HESA staff collection notice

How we report to HESA and how they process your data.

Staff Collection Notice

Note: Reference in this notice to “we” and “us” refers to the higher education provider by whom you are employed. 

Staff Collection Notice 

Submission of your information to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) [1] 

Every year, we send some of the information we hold about you to HESA (“your HESA information”). HESA is the official source of data about UK universities and higher education colleges www.hesa.ac.uk. Your HESA information does not contain your name or contact details, but may contain your Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID.org) number if you have one. If you leave your current employment and move to another higher education provider we may pass your HESA Staff ID number to your new employer to enable research into employment in the higher education sector. 

It is not intended to use your HESA information to make decisions about you. 

HESA collects, and is responsible for, the database in which your HESA information is stored.  HESA is a registered charity and operates on a not-for-profit basis. HESA uses your HESA information itself for its own purposes. HESA also shares information from your HESA information with third parties. It may charge other organisations to whom it provides services and data. HESA information is retained indefinitely by HESA for statistical research purposes. All uses of your HESA information must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents. 

Sensitive information 

If you give us information about your disability status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, parental leave or religion these may be included in your HESA information and used to assist with monitoring equality of opportunity and eliminating unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act. Your sensitive information will not be used to make decisions about you. 

Purposes for collecting your HESA information 

Your HESA information is used for four broad purposes: 

Purpose 1 - Public functions

Your HESA information is used by some organisations to help carry out public functions connected with education in the UK. These organisations are data controllers in common of your HESA information under the terms of the Data Protection Act (this link explains what this means ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/key-definitions/ ). Such organisations may include: 

  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Welsh Government
  • Scottish Government
  • Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council
  • Research Councils
  • Department for Education
  • Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  • National Health Service bodies and organisations working with them e.g. Health Education England

and any successor bodies. These bodies may retain HESA information indefinitely for statistical research purposes, or for fixed terms depending on the terms of their data sharing agreements with HESA. 

Your HESA information may also be used by some organisations who are also data controllers in common to help carry out public functions that are not connected with education such as monitoring of public expenditure by the National Audit Office. 

HEFCE will link information about academic staff to Research Excellence Framework submissions in order to monitor equal opportunities in relation to that exercise. 

Purpose 2 - HESA publications 

HESA uses your HESA information to produce and publish information and statistics. This includes some National Statistics publications (www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/national-statistician/types-of-official-statistics) and online business intelligence and research services. HESA will take precautions to ensure that individuals are not identified from any information which is processed for Purpose 2. 

Purpose 3 - Equal opportunity, research, journalism and other processing in which there is a legitimate interest

HESA and the other data controllers in common listed under Purpose 1 may also supply information to third parties where there is a legitimate interest in doing so. Examples of use for this purpose include:

  • Equal opportunities monitoring
  • Research - This may be academic research, commercial research or other statistical research where this is in the public interest
  • Journalism - Where the relevant publication would be in the public interest e.g. league tables
  • Provision of information to students and prospective students 

Users to whom information may be supplied for Purpose 3 include:

  • Higher education sector bodies
  • Higher education providers
  • Academic researchers and students
  • Commercial organisations
  • Unions
  • Non-governmental organisations and charities
  • Local, regional and national government bodies
  • Journalists 

Information supplied by HESA to third parties within Purpose 3 is supplied under contracts which require that individuals shall not be identified from the supplied information. A copy of HESA’s current agreement for the supply of information is available at www.hesa.ac.uk/bds-details#e 

Purpose 4 –Clinical academic staff and health professionals only 

If you work in a clinical or health-related role or department the following organisations may use your HESA information for the additional purposes described below: 

The Medical Schools Council and Universities UK through the activities of its Dental Schools Council – for the purposes of:

  • Monitoring trends in clinical academic staffing as a basis for partnership between the NHS and universities.
  • Promoting, maintaining and improving high quality education, research and clinical practice in the UK.
  • Publishing results of research into clinical academic staffing at a detailed statistical level from which there may be a risk of identification of individuals through combinations of characteristics.

About the HESA Staff Collection Notice 

The HESA Staff Collection Notice is regularly reviewed.  The most up to date version can be found at www.hesa.ac.uk/fpn.  Minor updates to the Staff Collection Notice (including organisation name changes and clarification of previously specified purposes) may be made at any time. Major updates (such as a new purpose) will be made no more than once per year. 

Your rights

 For further information about data protection and your HESA information please see www.hesa.ac.uk/dataprot. If you have questions about how your HESA information is used please contact data.protection@hesa.ac.uk. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have rights of access to the information HESA holds about you. You will have to pay a small fee for this. If you think there is a problem with the way HESA are handling your data you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office: https://ico.org.uk/.