CFE Research Privacy Notice for Uni Connect


The Office for Students (“the OfS”) has commissioned CFE Research (“CFE”) to carry out an evaluation of Uni Connect. The evaluation includes a survey aimed at young people who have been part of the programme.

This privacy notice explains how the information about you will be used, who it will be shared with, your rights and how to make a complaint.

This is a joint privacy notice issued by OfS and CFE as joint controllers. When we refer to “we” or “us” in this notice we mean OFS and CFE.

Who we are

The OfS is the regulator of the higher education sector in England and has certain statutory functions set out in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. You can find more information about OfS and the work that we do on our website:

CFE is an independent social research company, providing research and evaluation services to government departments, public sector agencies, educational providers, local and national community and voluntary organisations and renowned global brands. You can find more information about CFE and the work that they do on their website:

The OfS and CFE are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and you can check both organisations’ entry details on the ICO’s website:

What Uni Connect is and why we are collecting your personal data

Some groups of young people with the ability to study higher education do not currently progress to higher education at the same rate as other groups. As a result they are under-represented in higher education. Uni Connect is being funded by the Office for Students to address this by providing support to young people at school and college in Years 9 to 13. Collecting your survey data allows us to understand:

  • which groups of young people would like to go to higher education, which groups eventually apply and take up an offer to study in higher education and the reasons for their decisions
  • how knowledgeable about higher education young people are and how confident they are in their abilities to make informed decisions about their future
  • Which activities funded by Uni Connect work best for different groups of young people in terms of supporting them to apply and study higher education

Further information about UniConnect is available here:

CFE Research has been commissioned by the OfS to undertake the impact evaluation of Uni Connect. This involves collecting survey answers from students and linking this with information from other organisations, on an annual basis for the duration of the project (2018-2022).

What personal data we are collecting

When you agree to participate in the national Uni Connect evaluation survey, CFE will collect your personal data either through an online survey or on paper.

We are collecting the following personal data in the survey:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Home postcode
  • Email address or telephone number
  • School/college
  • Year of study
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability status
  • Plans for the future
  • Thoughts on higher education
  • IP address (online survey only)

In addition to the data that CFE collects about you from the survey, CFE will also obtain the information about you from other organisations (see data linking below).

What we will do with your personal data

After data collection, CFE analyse the data to understand whether engagement in Uni Connect activities is associated with more informed choices and higher rates of application amongst learners who would not normally go to university.

Most of CFE’s data processing will involve statistical analysis to measure the impact of Uni Connect on the number of young people from particular areas who go to university. Where you have previously completed Uni Connect surveys, we may compare your responses to understand the impact of Uni Connect engagement. In addition, linking your evaluation survey responses with information about you held by other organisations will allow us to account for factors such as the Uni Connect activity you took part in, your qualifications, ethnicity and other details which help us better understand how Uni Connect is working.

Data linking

In order to fulfil the aims described above and only if you consent to it, we will link your data with other data about you which is held by other organisations, including:

  • Information about Uni Connect outreach activity that you have engaged in, held by AimHigher West Midlands, EMWPREP and HEAT
  • Information held by the Department for Education (National Pupil Database) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (Individualised Learner Record). This will include information about your qualifications, attainment, and other personal details, including ethnicity, disability status, absenteeism, free school meal status, special education needs.
  • Data on any applications that you make to higher education, held by UCAS.
  • Data on any higher education participation by you, held by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

By obtaining data about you from the survey and these different organisations we can evaluate, at intervals during the course of the programme (from 2018 to 2022), the impact of the Uni Connect programme as you progress through your school career and any further higher education.

Data sharing for the purposes of the Uni Connect evaluation

CFE shall share the following data with the following organisations.

Data to be shared Organisation that it will be shared with
Your forename, surname, data of birth and postcode, shall be shared with…. The following data linking organisations:

  • The organisations that track engagement in Uni Connect activity (AimHigher West Midlands, EMWPREP, and HEAT)
  • The Department for Education
  • The Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • UCAS
  • Higher Education Statistics Agency

CFE shares this data with these organisations so that it can obtain further information about you to do the data linking (referred to above).

The personal data that you provide in your survey responses shall be shared with… The partnership organisation that is running the local Uni Connect evaluation in your area. CFE shares this data with the local partnership for the purposes of that partnership’s local evaluation of Uni Connect.
All personal data that CFE processes in connection with the evaluation (your survey data and any linked data that is obtained from other organisations) shall be shared with… The OfS for the purpose of evaluating Uni Connect.


CFE shall ensure that data sharing agreements are in place prior to sharing data with these organisations. All data shall be shared securely and in compliance with data protection law.

Publication of results

We will never publish your personal information. We won’t share your data with another organisation unless you specifically give us consent to do so. Our published reports will contain only anonymised data and aggregated results. No individual can be identified from the published results.

Legal basis for using your personal data

Under data protection legislation, we require a legal basis to be able to process your personal data for the purposes set out above.

In this case the legal basis is:

  • You have given consent to the processing of your personal data for one or more specific purposes (see GDPR Article 6(1)(a)).
  • You have given your explicit consent to the processing of special category data (information about your ethnicity and disability) (see GDPR Article 9(2)(a))

Withdrawal of consent

Consent must be a clear positive action that you have given your agreement to the use of your personal data.  If you complete an online or paper evaluation survey, you are asked to give your consent through checking a tick box which confirms you agree to your personal data (including information about your gender, ethnicity, disability status):

  • being processed for the purpose of the CFE evaluation of Uni Connect;
  • being shared with the organisations listed above, in order that CFE can obtain more information about you for the purposes of the Uni Connect evaluation;
  • being shared with the partnership organisation that is running the local Uni Connect evaluation in your area; and
  • being shared with the Office for Students for the purpose of Uni Connect evaluation.

Consent can be withdrawn at any point if you are no longer happy with the use of your personal data. You can request withdrawal of your data until it has been fully anonymised. Once this has happened it will not be possible to identify you from any of the data we hold.

Once consent is withdrawn, we will destroy all relevant personal data unless we are relying on a different legal basis to justify keeping your personal data. If that is the case, we will tell you in writing. Withdrawing your consent does not affect the lawfulness of processing based on consent before you withdrew consent.

How to withdraw your consent

If you have any concerns regarding the processing of your personal data, or you wish to withdraw your data from the project, contact:

How your personal data will be stored

Personal data stored by CFE in electronic form is encrypted and password-protected. Data in physical form (e.g. paper survey responses) are kept in locked storage. Your personal information will be stored securely within the UK and will not be transferred outside that territory unless required by a court order.

When data is transferred to the OFS by CFE, that data shall be stored securely and in compliance with data protection legislation.

How long your personal data will be kept for

We will keep personal data collected as part of Uni Connect until 2026. This is because the project will run from 2017 to 2021, and any evaluation will continue to 2026 to fully capture the impact of the programme as young people who participated in the programme progress from school into further and higher education and other post-16 destinations. After that time, it will be securely deleted.

Your rights

The data that is being collected is your personal data and you have considerable say over what happens:

You have the right to request:

  • Information about how your personal data is processed;
  • A copy of your personal data;
  • Inaccurate personal data held about you is corrected;
  • Your personal data to be deleted;
  • Processing of your personal data is restricted;
  • A copy of your information in a format that allows easy transfer (“data portability”);
  • That you are not subject to automated decision making or profiling (if these take place).

All these rights have certain limitations depending on the request and the purpose for which we are holding your personal data. If you would like to exercise any of the above rights, please get in touch with the CFE or OfS data protection officer. You can choose whether you get in touch with the CFE or OfS officer or both. Their contact details are set out below. CFE and OfS will liaise with each other as appropriate to address your request.

How to contact us

The OfS and CFE are joint data controllers. This means that we jointly determine the purposes and means of processing your personal data.  We will only use your data for the purposes described in this privacy notice.

CFE’s data protection officer contact details:

Sarah Trivedi
Data Protection Officer
4th Floor
Phoenix Yard
Upper Brown Street

Tel: 0116 229 3300


OfS’s contact details:

Data Protection Officer

Office for Students
Nicholson House
Lime Kiln Close
BS34 8SR

Tel: 0117 931 7317


Making a Complaint

If you are unsatisfied with the way in which we process your personal data, we ask that you let us know so that we can try and put things right. If we are not able to resolve issues to your satisfaction, you can refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Telephone: 0303 123 1113


Changes to this Privacy Notice

This notice will be reviewed once a year. This version was written on 03/10/2019.

Further Information

If you need any further information about how we collect your personal data or what we do with it, please contact: