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Use of data

HEFCE uses a number of different data sources, including HESES and HEIFES surveys, data returned to HESA and to the Education and Skills Funding Agency such as individualised student returns and finance returns.

Sometimes errors are identified in the data after it has been finally submitted or signed off by providers and after HEFCE has used the data. There is a data amendment process to assess whether HEFCE requires amendments to be made, and whether and how we use amended data to change outcomes.

Purposes for which HEFCE uses data include:

  • Funding
  • Public information (including Unistats and DLHE)
  • Regulation and assurance
  • Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)
  • Policy and statistical analysis.

Data amendments

HEFCE expects that the data we use will be the final version submitted and signed off as correct by the provider’s accountable officer. This approach also allows for consistency with published data.

From April 2017, HEFCE will only accept amendments to final submitted data in exceptional circumstances.

To be accepted for amendment, errors will have to be widespread, significant and make a material difference to HEFCE’s use of the data. This will be determined through a HEFCE assessment process.

Amended data may affect more than one HEFCE process. When assessing errors in data, we will consider their effects on multiple purposes.

The data amendment panel

A HEFCE data amendment panel will assess errors using information in an error summary spreadsheet submitted by the provider. The panel will decide or recommend whether HEFCE requires the errors to be corrected, by assessing whether they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Errors are widespread and significant.
  • Amendments relate to clear evidence of data error rather than re-interpretation of data (such as re-categorisation).
  • Errors are likely to have a material impact on one or more of HEFCE’s uses of the data.

We will consider the impact of the amendments separately for the different purposes of the data; we may require and process amendments for one purpose without implementing all the implications for other purposes. For example, an error may require correction for regulatory purposes but we will not process the funding implications if they are not material.

HEFCE will only process implications for a specific purpose where the impact on that purpose is material.

Providers will be informed of the panel outcome and will have an opportunity to appeal against the decision. HEFCE’s scheme of delegation applies to the panel outcomes and therefore sometimes the panel will make recommendations which will need to be approved by a specified person at HEFCE.

There are further details in the Terms of Reference below. 

Download the Terms of Reference


Download the Data amendment panel TOR as PDF (124 KB)

Panel schedule and process for submitting to the panel

Data amendment panel meetings will be scheduled to fit in with the timescales needed to process data for the purposes listed above.  

Deadlines will be published in the guidance documents produced for these purposes. For example, see the guidance for TEF.

The next data amendment panel meeting is on Monday 26 February 2018. Providers with identified errors in previously submitted or signed-off data (such as 2016-17 ILR) need to complete an error summary spreadsheet. This should be downloaded (see below) and submitted by uploading to the HEFCE extranet by noon on Monday 12 February 2018.

Download full instructions and guidance for the Error Summary

Download the Error Summary guidance as PDF (111 KB)

The completed error summary will be considered by the data amendment panel and providers will be notified of the panel outcome by end of Monday 5 March 2018. If errors are required to be corrected, providers will be given a deadline by which to submit the amended data. Some outcomes (such as funding changes and TEF amendments) will require approval by the HEFCE Chief Executive once the amended data has been processed.

Error summary: individualised data - for errors in ILR; HESA Student Record; HESA AP Student Record; DLHE

Download the Error Summary individualised data as MS Excel Spreadsheet (108 KB)

Error summary: aggregate data - for errors in HESES; HEIFES; HESA Finance; HESA Estate

Download the Error Summary aggregate data as MS Excel Spreadsheet (77 KB)


For general queries on the process, please email

Page last updated 16 March 2018