Q&A with the apprenticeship service developers

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This topic contains 83 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  CatherineGilhooly 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • SFA STAFF

    Martin Taft
    Keymaster

    Thank your for participating in the Q&A – it is now closed to further questions.

    Q&A with the apprenticeship service developers

    The teams that build and develop the apprenticeship service invite you to put your questions and send your feedback about the apprenticeship service to help us to make improvements. We are running a Q&A thread on this forum from now until 5pm on Friday 19 January.

    This thread will be monitored by digital developers, so we’ll be able to address questions regarding data returns, use of the employer and provider portal and funding reports that providers receive. We will not be able to respond regarding contracting and allocations, eligibility or the funding rules surrounding apprenticeships.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank your for participating in the Q&A – it is now closed to further questions.

     
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by  Martin Taft.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by  Martin Taft.
    #229082

    Caspar Verney
    Participant
    #229123

    Taylor26
    Participant

    I believe this particular issue has been listed above but I will mention it to highlight it again.

    Is there a report that can be released to identify which incentive payments relate to which learner and their respective employer?

    At the moment all providers/colleges receive is a basic remittance advice which states a figure (eg, £14,000) and its up to the provider/college to decide which employer/learner(s) this relates to.

    We do a lot of tracking and analysis to satisfy ourselves we’ve paid the correct employer but it would be helpful to have an ESFA report to reconcile against?

     
    #229139

    Kate Moore
    Participant

    Within the Training Provider Account:

    Is it possible in the manage your apprentices to change the sort criteria? At present they are sorted alphabetically by first name. It would be helpful to change the sort to give the option by surname.

    When filtering for a particular organisation or apprenticeship training course – can these lists be sorted alphabetically?

    Levy Account:

    As above.

    Your transactions – it would be useful if a summary report can be pulled off to show the funds drawn against a particular apprentice, course and the funds added.

    Thanks

     
    #229147

    Taylor26
    Participant

    Would it be possible to receive a notification of when an employer ‘Stops’ an apprentice on their digital account?

    And also, a date of when it took effect?

    Thanks.

     
    #229152
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    “FeConnect has had many discussions about the difficulties reconciling payments received with the reports supplied and with reconciling the reports with each other and the frustrations about getting proper help.Is there anything you can do help, please?”

    Reply from ESFA
    We are aware that the language and format of the remittance statements and Hub funding reports do not easily map across, and are working with our internal finance teams in order to publish some guidance in order to help users. We will publish this as soon as possible alongside remittance statements to help providers to reconcile back to the monthly payment report on the Hub.

     
    #229164
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    “Is there a report that can be released to identify which incentive payments relate to which learner and their respective employer?”

    Reply from ESFA
    We are currently working with the Data Collections team to develop a new report for training providers, that details which 90 and 365 day additional payments (for learners entitled to 16-18 funding) have actually been paid to training providers. This will specify which employers the payments need to be passed on to, and the point in time at which the provider was paid (versus the point in time that the amount was earned). We have tested the report design with provider and software supplier user groups and will be adding this to the available reports during the 2017/18 ILR year.

     
    #229167

    Patricia Leach
    Participant

    Is the following functionality available within the DAS

    1. within the Finance section is it possible to have an overall summary page showing how the current is made – eg total per month from which you can click into the relevant month to see the detail. It would be useful to see at a total level (with subtotals included) – levy paid, 10% top up applied, amount drawndown

    2. Can transactions within the DAS be downloaded to Excel?

    3. Is it possible to select different views for different transactions rather than just by month eg payments made to specific training providers where the user can specify the timeframe they want to look at, levy payments made over a certain time frame etc

     
    #229176

    Patricia Leach
    Participant

    Sorry, another item that I missed off my list above. Is it possible to extend the time before automatic log out of the system? Not sure if it’s just me but it seems to be quite a short period of inactivity only before you are asked to log in again.

     
    #229178

    Matt Collishaw
    Participant

    Some of these have already been metioned however it shows a list of ‘most wanted’ features we all would like

    Reporting
    Is there a report that can be released to identify which incentive payments relate to which learner and their respective employer?

    DAS
    Would it be possible to receive a notification of when an employer ‘Stops’ an apprentice on their digital account And also, a date of when it took effect?

    We have just enrolled an apprentice onto the DAS however it appears his ULN is already on the DAS site for another employer\provider. The message you receive tells you there is a duplicate but nothing else. a UKPRN should also be included in the message so this can be identified. as currently we have no information to go on

     
    #229190
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Update from ESFA

    Hi. Thank you for all your suggestions and queries so far. The developers will be looking at all of these posts tomorrow morning and they will be posting more replies soon.

     
    #229198

    Treise
    Participant

    Good Morning,

    A few comments/queries below:

    • Can an export function be provided so that lists can be exported to excel e.g. cohorts received, learners by employer.
    • Notification when an employer stops/pauses funding for a learner and the date they have used.
    • A report which shows learners that are in the App Service but not on the ILR – we had a learner who was agreed in the App Service but flagged incorrectly on the ILR as a co-investor and was being paid as a co-investor.
    • Option to sort the cohort list alphabetically/oldest to newest.
    • We are being asked to calculate future spend for employers – when will this function be in the finance section for employers?
    • Is it possible to set up a messaging service for employers to send queries to the TP through the App Service – we have had employers create new cohorts to send us a message about a learner already in the system.
    • Is it possible to provide more detail when a learner is already in the system about what course they are supposed to be on with who. We had an example of a learner who we could not process because the system said the training dates overlapped with another programme (not with us) the employer had not put them through an apprenticeship with anybody else and the NAS helpline just referred the employer back to us.
    • All courses that are fundable in an academic year should be able to be picked off the courses dropdown list, they shouldn’t be removed as soon as they pass the end date on LARS. For example the Health and Social Care L2 framework expired for new starts on 31/12/2017 and so from 01/01/2018 we could no longer pick that framework from the list even though not all of the learners started pre 31/12/2017 have been processed.
    • Would it be possible to create different levels of access within the provider side of the App Service – people who can edit cohorts without being able to approve them, read only access etc.
    • Can the price on the income reports be split by training price and EPA price.
    • When an employer has paid the contribution can this be taken into account on the income reports. We have learners where the whole contribution has been paid by the employer, yet the co-contribution report still expects a value each month.

    Thanks
    Treise

     
    #229354

    chrisbradley
    Participant

    I would like to ask you to consider how the payments system is set up whereby monthly payments made as confirmed in the period end payment report are frozen and do not reconcile monthly as the old system just phasing out does. This approach is creating a huge amount of confusion when trying to reconcile payments to the ILR data and as seen in the indicative apps funding report which is a true reflection of the ILR data at the period being submitted and paid for. It has worked well for years with the old system, it is transparent and incredibly simple.
    For example if a functional skill is in the ILR in a previous period and then removed for whatever reason, and it does happen, the old system shows the funding as it would have been at the period when it was included but in the period where it is removed this amount in the earlier period goes down as well as in the one when it is removed for. In the new system the earlier period payment remains in place but is removed from the most recent period as a deduction which is absolutely correct from the accounting perspective but from the data reconciliation perspective makes this hard to track as the offending qualification or even complete record has disappeared. This is just one example of changes that are inevitable in a minority for apprenticeship provision which are not being transparently reconciled. Another example I am involved in is where a small company with a 16-18 apprentice has been mistakenly coded as not less than 50 employees in size at period 1 and then picked up via data analysis and subsequently corrected to a small employer. The first period ends up stuck at requiring a 10% contribution from the employer which is impossible to correct. The employer is not due to and will not pay, an amount cannot be collected and so the ILR remains as no fee collected when the system is expecting one to be taken. The only answer is to reconcile monthly as I am attempting to explain so that at the second period the data at that time can also now see the small employer flag in the first period and kill off the 10% contribution expectation in the reports.
    Thank you. Chris Bradley

     
    #229409
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    “Is it possible in the manage your apprentices to change the sort criteria? At present they are sorted alphabetically by first name. It would be helpful to change the sort to give the option by surname.

    When filtering for a particular organisation or apprenticeship training course – can these lists be sorted alphabetically?”

    And

    “Would it be possible to receive a notification of when an employer ‘Stops’ an apprentice on their digital account?

    And also, a date of when it took effect?”

    Reply from ESFA

    These are really good suggestions, which unfortunately the current functionality does not support. We will feed these suggestions back into our service development planning as we’re always looking at making improvements and we can use your feedback to understand which features are a user priority.

    We are currently looking at making a number of changes in the service to allow employers and training providers to manage their apprentice details more effectively, including making it clearer which apprentice records have been stopped.

    If you follow @ESFADigital on Twitter and our ESFA Digital blog it’s a good way of keeping up to date with new functionality as we use these channels to let users know about changes and improvements to the service as they are introduced.

     
    #229435
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Question from Katie Moore: “Your transactions – it would be useful if a summary report can be pulled off to show the funds drawn against a particular apprentice, course and the funds added.”

    Reply from ESFA
    We’re currently working on the ability for employers to Download Transactions. You’ll be able to specify a data range for you transactions in a CSV and Excel format. This report will include levy payments and payments to training providers on an apprentice level. This will provide you with the data to be able to create your own summary reports if you wish.

     
    #229472
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Question from Patricia Leach:
    Is the following functionality available within DAS:
    1. within the Finance section is it possible to have an overall summary page showing how the current is made – eg total per month from which you can click into the relevant month to see the detail. It would be useful to see at a total level (with subtotals included) – levy paid, 10% top up applied, amount drawndown

    2. Can transactions within the DAS be downloaded to Excel?

    3. Is it possible to select different views for different transactions rather than just by month eg payments made to specific training providers where the user can specify the timeframe they want to look at, levy payments made over a certain time frame etc

    4. Is it possible to extend the time before automatic log out of the system? Not sure if it’s just me but it seems to be quite a short period of inactivity only before you are asked to log in again.

    Reply from ESFA
    1. Our designers are currently reviewing the transactions screens in order for the data to be more easily consumable and to reduce the time spent trawling through previous months. We will share this feedback with the designers so that we can have data which is well understood by everyone.

    2. Currently transactions cannot be downloaded to Excel. However, our developers are working on Download Transactions functionality at the moment. You’ll be able to specify a date range and download levy payment transactions data in either CSV or Excel. We expect to release the download transactions feature in the next few months.

    3. We recognise that reporting needs will vary between different organisations.As part of the Download Transaction feature referred to above, users will be able to download transactions on an apprentice level. This will provide you with the the ability to have summaries of specific payments to a Training Provider within a specific date range in excel.

    4. Other users have also given us this feedback so we have an item on the development backlog to look at extending the automatic logout functionality.

     
    #229474

    Caspar Verney
    Participant

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for the replies you are giving on behalf of the ESFA. It is encouraging that some things may improve, but how will users know when such changes may occur, please? I know it may be difficult to set dates in stone, but it seems to me that there is an ever-extending wish list here and I do not know how users will be able to discover what is coming out when other than when it finally arrives. Also, as with any fluid system, whilst this thread is generating a current list of requirements and needs, there is no saying that other things may not occur after you conclude this particular thread, so is it possible to have somewhere where users can see what is in the pipe line, what priority it is, what the estimated delay is, and to have the opportunity to influence all of those things, please? FeConnect is a great way to test the temperature and get some kind of consensus (at least from those who are active on here), but my fear is that some of these things may be regarded as too difficult to achieve and then given a lesser priority, whereas there could be a lot of people who are desperate for such a thing and who would know?

    I hope this ramble makes at least a little sense.

     
    #229476

    paultaylor
    Participant

    You say that your are developing reporting within the Apprenticeship Service but how is this being consulted on? It’s important that users are inputting to this as the content and format of the reports are critical to their usefulness.

    The new apprenticeship funding reports are a great example of what happens when reporting design goes wrong. I know that these are not Apprenticeship Service outputs but these also need reviewing as they are incredibly difficult to work with.

    We understand that the consultation and development of the Apprenticeship Service has been aimed at Employers and getting the basic functionality up and running. However, the developers now need to understand how the systems are being used by providers to process apprenticeship starts. I understand that this thread is an attempt at collecting this information but I’d suggest that the consultation needs to be much more detailed than this. We have had around 20% of apprenticeship starts left unprocessed each month, partly because the systems that we are using to track and process starts are very difficult and time consuming to use. We will not be unusual in this regard, which will mean Apprenticeship starts are being delayed and this will have an impact for employers and their levy spend and in the Government’s figures.

     
    #229588

    JodieCataldo
    Participant

    Hi there

    Is there an online tutorial/webinar that explains each of the reports and the differing data/information each of them show?

    Many thhanks
    Jodie

     
    #229590

    hazellessiter
    Participant

    As a training provider, we want to start learners as soon as possible. We are working with employers that have many sites or locations and the one person nominated to deal with the DAS at the employer end will often not have any knowledge about individual learners or their circumstances.

    We currently have to ask the employer to “open” a cohort in order to place learner details in the system. We then add the learners and they are confirmed by the employer – but this closes the cohort and we are back to square one.

    Where a provider is constantly working with an employer, it is really annoying for both provider and employer to have to open new cohorts every month.

    I would like to suggest that a solution would be to allow Providers to open a cohort for an employer, enter the learner details and then forwarding to the employer for confirmation as usual. That would save one step for the employer and avoid the delays of having to contact that one person (who could be away, busy, sick etc) just to be able to start the ball rolling with a cohort being opened.

    Another great help would be to allow Providers to end a learner on the DAS. We are the only ones who have a record and evidence of the last actual learning completed by the learner and we are going to need the date entered on the ILR to agree with the date entered in the DAS. If you allow Providers to enter learner stop/leave dates on the DAS – then the date would be in agreement with the ILR and the evidence held by the provider. At the moment – we have to email the DAS person at the employer end (outside the system) asking if they could please log in and end the learner – we have to provide the end date for them to enter. This can often be delayed resulting in payments being made that should not have been made in the month. By allowing providers the opportunity to stop learners, these payment errors could also be avoided and it would be one less thing for the employer to have to do.

    Thank you

     
    #229606

    davej
    Participant

    1. When I click on manage your apprentices and then filter by eg employer or qual, could we have the total learners showing?
    2. Employers are crying out to be able to see projections of their levy pots and spend.

     
    #229618

    jgogerly
    Participant

    Hi,
    Can we get more detail on the funds we receive as a provider?

    We currently receive a lump sum with no visibility as to which apprentices the funds relate.

    Thanks
    Joanne

     
    #229634

    SamSAT
    Participant

    Hi,

    Just to add to the reports to view for the 16-18 Incentive Payments, I have been using the Monthly Apps Report to track these payments. The Service Desk have also advised me to use the Main Occupancy Report to show payments however the Main Occupancy Report only shows learners who are on funding model 35.
    The learners receiving the 16-18 payments are all on funding model 36 – which report should I be using to view the payments for the funding model 36 learners?

    Many Thanks
    Sam

     
    #229640

    Matt Collishaw
    Participant

    Hi,

    Just to add to the remittance and the ability to forecast funding as a provider. This is what I was told by the service desk in order to find out EFSA funding received/to come

    ‘There are a number of fields on the Apps Monthly Payment Report that will need to be discounted from the Total Payments column to establish how remittance has been calculated. Firstly, Employer Incentives will need to be removed from the Total Payments as Employer Incentives are paid under a separate piece of remittance. Provider Incentives are included as they are paid in relation to mainstream contracts. Employer / Provider Incentives are shown in column CB and CC for August, CU and CV for September, DN and DO for October and will be available in column EG and EI when all of Novembers reports are available.

    Secondly, the Apps Monthly Payment Report may also include Employer Co-Investment Contributions in any particular month where insufficient funds have been identified in an Employers Levy account. These outstanding payments will then be broken down, in relation to the Funding Rules as 90% paid by ESFA and a further 10% contribution from the Employer and you will need to be claim this directly from the Employer and ensure this is recorded in the ILR when received.’

    I’m sure you can understand expecting provides to do all of this every month is unacceptable there should be a column within the report that calculates the funding to date and year end funding or a totally separate report calculating funding to date and to come.

    This would allow providers to forecast and submit funding claims and better financial planning for colleges as a whole. Any forecasting/planning we are expected to provide should have a report/tools available to help providers.

     
    #229665

    Jill Cheshire
    Participant

    Hi
    I still am not able to access the App Monthly reports via the Data Returns tab, this has been an ongoing issue since October, I have logged it several times with the help desk but no joy! It has also been raised with the Provider Manager. I have all the permissions that are available to me and yet the reports are still not appearing – no Business reports tab!.

    Many thanks

     
    #229686
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