“The College has not completed the SIR data for approximately the last 4 years. A decision was made not to complete as we never received any feedback.  This year’s SIR Data Insights service is much more useful.”

This is the verdict of Sandra Lydon, HR Manager at South Tyneside College, who continues, “We looked at the information we could download from the new SIR Data Insights service and decided that it was worth doing this year. We want to be able to benchmark in relation to other colleges”.

We used the spreadsheet template on the website to prepare and enter our data. We were able to run a number of reports and get most of the data from our HR system to put into the template columns. The template was easy to use and the guidance notes easy to follow, it told us exactly how to format the data.

Uploading information into the SIR system was really easy.  We had to contact the Help Desk about some errors and they were really helpful.

It wasn’t an onerous task gathering the data, however this has been built into the College’s HR action plan to update the data on a monthly basis.  As this was the first year we were collating the information we decided to complete the basic fields as advised in the guidance notes.  The Teaching qualifications was not one of these fields, however when we came to upload the data it came back with a lot of errors and these were all related to teaching qualifications.  This field needed to be completed with “unknown” in order to erase these errors.

The system was easy to use and the output data is really useful.  I went on yesterday and downloaded data that shows our position compared to national data for 2014/15. It was so useful, it showed that our staffing composition is borne out by the national picture – a majority of part-time, female staff. Also our staff age profile is much the same as the national stats from 2014/15 which show a majority over age 45.

We have a lot of this data in our HR system but to see it visually requires an export to a spreadsheet and then producing graphs.  The dashboards in the SIR Data Insights service are automatic and also show the position against other colleges in the sector.  It’s good to benchmark and see the differences. This new service will be a useful strategic resource going forward.”

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