All you need is love… or data

After three years of running a survey, you’d think I’d be bored of it. Quite the opposite. I think it’s so important I came back to AMOSSHE just days after finishing to talk about it.

Everyone needs to know more about the world that they’re working in, to take their own part of that world forward. Talking about efficiencies and good practice is well and good, but without knowing where you fit in that picture, it’s all a bit vague.

AMOSSHE’s annual benchmarking collects headline data about Student Services across the UK. It looks at the remit of departments, the scale and scope of teams, the challenges members have worked through in the past twelve months, and emerging issues. We’ve argued for years that this is essential for members, and this year we qualified that assertion at conference through a real example of how a director has used the survey to influence the department’s developments and win over a finance director.

Why not take a look at the survey and see what you can use it for? Log into the members’ area of and access all the annual survey reports since 2003. Try it now. NOW! Some of the data will mean more to you than others. Some you might find interesting on a personal level, some valuable on a departmental level. The report is deliberately factual only; because the data will mean different things depending on your institutional context.

Gill and I asked participants for their thoughts on the future, which we duly scribed.

Members' survey ideas

Members’ survey ideas

You asked for (amongst other things):

  • clearer definitions
  • breakdowns by individual service level
  • international comparators
  • a framework to use the data

We have a host of ideas that address many of these elements. We’re thinking of maintaining the headline exercise in summer with a report available to all members, and then a series of service specific surveys through the year. The results of these mini surveys might be restricted to respondents only. Benjamin, who will be picking up the benchmarking baton, will be asking for your thoughts on the future of the exercise in this summer’s call.


Those ideas in closeup…


…more ideas…


…your input really makes a difference!

Before I sign off one last time, I make a plea to all AMOSSHE members. Please, please, please, take part in the annual benchmarking exercise. Around one third of members tend to reply – statistically valid, but the data will mean more to you if more of you take part. It will give an increasingly reliable picture of the sector. If that’s not enough encouragement, I really do love data when it tells a story. I really will be delighted if I hear that numbers go up this summer…

Blogged by Raegan Hiles

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