ASTRA Strategy and Governance Board
The ASTRA Strategy and Governance Board was established in March 2015 as part of the SITS Core Capabilities (SCC) Project with a remit to review data related amendments arising during the project. A review of the Terms of Reference and membership of the Board, including a proposed revision to the title of the Board, was undertaken during the summer of 2016. The Board reports to the IT Steering Committee. The Head of ASTRA Strategy and Governance, Nikki Dibb, co-ordinates the work of the Board.
During the SCC Project the Board considered items relating to user access and security, the data retention policy and the introduction of the role of the Data Steward. In the period following the SCC Project go-live in January 2016 the focus of the Board moved towards formalising data governance principles and procedures to ensure the improvements implemented during the SCC Project could be maintained and protected. This included consideration and approval of a set of overarching Student Data Management and Governance Principles for ASTRA and the implementation of the Data Stewardship role. The Board has a number of standing agenda items which enable the group to keep a watching brief on various items, for example, updates on ASTRA related projects and the use made of ASTRA tools where there is a degree of risk e.g. the proxy login facility.
The Board's current priorities are to:
- Complete the implementation of the Data Stewardship role and associated business processes;
- Progress the associated changes in the user access model which will underpin the Data Stewardship allocations to Reference Data tables;
- Conduct a similar Stewardship allocation exercise for the ‘transactional’ tables in ASTRA;
- Create a central repository for the storage of ASTRA related business process documentation, written by business areas, and ensuring that all business areas have such documentation;
- Working with the HESA Working Group, review ASTRA related business processes with a view to improving data quality at source to reduce data amendments required to facilitate our statutory returns;
Reference Data Stewardship
A key part of the work of the Board since January 2016 has been to oversee the implementation of the Data Stewardship role. A sub-group of the Board undertook the task of allocating a proposed Data Steward, by business area, to each of the 588 ASTRA reference data tables. The finalised list was approved by the Board in October 2016 and work is underway to plan and deliver training for Data Stewards prior to the formal introduction of the role to users. The Board has approved the associated Reference Data governance protocols and procedures which includes details of the process Data Stewards must follow to propose changes to reference tables under their stewardship.
Data stewardship is a broad role that incorporates processes, policies, guidelines and responsibilities for administering our student record system related data in compliance with business and/or regulatory obligations. A Data Steward’s responsibility stems from an understanding of our business processes and the interaction of business processes with data entities/elements. At Anglia Ruskin Data stewards are responsible for ensuring that the data contained within reference data tables is regularly reviewed to ensure its continuing accuracy, currency and compliance with the seven principles outlined in paragraph 1.2 of the Reference Data governance protocols and procedures document.
1. Process relating to changeable reference data tables
The business area with stewardship for an entity where the table is categorised as changeable makes the proposed change in the ASTRA QA environment.
An email is then sent, using the standard email template to detail the proposed changes, to the dedicated email address. All data stewards will receive the email and will have 5 working days to notify the Student Data Manager, Head of ASTRA Strategy and Governance or Head of Information Management of any concerns or comments. After the 5 day period has passed, providing no issues or concerns are raised, the change is made by the data steward in the production environment. When completing the email template please provide all of the requested information and ensure that you have made the changes in the QA environment.
2. Process relating to dynamic reference data tables
The business area with stewardship for an entity where the table is categorised as dynamic adds to and maintains the accuracy of the records within the entity as appropriate. However, the following principles apply:
New records always follow the existing coding protocols and naming conventions used within an entity;
Proposals to repurpose an entity (i.e. adding a new set of records to an existing table which deviates from the current or primary use of the table) or to deviate from the current primary key coding strategy always require formal approval by the Governance Board.
Reference data is an essential characteristic of any system as it classifies all other data. It is used to ensure consistent reporting and to direct business rules and processes. Reference data has key strategic business value and needs to be governed as such. A controlled approach to handling flat code lists, hierarchical reference data, or mappings between various versions and variations avoids broken business processes and costly integration challenges.
Each reference data table has been categorised as dynamic or changeable:
Changeable: Data held in tables categorised as changeable will be added to or change occasionally.
Data stewards are able to Read and Write data within these tables but must communicate proposed additions or changes using the process detailed in section 1 on the right;
Dynamic: Data held in tables categorised as dynamic will be added to or change frequently, for example, Course (CRS) or Module (MOD) records.
Data stewards are able to Read, Write and Delete data within these tables in the course of normal business activity referring to the principles detailed in section 2 on the right
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