AUDE statement on 'lean' EMR data collection

20 September 2022      Jane White, Executive Director


The article below was published in September 2022 and still represents our best understading at that time. However the information in the text below gives an update accurate in early June 2023.

HESA/JISC are in advanced discussions with the DfE about funding a programme of work based on rebuilding the EMR to be:

  • The proposed AUDE lean dataset +
  • The EAUC Standardised Carbon Emissions Reporting Framework +
  • Statutory essentials (if not covered above) +
  • And the minimum required fields to make a comprehensive data set.

This could lead to an approx. 80% reduction in the return size, moving it onto the new collection platform, improving outputs, reducing the collection burden whilst maximising the outputs for the sector.

A business case is going to Jisc’s portfolio board in June, with detailed costings and project plans to accompany.

AUDE is dedicated to improving the EMR for all our members and protecting its future.

We will of course, keep you updated.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE (September 2022)

Why do we need a leaner dataset?

As the EMR return is no longer mandatory in England and Northern Ireland, there is a concern that there will be a significant drop-off in numbers of institutions returning datasets. Such a drop-off started in 2021 with 30 institutions not returning data, and in 2022 there were 24 non-returns with an additional 15 partial returns. There is a real concern that the trend of the last two years will continue, with more institutions not returning, or only partially returning their data.

Having a leaner set of data that all universities submit will allow AUDE to continue to do essential benchmarking and KPI assessments that benefit members and the whole sector. We understand there is often a resource burden of completing the full EMR return and with this we hope we make it easier and more worthwhile for every HEI to return data.

Of course, if your institution still wants to make a complete and full return they can.

All work on changing the EMR is done in full collaboration with sector agencies and devolved nations to ensure no duplication or dual reporting standards. We need a sustainable future for the EMR.

We hope that those who don’t currently make an EMR return will reconsider knowing we have a full review underway and leaner data return guidance.

What does a lean dataset look like?

The AUDE EMR steering group (those responsible for creating the annual EMR report) were asked by AUDE’s Executive Committee to consider what a significantly reduced dataset might look like. This reduced dataset focuses on the data likely to be of most use to Directors of Estates. Over the last 18 months we have been refining the list and consulting with our members.

The suggested reduced dataset is confined to the non-residential estate only. Because the residential market is so fragmented and is dealt with so differently from institution to institution, it was felt that any attempt at comparative data would be meaningless.

It is important to note that the scope of this lean dataset does not include carbon, sustainability or energy management data. This is being looked at in a separate project as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Challenge. The Department for Education (DfE) commissioned the EAUC to develop a Standardised Carbon Emissions Reporting Framework for Further (FE) and Higher Education (HE) institutions. This work is being completed in collaboration with sector bodies which include GuildHE, Universities UK, BUFDG, AUDE, and the Association of Colleges (AoC).

The steering group also concluded that definitions should be reconsidered with a view to simplifying them. The initial outcome of the entire member consultation and can be seen below:


AUDE EMR Suggested Reduced Dataset

It is suggested that we include the following (non-carbon/sustainability/energy) data within the reduced dataset.

Area / Building related stats

  • GIA (RICS definition).
  • NIA (RICS definition).
  • NIA of space for teaching (not offices)
  • NIA of academic office space
  • NIA of support (non-academic) office space
  • Number of academic campuses
  • Number of residential campuses
  • Building Condition GIA (broken down into A, B, C and D)
  • Total backlog maintenance liability
  • Total annual maintenance costs (need to be very clear about what is included)
  • Total annual Property Cost (clear, much simpler definition of TPC required)
  • Functional suitability. Although all parties view this as unhelpful, it is a requirement of HEFQW that it be measured for Wales.
  • Insurance replacement value

Sustainability / Energy Management

We recommend continuing to collect and submit all your sustainability and energy management data whilst we await the conclusion of the Standardised Carbon Emissions Reporting Framework

Collected elsewhere and available to us separately

  • Staff info – gathered separately by HESA
  • Student info - gathered separately by HESA
  • Finance returns – again gathered in a separate HESA return

Your HESA subscription

HESA will shortly be writing to all universities confirming that they are welcome to return this lean data set instead of a full return, should they wish.

What happens next?

AUDE will be working with sector agencies including HESA, JISC, EAUC, OfS, DfE and UUK on a full and comprehensive EMR improvement strategy. This will include an impact assessment.

Read more

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