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HE – the world where our regulators being helpful can result in the absolute opposite!

Reducing the burden. A statement we’ve all become all too familiar with over the last decade. How much burden has been lifted though? In our experience not much - in fact - in some (most!) instances there’s more for us to do. So many subtleties around how institutions operate, the way our data is structured, the complexities of our hierarchies (and the list goes on) aren’t considered or understood.

And so, the circle continues with the latest news on HESES.

The OfS published HESES23 guidance on 14th September 23 (HESES - Office for Students). Nothing surprising in there; the good news of not needing to return non-completion follows through from Data Futures and all seems, well, burden reducing! Oh, but how this veil has slowly been lifted. For those of us that attended the webinar on HESES23 (for experienced users), an informal announcement was made.

The anticipated relief of burden around non-completion and FTE calculations, reconciliations, OfS querying etc. has dissipated. That’s because the OfS funding methodology remains the same, based on non-completion and FTE, and so they still need these data points to calculate the 2024/5 grant. How you ask? By creating something called “multiplication factors” from HESES22 and asking institutions to agree or dispute them. If you’re disputing them, you need to know what the new non-completion and/or FTE proxies should be, alongside evidence of why………….but that evidence does not need to be quantitative!

When will all this happen – after the HESES23 return is complete, passed verification and signed-off. The process is still an unknown but indicative dates for the issue of guidance to confirmation of funding spans from c. end Feb to around Easter 2024.

Immediate issues we can foresee:

  • Additional resource will be needed to support a new process (which hasn’t yet been defined)

  • No current-year data on which to benchmark and check the multiplication factors

  • HESES22 data will be tinged by the impact of the pandemic

  • Grant funding being issued much later than we’ve been used to could impact significantly on internal processes such as student number planning and financial budget setting

What do you think – how will this impact on you?

Agility in responding to ever changing and challenging regulatory requirements is a necessity now, not an option. As such, data governance and data management plays a critical part in preparing and supporting our institutions to navigate this landscape.

Here’s a link to the recording of HESES23 for experienced users. The points pulled out in this post are around 36 minutes, 55 minutes and 1hr 10 minutes.

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