The Higher Education Statistics Agency and Jisc are discussing the possibility of merging to form a new designated data organisation that will benefit the UK higher education sector. The proposed merger will help UK higher education by merging both organisations' skills to build a resilient, collaborative capability for meeting the sector's data and digital needs.
Suppose the merger, which is still in its early stages, goes through. In that case, HESA will cease to exist as an independent agency and instead become a component of Jisc. It will need to be replaced as the designated data body, a role it fulfilled in 2018.
To fill this position, the Office for Students collected expressions of interest from the sector in March. The higher education sector regulator is now in the process of consulting further with higher education providers and sector bodies to determine the new DBB.
The successful organisation will have significant knowledge of the industry and its regulatory landscape, as well as be independent of ministers and universities, among other criteria.
Following receipt of expressions of interest, the OfS plans to discuss with the sector further in spring 2022.
It is worth mentioning that HESA’s data analytics team joined Jisc in September 2019, building on the recommendations of the 2017 Bell Review.
For some time, the data analytics teams at HESA and Jisc have been exploring deeper collaboration and have successfully provided a number of collaborative data analysis products and services. Heidi Plus, Analytics Labs, and Community Dashboards are among them. This means that Jisc is now responsible for delivering these products, as well as a number of other new products and services that are in the works.
HESA continues to gather, verify, and publish UK-wide higher education statistics as the trusted source of HE information. HESA is dedicated to meeting the needs of higher education for authoritative, timely, and secure data. It assists higher education providers in meeting their regulatory data needs and distributes information through Official Statistics products and Open Data through a range of collection and support activities.