Change of End Date becuase of Reduced Hours?

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This topic contains 23 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  NBNSAHealth 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    Has anybody hit this situation before?

    An Intermediate Apprentice was working 30 hours a week, so the end date was set on that basis. She has now reduced her working hours to 22.5 a week which means the time needed to complete will be longer in proportion.

    If this was after a Break In Learning, there wouldn’t be a problem – we could extend the planned end date and spread the funding over a longer time.

    Is there any mechanism for doing this, based on a formal change of circumstances?

     
    #148292

    Ruth CJ
    Participant

    Hello,

    I think it’s just tough I’m afraid. PSM says;

    11.4 Changes to the Start and Planned End Dates
    389. These fields inform the funding received. There must not be any changes made to the start or planned end information after the funding qualifying period, except to correct errors.
    392. You must not update the Learning planned end date once it has been entered, even if the learner continues on the learning aim beyond that date. If a learner continues their study beyond the planned end date then this should be reflected in the Learning actual end date field; the Learning planned end date must remain unchanged.

    We have that sort of thing sometimes, and they just finish late.

     
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  Ruth CJ.
    #148543

    Cris Hale
    Participant

    That seems remiss of the people in charge of the ILR. I would personally put them on a break as a matter of principle – otherwise you’re being punished for doing nothing wrong. I’d be interested in hearing what the SFA had to say on the matter.

    Cris

     
    #148578

    Caspar Verney
    Participant

    I am sure there should be a mechanism for this as this circumstance is entirely beyond the Provider’s control, as Cris Hale says.

    I would be inclined to just change the Planned End date anyway, although maybe you should enter in to some official communication with the SFA?

    HTH,
    Caspar

     
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 1 week ago by  Caspar Verney.
    #148588

    jessicar
    Participant

    @ Chris
    I don’t think you could put them on a beak in learning as they haven’t actually taken a break:

    If the learner is taking an agreed break in learning and intends to return, for example for economic reasons, long term sickness, maternity leave or religious trips, this should be recorded by closing the aims in the ILR as in Table 2.
    You must not record a break in learning unless you and the learner have agreed this, the learner intends to return to learning at a later point, and there is supporting evidence in the learner file.

    I d just contact he service desk via email for advice on this specific scenario and then save their email response as evidence for any possible future audit queries.

     
    #148689

    Cris Hale
    Participant

    Hi Jessica,

    That’s true, but it’s also true that they wouldn’t be late completers. If the SFA come back with a satisfactory solution that’s great (and they should get it into their guidance ASAP), but if not and there are two bad options, you choose the one that doesn’t punish anybody needlessly. You could always give them a break to “get used to their new working hours *hint hint*”…

    Cris

     
    #148902

    Ruth CJ
    Participant

    I’d be interested to see an official response from the ESFA.

    There are lots of things that happen that are beyond our control, and we get “punished” for, and that’s just how it goes. Withdrawals are usually not our fault, but we don’t manipulate that data to make ourselves look better! I don’t see this situation any differently.

     
    #148920

    NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    Thanks for all the input folks – you’ve confirmed it wasn’t just me missing something. Ill ask (E)SFA and post any useful response here.

     
    #148922

    jessicar
    Participant

    Hi Cris,

    I wouldn’t put them on a break as he SFA were aware that providers were over using breaks in learning to manipulate success rates and have since closed this loophole, so it may be still on auditors radars to check the use of it.

    Also just found this in provider support manual in the section Correcting Errors after Hard Close:
    The Learning planned end date must not be changed to take into account a revised planned end date due to a change in circumstances such as illness, slow progress or unemployment.

    I ll think they ll jut say tough as its not an admin error, its due to the change circumstance of the student.

     
    #148926

    NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    Correcting Errors after Hard Close:
    The Learning planned end date must not be changed to take into account a revised planned end date due to a change in circumstances such as illness, slow progress or unemployment.

    Well, it’s not past a Hard Close yet… I don’t disagree with that sentiment – if the learner has been ill for a significant period or has changed employers with a non-learning gap then those are valid reasons for a Break in Learning. If the learner is just making slower progress than expected then agreed – you can’t just extend because you got the initial plan wrong…

     
    #148931

    Martin West
    Participant

    Hi All,
    This is one of those situations that falls between the cracks in the funding rules but the following does indicate that you should amend the end date where the working hours are reduced.
    B28. If the apprentice works part-time for fewer than 30 hours a week you must extend the minimum duration to take account of the shorter working time. For example, if the apprentice only works 20 hours a week, you must extend the end date by 50% – so the apprentice must be in learning for at least 18 months. This would also apply where the working hours of an apprentice temporarily fall below 30 hours a week.

    I would suggest that this could be accomplished by using a 1 day BIL (during the weekend of the change in working hours) and document the reason for the BIL and the change against this paragraph from the funding rules as audit evidence in the learning agreement.

     
    #148948

    NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    First answer from the Service Desk says

    The answer to your query is yes they can extend the duration .
    BUT the provider must record the agreed average number of hours per week.
    Provide evidence why this working pattern is needed.
    Extend the minimum duration
    You can find the evidence in APPRENTICESHIP FUNDING:RULES AND GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS MAY2017/2018 VERSION 1
    PAGE 10 ONWARDS.

    I’m asking for more detail as the referred paragraph is one I’ve always taken as referring to setting an end date at the start of the program. Plus, how do I code it on the ILR?

    Martin – Thanks, that was what I had thought at first then decided to ask here before trying it!

     
    #148978

    Richard Phipps
    Participant

    The issue I see with B27/B28 it is refers to a temporary drop:

    This would also apply where the working hours of an apprentice temporarily fall below 30 hours a week.

    Not sure if they mean you should extend the expected end date and then reinstate it when the apprentice goes back to more than 30 hours a week.

    I don’t quite get why they have stated it as a ‘temporary’ change here.

     
    #149006

    Martin West
    Participant

    Hi Richard,
    The funding rules are there to outline the principles and we should not expect them to cover and document all the possible combinations for individual circumstances. The rule is clear that the minimum duration is related to 30 hours per week and should be adjusted in proportion where it is less than 30 hours even if this is only a temporary change.

     
    #149014

    Cris Hale
    Participant

    That seems reasonable – the employer has agreed to employ them as an apprentice, so they could at least explain why they’ve changed it. Unfortunately you probably need a better reason than “we didn’t need her for 30 hours”.

    Richard – The text you’ve quoted does say “would also apply”, so presumably is not limited to a temporary reduction? It probably means to specify that if they have a planned drop for a month, say, and then return to normal, you still need to adjust for that month.

    Cris

     
    #149118

    NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    Well – the Service Desk have responded to my follow-up question of 12th April by repeating the same answer as before… quoting 17/18 funding rules for a 15/16 learner. Which suggests they didn’t read the question!

    The reduction in hours is at the learner’s request (home commitments) so the employer is OK there and this will be recorded as an update the to Learning Plan.

    If I don’t get a sensible answer this time, I’m going with a BiL over the weekend as Martin suggests and see if anything pops up in FIS or the Funding Rules Monitoring or DSATs or….

     
    #151148

    Ruth CJ
    Participant

    If the rules aren’t clear, and the Service Desk can’t answer questions with any more clarity, then I think it seems reasonable to go with that interpretation! I still think we wouldn’t change it, but an auditor would be hard pressed to argue if you’ve done everything you can to get an answer.

     
    #151153

    Cris Hale
    Participant

    You have to e-mail three or four times if you want them to read the question. I had that experience once and I’m afraid I did e-mail snap at them – they said “Hope this helps” after giving me a reference to the information I’d pointed out to them saying it didn’t answer my question, so I went back with “I’m certain you don’t hope that helps” and a small rant about how they don’t listen. Such is life.

    Good luck getting a definitive answer, anyway – it does happen sometimes.

    Cris

     
    #151451

    NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    Thanks Cris,
    I’ve just got the third response- which is the same as the first 2. So I’ve copied to my contract manager/adviser (whatever term ESFA are using now) in the hope she might advise.

     
    #151487

    jessicar
    Participant

    I get this all the tie with the service desk. I reply by saying your answer isn’t helpful and you have not answered my query. I keep the ticket open until they have answered the question and then save their responses for audit purposes.

     
    #151505

    Cris Hale
    Participant

    If any privately funded company had such bad customer service they’d have been torn to pieces by Which? and similar organisations long ago. Shame they’re not accountable, really. I wonder if I could write to my MP about it…

    They are usually more helpful, I think, though I never spoke directly to ours.

    Cris

     
    #151547

    NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    At the third time of asking – I got a new answer

    The planned end date should remain unchanged
    A new employment status record needs to be created for this learner
    This new employment intensity indicator (EII) should reflect the learners new hours
    The payments will continue as before but will stop after the planned end date

    Which seems to mean that the end date is sacrosanct and this learner is therefore in danger of being an untimely completion through no fault of her own – or the provider?

     
    #155751

    Cris Hale
    Participant

    You definitely can’t change the end date without starting a new record, no. That’s why people have suggested a Break in Learning as a possible solution.

    They should have a mechanism to deal with this situation really, but the people in charge of innovation have the decade off sick, I’m afraid.

     
    #155824

    NBNSAHealth
    Participant

    … and since the change is from 30 to 22.5 hours – the EEI is the same. I’m inclined to go with the Break solution and argue the case if needed.

     
    #155829
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