Universities and colleges carry out benchmarking activity in both academic and organisational areas in order to take advantage of these benefits. It has also been used to demonstrate that universities and colleges are working to provide value for money.
There are many different collections of data in the sector which allow benchmarking, but major tools include:
- Higher Education Information Database for Institutions (HEIDI)
A web-based management information service that provides easy access to data and information
- Estates management records
Statistics designed to inform the way in which institutions manage and improve their physical infrastructure.
Benchmarking is a valuable tool for universities and colleges to identify efficiencies, control costs and learn from areas of good practice. It enables them to focus on priorities and make better use of scarce resources.
The Universities UK report Efficiency and effectiveness in higher education recommended that better data on costs of operational functions should be developed, which would provide useful information to support benchmarking.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) carried out research into benchmarking. The report, ‘Benchmarking to improve efficiency’, is the output of the first of a two-stage process designed to help the sector drive efficiency through more effective and extensive benchmarking of its activities.