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    The deadline is fast approaching to submit your 2016/17 workforce data to the national Further Education (FE) workforce data service, SIR Data Insights. The service is run by the Education and Training Foundation on behalf of the government and collects data at individual staff contract level from all FE learning providers. These include independent training providers, adult education and voluntary/community sector providers. The deadline for this year’s submission is 31 October.

    After a successful pilot of the new national service last year, this year’s objective is to increase the number of submissions significantly to create a truly representative data set for all parts of the sector.

    Why is submitting your data so important?

    • The dataset is used by government to understand all parts of the sector so it is important that everyone is well represented to ensure a robust evidence base for policy making. There is growing interest in SIR Data Insights as the sole FE-wide source of workforce data, therefore it needs to be as accurate as possible.
    • In return for submitting data, providers can access free data analytic tools for benchmarking, checking and understanding their own workforce data.

    Providers have a number of options for submitting data: larger providers with HR systems can export data from their HR system; smaller providers can complete a template spreadsheet; very small providers can even ask staff to enter data directly themselves. The SIR Data Insights website offers a lot of useful guidance including handy videos showing how to prepare and upload data and how to spot and correct errors.

    For colleges, SIR Data Insights is about to become the single collection point for workforce data courtesy of a new data sharing agreement between the Association of Colleges (AoC), the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) and the University and College Union (UCU).

    Joining forces

    Currently there are several separate data collection exercises undertaken annually across the FE sector each year which all attempt to measure very similar things, resulting in a number of different datasets with varying levels of completeness.

    • The ETF asks all providers, including colleges, to complete the Staff Individualised Record through SIR Data Insights.
    • The UCU submits an annual freedom of information (FOI) request on staff contracts and pay.
    • The AoC conducts an annual workforce survey.

    All three organisations have a shared interest in ensuring that the sector has the best and most reliable data possible so they have entered into a data sharing agreement to enable collection of a single dataset of reliable and robust data on staff numbers, pay and terms and conditions through the SIR Data Insights service.

    The aim of the agreement is that this data collection will replace separate annual FOI requests and workforce data surveys, meaning that colleges will have one return to complete, and it will be used by all three organisations. 

    Colleges are being asked to opt into this data sharing agreement to enable 2016/17 workforce data submitted through the national FE workforce data service, to be shared with the AoC, UCU and the ETF.

    To find out more and opt into the data sharing agreement, visit the SIR Data Insights website. To submit your 2016/17 workforce data please login or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the help desk service, or call 0345 833 9040.

    Charlynne Pullen, Head of Data and Evaluation, the Education and Training Foundation (ETF)

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