Don’t shoot the messenger and this is not intended to do so, but I have to say that the continuing delays and failure to communicate, especially when promised, are totally unacceptable. In any other industry heads would roll, but it seems that apologies are all that are offered. This broken record must be fixed and properly.
See also http://feconnect.sfa.bis.gov.uk/forums/topic/remittance-advice-ledger-description-and-contract-no/ and http://feconnect.sfa.bis.gov.uk/forums/topic/employer-co-investment-non-payment/ and http://feconnect.sfa.bis.gov.uk/forums/topic/capping-of-carry-in-apprenticeships/ and http://feconnect.sfa.bis.gov.uk/forums/topic/apprenticeships-monthly-payments-report/ and othersApril 16, 2018 at 8:57 pm #250100
too right! I worked for over 20 years as an engineer in coal-mining and if production had ceased for as little as 30 minutes due to an engineering problem I would have soon had the colliery manager on my back and I knew about it!!! A week downtime is an absolute catastrophe. It is called the “real world” of work.
ChrisApril 17, 2018 at 12:28 am #250140
the erroenous report was posted on 10th April. You are saying the fault may be corrected by the end of the week along with deciding to so additional work. That is at least 10 days late, please don’t quote working days because some of us work 7 days a week to try to keep on top of this.
What gave you the idea it would be acceptable to further delay re-publishing the report by deciding to do some additional tinkering because there are people like me out here the NEED this now and have needed it for over a week??!!! It is unacceptable in my opinion.
ChrisApril 17, 2018 at 7:17 am #250192
With you all the way Chris & Casper!
Can you imagine if the tables were turned and we delayed submitting data or documents to the ESFA? (I get a crabby reminder message if i don’t submit a batch early enough in the month!).
It wasn’t the ESFA that discovered this issue – it was the FE Connect users. Ever since the new methodology came in its been 1 issue after another. The old funding calculations/PRF worked perfectly and you knew down to the penny what you were earning, and when you were going to receive it.
We are a small business, we cant wait 10 working days to see if/what we may/may not have been paid. Relying on the remittance is dangerous, because at the drop of a hat there might be a random claw back listed on the remittance (without any explanation or breakdown). I cant feed anything back to my Director with any kind of certainty – seriously unhelpful.April 17, 2018 at 9:05 am #250212
The delay is unacceptable and creates real issues. Errors happen and I’m sure that there is a reasonable explanation behind this, but we should not be experiencing these issues mid-year. This creates real issues for providers, especially for those that run April – March finance years where this issue is particularly poorly timed.
The question is how do we resolve this going forwards. It seems to me that the Agency is not engaging and consulting with the sector to the level that it had done so in the past. The error in the funding reports is obviously a reporting processing issue, but that aside, the report itself is a horrendous document which is very difficult to use (I still cannot work our why they have tried to put earnings and payments in the same report).
The remittance advice report has been raised as an issue by members of this forum on a number of occasions. A few simple tweaks would make this significantly more usable but it cannot be right that so many people are struggling to reconcile this.
There are other examples – I could do chapter and verse on the Apprenticeship Service and the amount of additional work that this has created – but I would ask the Agency to work more with providers to develop these outputs and systems that are so critical to the sector.April 17, 2018 at 9:22 am #250227
But we are the bad guys Paul. There have been a very small number of providers over the years that have ripped the system off and then we all get tarred with the same brush. Principle 5 says we must demonstrate best practice in managing information to achieve accurate and timely ILR returns. A pity this is not applied elsewhere. I am also angry at the new stuff, employer this, employer that, employer the other. When there have been DAS account problems what does the ESFA do, ask the provider to get information from the employer to pass to them and then ask the provider to go back to the employer with answers and so it goes on. I am not pulling down employers as they are clearly very busy and I have gone overboard to help a number this year. The ESFA response though has been absolutely rigid and not seeing common sense in the slightest.
It is not the staff either, it is the leadership.
ChrisApril 17, 2018 at 9:37 am #250229
“We recognise the impact this delay is having” the latest message reads (as below in full). No you don’t ESFA. Is the latest delay due to the original fault still not being fixed or is it because the new stuff is not working or is still being tested? It reads to be the latter to me. This is an appalling state of affairs and a full explanation should be made available. The additional work should never have happened as part of this. As I have said along with others, in industry there would have been serious consequences for such poor decisions and delays.
We are continuing to work on the remaining technical issues and intend to release an updated version of the R08 report shortly.
We recognise the impact that this delay is having on providers and want to apologise for this.
Based on provider feedback we are prioritising a simpler version of the report that will enable providers to reconcile payments against their remittance statements more easily.
We are in the process of testing this simpler version with a sample of providers and will provide an update when we have more information.April 19, 2018 at 12:05 am #250706
My understanding is that they are considering producing a version of the report that contains just the payments, as opposed to the earnings detail and payments.
I suspect that trying to show the two things is the route of the reporting issue. My view is that having the two sets of information in there together adds to much detail and complexity to the report so could not understand why they went for this in the first instances.
The solution going forwards would be to have a broader consultation on the reporting format so that they contain the detail that providers need.
But yes I ultimately agree that this has not been acceptable. The funding methodology was set well before the start of the year and reporting on this should be without errors -especially mid year.April 19, 2018 at 8:57 am #250777
I agree re the complexity for sure and having spent many weeks since Christmas coming up with my own method of unpicking this into a transparent tracking process it sounds like for me it is back to the drawing board and chuck that one in the bin. Great!!
There is an efficiency method called “right first time”!
ChrisApril 19, 2018 at 9:15 am #250788
Still working on it!! I am now actually lost for words.
The Americans got men on the moon believe it or not.April 20, 2018 at 4:07 am #251034
I have gone through the new period end report line by line, including the 146 duplicate functional skills rows we have following the P7 over-payment error, and I am convinced I am still seeing 16 over-payments total £1,406. All over-payments again are multiples of the OPP value.
Has anyone else checked?
I have passed this to the Service Desk.
ChrisApril 21, 2018 at 11:06 am #251291April 22, 2018 at 3:13 pm #251519
I’ve replied on the other thread that Casper has posted above but would be interested in others thoughts on the new output.
I think that it doesn’t work, specifically because we cannot split out 16-18 incentive payments. I’m sure that we could unpick this with a bit of work this but this should be clear in the report.
Providers may need other groupings split out; English, maths, learner support?
What the ESFA have tried to do is to create a report which tracks all payments in one place. This differs from what we have had in the past where the earnings reports only ever included the YTD data that had been sent in that month’s particular return. Providers would compare the total value in this month’s report to the total value in the previous month report to work out their monthly income, and their YTD income would come from the current report.
The new report manages the payments history in one place which can be useful, but now also retains data where the net total is now zero (learners signed back into qualification start period for example). This is a change and seems to be part of the problem that the Agency has had in these reports.
The previous mechanism, although not ideal, seemed to work and this is also the mechanism used for the other funding reports; the occupancy list for pre-May Apprentices and AEB.
Any thoughts?April 23, 2018 at 11:51 am #251691
I am still continuing to work through the updated report at the finest level of detail and I am just about certain that there are still errors with some functional skills payments.
I am wondering if the providers that seemed to have advised there is too much detail and wanted it stripped out just want the peace of mind that the figures match the remittance job done? It will do of course however the devil is in the detail that drives the bottom line figure being compared and I think some of it is wrong.
I also agree that the previous format however complex it may have looked actually worked whereby some of us do strip out the last detail for our work. It now requires cross-referencing to the indicative apps funding report for some of this detail as you say, incentives, disadvantage etc.
ChrisApril 23, 2018 at 11:59 am #251696
According to the FIS and Data Returns Known Issues document at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/individualised-learner-record-ilr-check-that-data-is-accurate there are still several outstanding issues on this report and I wonder if you are suffering from their Item #3 “On the Apprenticeships Co-Funding Contributions Report, some maths and english aims are being included incorrectly” or #37 “The Apprenticeships Co-Funding Contributions Report is showing multiple rows for payments for the same aim.” or #49 “On the Apprenticeship Co-Funding Report where there are more than 1000 learners, the rows are being doubled.” ?
The above doesn’t help any, I know, but it is slightly better if they already know about it than if what you are seeing is something quite different.
CasparApril 23, 2018 at 7:21 pm #251817
thanks for this. I am definitely seeing a few functional skills where the system has paid at P8 at least one OPP too many and in one case four OPPs too many. I am also seeing examples where a leaver OPP amount has been paid for the month of the actual end date and not being cut off at the previous month census point. I have even got one apprentice where the amount showing in the agreed training price and upper band limit amount is double what it should be although the payment for that one is correct regardless of the error.
As for the detail being removed, would anyone be happy in their Tesco check-out bill being just a summary and no detail of transactions? Trust me, it is right guv honest.
ChrisApril 24, 2018 at 12:01 am #251847
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