The OfS and Research England expect 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.
However, we acknowledge that sometimes errors are identified in the data after it has been finally submitted or signed off by providers and after the OfS or Research England have used the data.
The OfS and Research England will only accept amendments to final submitted data in exceptional circumstances. We will assess data errors for amendment using information in an error summary workbook submitted by the provider. See how to download and submit an error summary.
To be accepted for amendment, errors will have to be genuine, widespread, significant and have a moderate or substantial impact on the OfS or Research England uses of the data. This will be determined through an assessment process.
When assessing errors in data, we will consider their effects on multiple purposes.
The requirement to report any identified errors is covered by the OfS reportable events policy. In determining whether an error should be reported via the data amendments process, providers should consider the guidance in the policy. Please make sure you read and fully understand the guidance on matters relating to information provision.
Assessment of data amendments
To decide or recommend whether we expect the errors to be corrected, submitted error summaries are assessed as to whether the proposed amendments meet all of the following criteria:
- Errors are widespread.
- Errors are significant.
- Amendments relate to clear evidence of data error rather than re-interpretation of data (such as re-categorisation).
- Errors are likely to have an impact on one or more of our uses of the data.
Impact on uses of data
Where an amendment is deemed to have a moderate impact on a use of the data, the amendment will be picked up in any routine future processes for that use. For example, any amendments deemed to have a moderate impact on the NSS will be incorporated into the next quarterly update.
Where an amendment is deemed to have a substantial impact on a use of data, the amendment will be used outside of routine processes in the following ways:
The amended data will be used to recalculate any recurrent funding allocations that were based on the original version of the data. For example, if errors in a provider’s HESES20 return were found likely to be material, we would recalculate 2021-22 recurrent funding using the amended data return.
If this is done before the final grant announcement for a given academic year, providers will be notified of the changes to grant at the next public grant announcement, and new grant tables will be issued via the portal. If the final grant announcement for the year has passed (normally the October after the end of the academic year), accountable officers will be notified separately by email.
Any funding changes are subject to agreement under the OfS’s scheme of delegation.
The amended data will be used to correct the NSS data published on the OfS website as well as the target list supplied to Ipsos MORI.
The amended data will be used to correct the target list.
The amended data will be used to correct the data published on the Discover Uni website.
The amended data will be used to correct the data published in the OfS student numbers official statistics. The amendments will also be considered in any pending University Title or Degree Awarding Power decisions.
The institutional performance measures support our functions for access and participation and quality and standards and are currently being consulted on.
Substantial impact for institutional performance measures will likely mean that the amended data will be used to update any provider-level data about student outcomes and experiences used for these functions published on the OfS website. This approach will be confirmed once the consultations have concluded.
The amended data will be used to correct the data in any financial publications, such as Senior staff remuneration and HESA Finance official statistics.
The amendments will also be considered in any financial health and sustainability modelling.
The amended data will be used to recalculate any current and, exceptionally, past funding allocations that were based on the original version of the data. For example, if errors in a provider’s AFR20 return were found likely to be material, we would recalculate 2021-22 recurrent funding using the amended data return.
Existing Research England funding publications are not usually updated on the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) website. Research England will directly liaise with providers.
Any funding changes are subject to approval by Research England’s Executive Chair. Amendments will be used in all future Research England funding processes.
The amended data will be incorporated in any current work (or a recent output) that used the original version of the data. For example, if errors in a provider’s HE-BCI 2019-20 return were found to be material, we would recalculate Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) metrics or reproduce analyses on the knowledge exchange activities of higher education providers in England using the amended data return.
We will consider the impact of the amendments separately for the each of the uses of the data.
We may process amendments for one purpose without implementing all the implications for other purposes. For example, an error may need correction for financial health and sustainability purposes but we will not process the funding implications if they are not material. We will only process implications for a specific purpose where the impact on that purpose is material.
The review process
Error summaries will be initially assessed by experts on the different uses of the data, who will provide advice on the possible impact and significance of the changes and recommendations as to whether the amendments would be material for their uses of the data.
The proposed amendments, alongside the recommendations, will then be reviewed by the nominated representatives (the members of the panel with delegated authority to make some initial decisions between panel meetings, as defined in the terms of the panel), to determine whether they clearly and unequivocally meet data amendments criteria (and can be pre-accepted) or clearly and unequivocally fail to meet the criteria (and will be pre-rejected). Because of this review process, we recommend providers submit error summaries as soon as the full extent of data errors are identified. This will ensure data errors can be addressed in a timely manner, reducing burden on both providers and the OfS.
See guidance on downloading and submitting an error summary
Any amendments that do not clearly and unequivocally meet or fail to meet the criteria will be considered by the data amendments panel at the next meeting. A summary of any nominated representatives’ pre-reject or pre-accept decisions will also be supplied to the panel at each meeting.
Providers will be informed of the outcomes and will have an opportunity to appeal against the decision.
The OfS 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 the OfS.
For further details, read the panel's terms of reference.
For general queries on the data amendments process, please email [email protected]