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Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

HESA funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2011-12: Funding data reconciliation exercise

1. This circular letter notifies institutions of the release of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) funding and monitoring data 2011-12 funding data reconciliation exercise. This exercise compares the data returned to HESA with Higher Education Students Early Statistics survey (HESES) data submitted to HEFCE. A response may be required (see paragraph 5).

2. For those institutions we initially require to make a formal response to the exercise, we will write to heads of institution and HESES contacts separately to this circular letter. The letter will be sent by e-mail on 7 May 2013, and followed by a telephone call to HESES contacts to ensure its receipt. For the majority of institutions we will not be able to determine selection for the exercise until a later point in the year because of the ongoing Completion Status Survey (CSS) (see paragraph 7 for further details). We expect to be able to write to these institutions in summer 2013. The process of informing institutions of their selection at this stage will reflect that for those identified and advised in May.

3. We encourage institutions to review the reconciliation outputs that accompany this exercise (see paragraph 11 for further information), as this is an essential element of all institutions’ data quality processes. It will help institutions to:

  • identify discrepancies between forecasts in 2011-12 HESES data (HESES11) and the outturn position for 2011-12
  • identify errors in HESES11.

4. Our funding allocations (including the setting and monitoring of student number controls) are informed by the data provided by institutions. If we find, either through reconciliations with HESA or other organisations’ data, or during the course of any data audit, that erroneous data have resulted in institutions receiving incorrect funding allocations, we will adjust their funding accordingly (subject to any appeals process that may apply and the availability of our funds).

5. Therefore, where discrepancies occur between HESES11 and the outturn position for 2011-12 as recorded in HESA, and these discrepancies exceed any of the selection thresholds listed in Annex A, we will request a formal response to this exercise. The response, in the form of an action plan, should explain all material differences between the HESES11 and the re-creation from HESA student data of HESES11 (the HESES11 re-creation).

6. Any funding adjustments arising from the reconciliations of HESES11 with the HESES11 re-creation, or from the comparison of cost centre assignments based on sector norms for subjects with the HESES11 re-creation, are likely to affect the funding previously announced for 2011-12 and all subsequent years.

Relationship with the Completion Status Survey (CSS)

7. As described in ‘HESA funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2011-12: Funding summaries and request for updates to completion status data’ (HEFCE Circular letter 05/2013), we are asking institutions to provide updates to completion status information via the CSS. The deadline for the CSS return is later this summer, so any updates to completion status data may result in the selection for this exercise of institutions not initially meeting the selection criteria. If, upon receipt and incorporation of data from CSS returns into the HESES11 re‑creations, we establish that any institution meets any of the selection criteria in Annex A, we will ask the institution to formally make a response to this exercise. We do not believe that any institution will be initially selected for this exercise solely because of the non‑inclusion of updated completion status data.

HESA funding and monitoring data 2011-12: funding data reconciliation exercise outputs

8. The following outputs accompany the 2011-12 exercise:

  • HESES11 re-creation
  • HESES11 re-creation based on cost centre sector norms.

9. The algorithms used to generate the HESES11 re-creation are the same as those used for the ‘Higher Education Statistics Agency funding and monitoring data 2011-12: web facility’ (HEFCE Circular letter 25/2012), except for those detailed in Annex A of HEFCE Circular letter 05/2013.

Further information

10. The ‘Funding data reconciliations’ area on the HEFCE web-site provides further detail regarding the reconciliation exercise.

11. The set of tables that accompany this exercise can be downloaded from the ‘HESA FAMD 2011-12 (incl. funding summaries and data reconciliation outputs)’ location on the new HEFCE Extranet. The relevant group key was posted to heads of institutions and HESES contacts on 28 March 2013 (this accompanied the release of HEFCE Circular letter 05/2013).

12. Further guidance about the reconciliation outputs is available in the funding and monitoring area of our web-site. Some areas that may be of interest are:

  1. Extranet locations, deadlines and documentation, including technical information (such as algorithms and problems of fit), can be found in the ‘2011-12 funding and monitoring data overview’.
  2. Information on how to obtain data from the HEFCE extranet can be found in the ‘How to access outputs’ guide.
  3. Guidance on how to submit an action plan in response to this exercise can be found in the ‘HESES re-creation action plan’ guide and the ‘HESES re-creation based on cost centre sector norms action plan’ guide.

13. Institutions are reminded that the individualised data made available through this exercise are covered by the Data Protection Act. These data are only accessible to someone holding the HEFCE extranet key which we will provide to heads of institution and HESES contacts for institutions. Institutions should ensure that the extranet key is not passed to anyone without a legitimate reason to access the individualised data.

14. For further information or guidance please contact Alastair Kendall (tel. 0117 931 7184, e‑mail hesa_heses_stats@hefce.ac.uk).

Yours sincerely

Sir Alan Langlands

Chief Executive

Date: 7 May 2013

Ref: Circular letter 10/2013

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Planning, Finance, Audit

Enquiries should be directed to:

Alastair Kendall, tel 0117 931 7184, e-mail hesa_heses_stats@hefce.ac.uk