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Office for Students: Databases

Question for Department for Education

UIN 139465, tabled on 14 March 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to ensure that higher education providers have a good understanding of (a) the reasons for which the Office for Students collects the data it does and (b) how it uses that data.

Answered on

24 March 2022

The department has set out expectations in relation to the Office for Students (OfS) and reducing the data burden on higher education (HE) providers. This has been done in an announcement in September 2020, and in subsequent guidance letters to the OfS.

The OfS provides a clear description for the uses of each data collection. This information is communicated regularly to providers through consultations as well as being displayed on the OfS website. Alongside the data collections, the OfS provides high-level descriptions on how it intends to use each data item. The OfS intends to review these descriptions as it reviews the contents of records to ensure that they are clear.

The OfS provides detailed descriptions of all its data outputs and uses. This allows providers to understand exactly how it has used its data to inform regulatory metrics, publications, and funding.

The OfS engages regularly with providers on data burden. Most recently, this was done through the data futures consultation and roundtable.