Information and Enhancements


The Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) was set up in 1993 to establish more coherence in higher education statistics. It acts as a central agency for the collection and distribution of data relating to higher education institutions.

More about HESA

What returns are made to HESA?

Every higher education institution has to submit data to HESA. The returns, which are required in each academic year, cover the following categories:

  • staff stream
  • student stream
  • aggregate overseas stream
  • ITT stream
  • DLHE stream
  • finance stream
  • NCB stream
  • campus information stream
  • DLHE longitudinal survey.

Census and submission dates for HESA vary depending on which return is being submitted.
More information on the HESA website

HESA staff collection notice:

More information on the HESA website

Human Resources is responsible for the HESA staff returns.

What happens to the information held in the staff returns?

The information held in the staff return is used in a variety of ways. Annual publications are compiled by HESA and the data is used by a range of organisations - both public and private.

Data is used for the compilation of performance indicators by the Higher Education Funding Council and the Training and Development Agency for Schools. In the private sector data is used to compile and publish league tables produced in both the Times and the Guardian newspapers.

Most importantly to individual institutions is the use of HESA data as the basis of formulae-driven funding allocations, with respect to access and widening participation. This emphasises the importance of the integrity of the data held within the staff return which is submitted to HESA.

How does the University ensure the integrity of staff data?

The systems and information team undertake various data integrity checks on all staff data to ensure it is accurate. This is an on-going process which continues throughout the year. The Systems and Information Manager has overall responsibility for this work and, where necessary, liaises with Finance and Commercial Development staff to ensure the data standards are continually improved.

HESA also provide software known as validation kits which can be downloaded from their website. It is possible to compile the HESA data and then run it through the validation kit to pick up any inconsistencies before it is submitted.

What does the University do with the data compiled for the staff returns?

The data is used to assist with internal monitoring of University Performance Indicators, as well as providing a consistent dataset for analysis and trends in staffing profiles.

If you have any queries concerning staff returns, contact the Senior HR Data Analyst on 01642 342211.

More information

The HR Support Services team is responsible for the overall management, development and maintenance of the HR management information system and supporting the HR department's administration of staff contracts, recruitment and selection.