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How we use data in education decisions

23 Jan 2023

This guidance is intended to help you understand how we use data in our education quality assurance work and to set some context to help you engage with our requirements and requests

Why we use data

We use data to inform our quality assurance decision-making through assessment processes and to gain continued assurance once we have made decisions on the quality of education provision.

Using data allows us to be:

  • Proactive – where data and intelligence identify risks, we can trigger some form of engagement with providers
  • Risk-based – have an evidence-based understand of risks for providers
  • Proportionate – undertake bespoke and right touch regulatory interventions

What data we use

Wherever possible, we use externally produced and verified data (rather than data and information provided solely by education providers). This not only benefits providers, as it reduces duplication in reporting the same data to different organisations, but also the HCPC, as we receive independent information about provider performance.

We use available data when it covers most HCPC-approved education providers (most of which are higher education institutions). Our normative data requirements are for:

  • Number of learners
  • Continuation rates
  • Graduate outcomes
  • Teaching quality
  • Learner satisfaction

How we use data

Data should not be seen as the final word on the quality of education provision. We use data as part of a quality assurance picture, and always ask education providers to comment on the data we use when undertaking assessment processes.

For example, when undertaking our ‘performance review’ monitoring process, we ask providers to reflect on the data we have received, through a structured portfolio.

We recognise there could be many reasons for outcomes, and that disappointing data can be a catalyst for change. We are interested in exploring how providers interpret and use data to improve.

We have produced a briefing document aimed at helping providers understand the data we use. In this document, you can see what data supplies we use, how we interpret them, recognised limitations of the sources and future developments.

When externally sourced data is not available

Where risk assessment allows, we will lengthen the period between performance review engagements from two years (which is the historical norm for the HCPC) up to a maximum of five years.

To remain confident with provider performance, we rely on regular supply of data and intelligence to help us understand provider performance outside of the periods where we directly engage with them.

We recognise that not all providers will be included in external data returns linked to these areas, and we aim to not disadvantage these providers. We aim to support these providers to establish direct data supplies with the HCPC through the performance review process.

Where the provider does not have an agreed / established data supply with the HCPC, the maximum length of time we will allow between performance review engagements is two years. This is so we can continue to understand risks in an ongoing way where data is not available.


Data sources are constantly evolving, and the ability to respond to these evolutions is built into our operating model. We have the following changes in mind for the data sources we use, which we need to consider when developing our data model in the remainder of this academic year:

  • Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – new TEF awards, and that as this scheme is England-only, how we use an equivalent for the other home countries
  • National Student Survey (NSS) – discontinuation of the ‘overall satisfaction’ question in England

Based on the recognised limitations noted through the briefing document, we also hope to establish and embed more formal (and where needed bespoke, provider level) supplies of the following:

  • The National Education and Training Survey (NETS)
  • The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES)
Page updated on: 23/01/2023