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Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

HESA funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Funding data reconciliation exercise

1. This circular letter notifies institutions of the start of the HESA funding and monitoring data 2012-13 funding data reconciliation exercise. This exercise compares the data returned to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) with Higher Education Students Early Statistics (HESES) data submitted to HEFCE. A response may be required.

2. A formal response to this exercise is required only from institutions that are selected due to meeting any of the selection criteria in Annex A. There will be two phases of selection:

  • selection in May 2014
  • selection in autumn 2014.

Selection in May 2014

3. On Friday 16 May we will e-mail all HESES contacts to advise them whether their institution has been selected for this exercise in May or deferred from selection. We will also write to and e-mail the heads of those institutions selected for the exercise. We will ensure receipt of the e-mail and letter for selected institutions by phoning the HESES contact by Friday 23 May.

Selection in autumn 2014

4. As described in ‘HESA funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Funding summaries and request for updates to completion status data’ (HEFCE Circular letter 08/2014), we are asking institutions to provide updates to completion status information. The deadline for the Completion Status Survey (CSS) return is Friday 27 June. Any updates to completion status data may result in the selection for this exercise of institutions not initially selected in May. (In the case of institutions that do not respond to the CSS, we will assume that all students with an undetermined completion status (FUNDCOMP=3) are non-completions.) Where we believe that an institution may have been initially selected for this exercise solely because of the non‑inclusion of updated completion status data, we have deferred consideration of its selection until after receipt of the CSS.

5. For the majority of institutions therefore, we will not be able to determine selection for the exercise definitively until later in the year. If, on receipt and incorporation of data from CSS returns into the HESES12 re‑creations, we establish that an institution meets any of the selection criteria in Annex A, we will ask it to make a formal response to this exercise in autumn 2014. In the autumn, following completion of the CSS, we expect to contact all institutions not already selected in May to notify them of whether or not they have been selected.

General information

6. We encourage all institutions to review the reconciliation outputs that accompany this exercise (see paragraph 10 for further information), as this is an essential element of all institutions’ data quality processes. The outputs will help institutions to:

  • identify discrepancies between forecasts in 2012-13 HESES data (HESES12) and the outturn position for 2012-13
  • identify errors in HESES12.

7. 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 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).

8. Therefore, where discrepancies occur between HESES12 and the outturn position for 2012-13, and these discrepancies exceed any of the selection thresholds listed in Annex A, we will request a formal response to this exercise. This response, in the form of an action plan, should explain all material differences between HESES12 and the re-creation from HESA student data of HESES12 (the HESES12 re-creation).

9. Any funding adjustments arising from the reconciliations of HESES12 with the HESES12 re-creation are likely to affect the funding previously announced for 2012-13 and all subsequent years.

HESA funding and monitoring data 2012-13: funding data reconciliation exercise outputs

10. The 2012-13 exercise is accompanied by the HESES12 re-creation output. The algorithms used to generate the HESES12 re-creation are broadly the same as those used for the ‘Higher Education Statistics Agency funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Web facility’ (HEFCE Circular letter 22/2013). However, we have made some minor changes where we believe improvements are appropriate.

Further information

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

12. The set of tables that accompanies this exercise can be downloaded from the ‘HESA funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Outputs’ location on the HEFCE extranet. The relevant group key was posted to heads of institutions and HESES contacts on 27 March 2014 (this accompanied the release of HEFCE Circular letter 08/2014).

13. 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 as follows.

  1. Extranet locations, deadlines and documentation, including technical information (such as algorithms and problems of fit), can be found in the ‘2012-13 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.

14. 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 have provided 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.

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

Yours sincerely

Professor Madeleine Atkins

Chief Executive

Date: 16 May 2014

Ref: Circular letter 12/2014

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

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