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Provider Preview service


Provider Preview is a service we deliver to inform HE providers about third-party requests for tailored data sets, which we consider will be used for high-profile and significant purposes. Examples of such high profile or significant purposes include data used in league tables, data supply to trade unions, certain press enquiries when data is requested at provider level, and use by sector bodies (other than HESA) to calculate their subscription fees. This service is provided by HESA and delivered by Jisc as HESA’s processor.

The service provides advance notice of high profile requests, including information about the intended use, and a copy of the data requested for each HE provider. This is normally made available two weeks prior to the data being made available to the third-party requestor. Please note that some requests may be sent to designated HESA record contacts only, where the nature of the request makes them best placed to assess the data and its onward use.

This service represents an opportunity to understand the range of uses and for the HE provider to supply any supporting or contextual information that is pertinent to the intended onward uses. Jisc will forward any such contextual information alongside the data to promote appropriate and well-informed usage.

HE providers are NOT required to numerically check the proposed data, as it will already have passed through an extensive quality assurance process. However, in some cases HE providers may optionally wish to replicate elements of the data to ensure they fully understand any preparation methodologies.


  • Data is extracted and checked by Jisc analysts based on specifications agreed with the third-party requester.
  • Once data has successfully passed through our quality assurance processes, it is made available via the Provider Preview service. The tool we use to deliver this preview is called the Data Dissemination System (DDS).
  • An email is despatched to a pre-nominated contact group of staff of HE Providers (known as the ‘DDS announce contacts’) detailing the specification, third-party requester, intended use and preview period (usually 2 weeks).
  • The email contains a link to a download page where DDS announce contacts can download and view their data along with the specification, accompanying definitions, and any pre-agreed notes/caveats.
  • Where possible and appropriate, we will also supply sector mean/median/quartiles of any calculated figures (averages/ratios etc) to provide an indication of how each provider relates to other sector providers.
  • Data is available for download on the system for approximately 4 weeks covering a period before and after onward supply to the third party. HE providers are advised to save a local copy during that time if they wish to keep a record of data supplied.
  • Any HE provider wishing to raise a query about the data or to provide additional contextual information should contact Jisc via the contact details expressed within the notification. Queries should quote the 5-digit enquiry reference number which is listed in the original email notification to DDS Announce contacts.

In delivering this service, we will endeavour to:

  • Answer questions HE providers may have on intended usage of the data,
  • Assist HE providers in understanding the specification and definitions of the data,
  • Facilitate direct discussions between the HE provider and third-party requester if both parties agree to such contact.

We are not able to:

  • Provide supplementary datasets to help HE providers replicate the data (list of student or staff identifier codes in a data item),
  • Suppress specific students/staff from a dataset based on identifier codes,
  • Change the coding of students/staff in a data set to be supplied to a third party.

Occasionally, review of data via the Provider Preview service will identify a data quality issue in the original data submitted to us that was not previously identified by the data collection quality assurance procedures. In such cases original data may be suppressed and corrected data may be supplied by the HE provider along with an explanation of the error in the original submission. We will usually provide such corrected data to the third party requestor but cannot guarantee that corrected data will be used.

General information

If you would like a staff member added or removed from the DDS announce contact list, please email [email protected] with their name, role and contact details and we will update the list.

The DDS Announce mailing list will only be used to administer the Provider Preview service. This list is held confidentially and is not shared with anyone else.

In the event that a provider does not have a nominated Provider Preview contact, the Head of Provider/Accountable Officer will be contacted to nominate a replacement.