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Further information about the onward use of data category 3

All of our onward sharing activities are in addition to our provision of Open Data, Official Statistics and other statutory dissemination. 

We expect that many users will be able to fulfil their data requirements through our open data publications and we plan to expand the range and volume of data published in this way over time. However, some requirements are too complex and specific, or require additional analysis, to be fulfilled from existing open data publication. 

Detailed below are examples of our previous onward sharing activities which we expect to continue in the future, and for which future data sets will only include those providers who have opted in to category 3.

Providers that opt out of onward use of data categories may still be required to supply similar data through freedom of information requests. Only providers that opt in will continue to have the option to pass these requests to HESA on the basis that the data already exists and can be delivered more efficiently by HESA. 

HESA will continue to provide full supporting information to data users. This will specify which HE providers are included for each onward use, so they are fully aware of the coverage of the data they are analysing. 

Why should my provider opt in to having its data used in category 3?

Although category three is defined as ‘sharing for the benefit of other public, private or third-sector organisations’, the reality is that the activities included often benefit students and providers. Opting-out of this category undermines availability of comprehensive data about the UK HE sector and therefore adversely impacts on the benefits that accrue from its use. 

Practical examples

Education institutions such as schools and colleges will no longer be able to use data from providers who opt out of category 3. This data can be used to assess the progress of previous pupils and evaluate strategic initiatives to widen participation in HE – a key driver of social mobility. 

Providers who opt out of category 3 will no longer have their data used in detailed data requests from national, regional and industry media. The press use higher education data to highlight important policy areas in the sector such as widening participation and equal opportunities. The ability of the press to assess the impact and implications of higher education policy using robust evidence is an important aspect of their work. 

Transport and accommodation providers use higher education data to improve services for students. Airports for example, can use data on which countries students are coming from in planning capacity. Accommodation providers can assess the demand for housing and factor this into their planning processes. Unavailability of data for such purposes is likely to adversely affect the ability of service providers to deliver services that effectively meet the needs of students. 

Professional, regulatory and and accreditation organisations use higher education data to ensure the delivery of high quality courses and acquisition of skills to meet the needs of the economy and society. Opting out of such onward uses reduces the value of the evidence base needed by such organisations to undertake their functions effectively. 

Can I get more information before I make my final decision?

Yes, of course. Please contact our colleagues in the newly created Jisc Data Intelligence, data and analytics team: +44 (0) 1242 211 133 for more information.