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The Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) Service provides collaborative, innovative yet affordable solutions for widening participation (WP) outreach teams throughout the Higher Education sector. With millions of pounds being spent annually on delivering outreach activity, providers have a responsibility to evaluate the efficacy of this work. The HEAT Service was developed by the sector, for the sector, to do just that. As a collective, members own the Service, which operates on an ‘equal pay, equal say’ basis via an annual subscription.

Through this subscription, members can utilise our broad range of services to help them monitor and evaluate outreach delivery. Our principles are simple: minimising duplication of effort; sharing best practice, tools and resources; continuously improving to adapt to a changing landscape; and striving to find better ways to use data for robust evaluation.

HEAT works closely with government agencies such as the Office for Students (OfS), the Department for Education (DfE) and data custodians including the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). In collaboration, we aim to build robust evidence of WP impact through longitudinal tracking. The HEAT Service is operated by a central team based at the University of Kent. There are currently over 100 members and the Service is open to new outreach providers. Please see our current list of members and FAQs for more details.

"I have three key aspirations for my time as Director for Fair Access and Participation. The first is unapologetically nerdy: evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Everyone I have spoken to about this agrees, that for 20 years or more of widening participation work, we have nowhere near 20 years’ worth of evidence about what works. We can’t share what works, and we can’t make it work better, if we don’t actually know what does work!"

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students (Impetus Interview, 14th February 2022)
Banner Image courtesy of the University of Kent