Dr David Belk, heidi Project Leader, Leeds University commented: "The project is using as its basis the 'LUMIS' system, developed at Leeds by the Academic Planning & Performance Office. LUMIS is already used by four other universities and I believe provides a proven foundation for a national system that will make a real difference for HE administrators who work with national statistics as well as saving institutions time and money by avoiding duplication of effort."

Michael Yuille of the British Universities Finance Directors Group added “BUFDG is delighted to be working with HESA and the University of Leeds to develop a user-friendly management information tool, one function of which will be to provide accessible financial benchmarking data for the HE sector. We look forward to realising the potential of data already collected by HESA and to the ongoing development of a live system.”

heidi will be developed in consultation with a User Group of HEIs representing the interests of all institutions. A website with latest news and developments of the service has been set-up.

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