Changes to Gender in the Student Record

The request was successful.

To whom it may concern,

I would be grateful if you could provide the following information under your organisation's commitment to answer queries in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act.

1) The definition of "legal" gender as used in the development of the Student Record 2012/13

2) Any Equality Impact Assessment or equivalent conducted regarding the implications of changes to the Student Record in relation to equality issues and the Equality Act (2010) - particularly deprecating Student.GENDER in favour of Student.SEX

3) The contents of any correspondence or consultation submissions provided by HE Institutions, the Equality Challenge Unit or any HE sector body in relation to the above changes

Yours faithfully,
Emma Brownbill

Apologies; the previous email, under (1) should include "biological" sex/gender as well as "legal" sex/gender.

Thanks.

Data Protection, Higher Education Statistics Agency

Dear Emma

Thank you for contacting HESA.

HESA collects a statistical Staff Record and Student Record from each HE institution in the UK. The data collected by HESA is not used to identify or affect individuals. On advice from the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU - the organisation responsible for advancing equality and diversity in further and higher education) both Staff and Student records for the 2012/13 academic year are being amended to reflect the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty which falls on Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The full advice and guidance originally provided by ECU is published here: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php/content/....

The change in terminology of Gender to Sex is also being made to bring HESA into line with wider data standards used by, for example, the Census.

The phrase ‘legal’ sex is only currently used in the Staff Record. The intention in the Staff Record is to match the data requirements of HMRC, which for tax and pension purposes only accept Female or Male.

The final coding manual and guidance for the Student Record in 2012/13 has not been published. From your own and other queries about the provisional guidance and consultation documents it is clear that the terminology of ‘legal’ sex may not be appropriate for the Student Record.

Similarly the binary choice of Female or Male, originally intended to match the Staff Record, is now the subject of further discussion with regard to the Student Record.

HESA will take further advice from ECU on these matters and I will respond to this same address if there are any changes to the current draft HESA guidance to HEIs.

The following advice from ECU to HEIs has been updated today (see http://www.ecu.ac.uk/your-questions/how-...

--- quoted text ---
Sex
• What is your sex?
o Male
o Female
• These categories reflect the requirements of the HESA staff record. HEIs may wish to adapt the question at an institutional level to include the options of 'Other' and 'Prefer not to say'. This will allow anyone who associate with the terms intersex, androgyne, intergender, ambigender, gender fluid, polygender and genderqueer to complete the question.
• The UK law only recognises two sexes: 'Male' and 'Female'. Therefore if an HEI only provides the 'Male' and 'Female' options, we recommend that they adapt the question to 'What is your legal sex?' This is the sex given on the person's birth certificate (note that this is not necessarily the same as their sex at birth).
• We recommend that HEIs ask sex and gender identity questions separately.
--- end quoted text ---

ECU recommended the addition of the GENDERID field to help HEIs and the HE funding bodies meet their non-discrimination and monitoring duties under the Equality Act. It is not compulsory for institutions to ask this question or to include this field in their HESA returns. If asked, answering the question will also be optional. By including GENDERID in the HESA record HEIs are provided with a standardised way of coding this information for their own equality monitoring purposes. If data is returned to HESA, sector wide statistics may be used for monitoring and benchmarking of Public Sector Equality Duty performance by HEIs and the wider HE sector.

Further research into the relationship between the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is currently being undertaken by HESA to ensure that any future processing of gender identity data is lawful.

I hope this information explains the current situation, if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

Kind regards

Simon

Simon Kemp
Press Officer and Data Protection Officer
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
95 Promenade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1HZ
T 01242 211135  F 01242 211122  W www.hesa.ac.uk

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_____________________________________________________________________

Simon Kemp, Higher Education Statistics Agency

Dear Emma.

 

I would like to clarify that ECU recommends HEIs, and HESA, to include the
categories ‘Other’ and ‘Prefer not to say’ alongside ‘Male’ and Female’ as
responses to the question ‘What is your sex?’

 

Kind regards

 

Simon

 

Simon Kemp
Press Officer and Data Protection Officer
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
95 Promenade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1HZ
T 01242 211135  F 01242 211122  W [1]www.hesa.ac.uk

 

[2]View our Publications product catalogue (pdf)

 

 

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Simon Kemp, Higher Education Statistics Agency

Dear Emma

 

I promised to respond to this address if there were any changes to the
HESA Student record and associated guidance to HEIs with regard to sex and
gender.

 

Version 1 of the coding manual for the 2012/13 HESA Student record has now
been published. A document summarising changes includes details of the new
data fields SEXID and GENDERID. These fields have changed from the
provisional versions outlined in the circular published in December 2011.
HESA is grateful for the advice, feedback and suggestions received
relating to these fields following publication of the circular.

 

The Student record coding manual defines the information to be returned to
HESA by Higher Education Institutions. It does not prescribe the questions
that institutions should ask when gathering information on [1]protected
characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010 (although suggestions are
offered in some cases). HESA data is collected on behalf of the statutory
bodies responsible for funding higher education. These public bodies
determine the data required to meet their [2]Public Sector Equality Duty
under the Equality Act 2010.

 

The summary of changes document can be found here:
[3]http://www.hesa.ac.uk/component/option,c...

 

The new data field SEXID is described here:
[4]http://www.hesa.ac.uk/component/option,c...

 

Valid entries for SEXID will now be Male; Female; Other. No reference is
made to the concept of ‘legal sex’.

 

The new field GENDERID is described here:
[5]http://www.hesa.ac.uk/component/option,c...

 

Returning GENDERID data to HESA is optional for HE institutions.

 

Please note that the HESA student record is only used for statistical
purposes and is not used to identify, look up, or make decisions about
individuals. The HESA Student Collection Notice describes the purposes for
which HESA data is collected: [6]http://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection_notice.

 

Kind regards

 

Simon

 

 

Simon Kemp
Press Officer and Data Protection Officer
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
95 Promenade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1HZ
T 01242 211135  F 01242 211122  W [7]www.hesa.ac.uk

 

 

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4. http://www.hesa.ac.uk/component/option,c...
5. http://www.hesa.ac.uk/component/option,c...
6. http://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection_notice
7. http://www.hesa.ac.uk/

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