Links: Current reviews | Review archive | Online suggestion form | Business change request form | Annual update | Major review | Post-implementation review 

HESA engages with a wide variety of stakeholders in higher education to understand their needs for data. We update and review our records regularly, to ensure the right information is collected and managed in the right ways and at the right times, in order to benefit higher education and wider society.

How to suggest improvements to the records

If you have an idea for improving the HESA records, HESA’s collection methods, or the products and services HESA provides, please tell us about it.

Our online suggestion form can be accessed by anyone at any time, and ideas received in this way are considered during annual updates and major reviews.

HESA customers with statutory or regulatory requirements to collect data are asked to submit their requirements using our business change request form

Record reviews and updates 

Reviews and updates are the mechanisms by which HESA can respond to changes in the HE sector and thereby meet the requirements of the statutory bodies that are its customers; deliver value for the HE providers that subscribe to HESA as a shared service; and also serve the needs of the many other customers for the data. 

Requested changes to records are always subjected to a process of critical scrutiny to ensure that the request is lawful and appropriate. In addition, new changes are aired publicly to enable the specification to be improved. Changes can be made for many legitimate reasons, including the following:

  • Changing needs arising from new legislation, policy developments, funding model changes etc.
  • Changing Higher Education sector needs
  • Improving data quality
  • Reducing the accountability burden

Changes to HESA records are made following the completion of a record update or review process, of which there are currently three types:

Annual update process; This review type enables year on year changes to be made to any of the HESA records to ensure that they continue to reflect changes within the sector and the changing requirements of users. An annual update period occurs every year for each record, and where suggestions for change have been made, a survey process will normally be scheduled unless the record falls into the scope of one of the following:

Major review; A fundamental review, which is designed to create value for HESA’s customers and subscribers. A major review is an investigatory project that creates a business case for change. In some cases the purpose of the review is to develop and ensure the on-going integrity of an existing record. In other cases, there may be a different justification for a review, such as an opportunity to create value by using new technology, a new situation in national policy, or a newly-identified opportunity to gather and use data to the advantage of HESA’s customers and subscribers.

As well as reviewing exactly what information is collected, major record reviews also enable consideration of the fundamental design of records including record/data structures, timing and consistency with external standards. A major review can be called whenever the evidence supports one. A major review will normally take approximately a year to complete.

Post-implementation review; This type of review follows the implementation of changes resulting from a major record review and usually takes place following the first collection of the updated record. It aims to assess whether the business case is delivering, and to fine-tune changes made as a result of the major record review. 

Current reviews

For details of current reviews, see our schedule of reviews and updates page.

Please email Collections Development at [email protected] if you have any enquiries.