Q&A with the apprenticeship service developers

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This topic contains 80 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  CatherineGilhooly 3 hours, 11 minutes ago.

Viewing 25 posts - 51 through 75 (of 81 total)
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  • Caspar Verney
    Participant

    Please also see http://feconnect.sfa.bis.gov.uk/forums/topic/reconciling-remittance-and-payments-report/#post-230049 where frustration is very evident – can you help, please? And if so, how long will it take?

    In my opinion too many of the above answers do not give indications of when anything may improve.

     
    #230057
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

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

    We will however continue to collate and post answers to the remaining questions, and where there are more complex questions or ones that raise ‘big picture’ queries, we will take your feedback away to discuss across the apprenticeship service and get a response to you via a blog post on this forum.

    Best wishes

    Catherine

     
    #230059
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Question from Jill Cheshire

    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!

    Reply from ESFA
    I am really sorry to hear that you are having an ongoing issue. Can you please post a reply with your incident/ticket number from the help desk? We can follow this up for you and ensure it is resolved.

     
    #230067

    Caspar Verney
    Participant

    Hi Catherine,

    I hope that a blog post in the future will reach a wider audience, however please can I request that you post a pointer to it on THIS thread as well so that all contributors and followers of this thread can also pick up on it?

     
    #230070
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Thanks – we will definitely do this.

     
    #230073

    Caspar Verney
    Participant

    Assuming that the above message from Catherine is in reply to mine then thank you very much.

     
    #230076
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Query from Peter Hud 54
    Some of the queries I had have already been asked.

    Others – Cohort – it would be nice if the cohorts had a date with them so we can tell when the employer added them. Ideally on the main page of the cohort list.

    Manage your apprentices – already mentioned – would be nice to get a report to excel of who is live.

    From employers and what they use – some struggle to create cohorts and wondered if there was a “help” section there for them on what to do (could already be there but I cannot see).

    Reply from ESFA
    Thanks for your suggestions – do you have any further details on what employers struggle with when creating cohorts?

     
    #230079
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Questions from Emma Kershaw
    I would like to agree with all comments made above, as a small provider it is impossible to accurately predict our monthly income with these reports.

    Prior to May 17 our money calculations from the reports where to the penny with the remittance, now we have never had a true match.

    Can we please have a ‘funding summary report’ with the actual correct amounts when we have processed our ILR return, so we can understand cash flow.

    Additionally with remittance can we have a breakdown as suggested on what lines relate to, this month we have had something called Traineeship non CCM (which I have never seen before or understand, and it has no contract line either) as well as payments showing capped but then reconciled for the same month i.e effectively balancing out so makes no sense.

    Lastly the co-investment report is not showing correctly all co-investment collected for 16-17 is not pulling through for employers who have already paid, the small employers of 16-18 are also showing on the repot as well.

    Any help in reconciliation and clearer reports would be really welcomed. Thanks Emma

    Reply from ESFA
    The details of your funding model 36 apprentices appear in the Funding Summary Report. We are also working on a month-end version of the report that adjusts according to co-funded learners where payments have been calculated (we only know this at month-end for the new funding system and the in-month version of the report only contains ‘100%’ amounts for programme instalments for apprentices).

    Could you please log a support query regarding the co-investment report issue? We would like to look at this further and see whether there is an issue we need to fix.

     
    #230081
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Query from Adam Betts
    Firstly, as already mentioned, remittance statements are now so unwieldy as to be almost impossible to understand and reconcile to submitted MIS data. Also annoying to not have them in excel or csv format, given that days of reconciling with a calculator and a pen appear to be over.

    Secondly, I need to understand the consequences of coding a new FM36 learner incorrectly as Levy or non-levy, submitting this through one or more returns and subsequently correcting this. This could include an incorrect enrolment or a late notified withdrawal for a levy funded apprenticeship where there is a time lag.

    Does DAS and the ILR net off any incorrect payments in the following return?
    If a levy payment has been made incorrectly, will the be automatically refunded to the
    employer at the next return?
    Will providers be getting an unexpected reconciliation at year-end?

    Reply from ESFA
    Regarding retrospective changes of the Apprenticeship Contract Type (ACT) flag in the ILR: at present, the calculation does not automatically adjust backwards for previous activity that was paid using a different contract type code. Only future payments are affected when the code is changed.

    We are building functionality for these data changes to cause backwards adjustments (and for levy accounts to be charged or refunded as appropriate relating to past activity). This will mean that year-to-date funding will be corrected. We expect this to be in place by the R08 data return.

    In most cases, learners were initially flagged as ‘non-levy’ and automatically co-funded, and then coded as ‘levy-funded’ afterwards. In these cases, the levy account will be charged where funds are available for all activity in the 2017/18 ILR year.

     
    #230083
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Query from Ben Feighery
    A couple of things i don’t think have been mentioned above.

    Could we get a learner’s cohort reference code output within the APPS monthly report, this would allow the individual breakdown to be linked back to employer cohort. This will be especially useful down the line when we start to see high volumes of learners on the payment report where they have multiple lines due to them switching employers or having renegotiated their prices when the EPA cost becomes known. When that happens then the Software supplier ID will no longer be unique.

    Can the “Co-Payment due in year” column on the Apps report be fixed so it actually contains some values (i assume that will also fix the % collected column as well).

    On the Data mismatch report, we need to see learner end mismatches as well as learner start mismatches.. so if the employer stops a learner in November but the provider stops them in December, you wouldn’t currently see that the December payment was missing without checking line by line and no provider should have to do that on 1000 + lines each month.

    The ILR match for start date really needs to be +/- 30 days rather than in month. Currently you can have a situation where AS says the predicted start is 01.01.2018, if the learner is submitted on the ILR as 31/12/2017 then it’s a fail even though it is only 1 day different, but the ILR saying 31/01/2018 would pass and it is 30 days out. The funding and audit guidance is +/- 7 days accurate which is a better guide.

    It would be useful to have in the end of month reports (separate to the apps report i would suggest) a list of all the lines that were on the previous month’s report but are not present on this months, for example if a learner has been removed then that income loss will be hidden from view but will affect the overall remittance values.

    Now that there are so many categories on remittance, it would be useful to have report learner by learner with the values in month attributed to each of either the entry number of contract numbers from the remittance so that it’s easy to see how the remittance is made up.

    Mentioned above but again… an ability to export all the learners from AS with their references and status so we can reconcile against MIS systems.

    Reply from ESFA
    Thanks for the feedback and suggestions – very useful.

    We will look at the ‘co-funding totals due in year’ attribute on the report to see whether there is an issue we need to fix – many thanks.

    We are also currently working with the Data Collections (Hub) team to change the Monthly Payment Report to make it more apparent when data has been deleted since the previous month. In these instances, any funding that has been clawed back/refunded will be clearer.

    On the ILR start date match: the reason that we need to apply the match is to ensure that an apprenticeship service record for that learner, approved by the employer, is in place on or before the ILR start date. This acts as permission for providers to potentially receive levy funds. If the ILR start date falls one day before the apprenticeship service record, we do not allow payments as that approval is not present.

     
    #230085
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Query from J Cunningham

    I don’t think this has been mentioned so apologies if it has. Could we have a report, on a monthly basis, to show which employer’s accounts have run out of funds. At the moment I’m having to do a lot of filtering and hiding of columns on the spreadsheet.

    Reply from ESFA
    For data protection reasons, we cannot display an employer’s account details with you. This is not possible – you would need to discuss this with your employer so that they can manage your expectations. Where payments have been calculated and no levy is available, we do show on the Monthly Payment Report which apprentices have had co-investment applied.

     
    #230087
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Queries from Matt Collishaw

    Regrading the Co-investment report.

    1. As stated above the percentage collected does not work

    2. We have apprentices that at fully fulled and have the SEM flag tick yet they are still showing in this report. I believe this has happened because the SEM flag was missed in a previous month this has been corrected yet they are still showing. The report should update as per the updated ILR. We are all human and all make mistakes 🙂

    3.The report should calculate the ‘maximum/expected total 10% to be collected’ in the funding year based on the number of month between start and end date in a separate column for each learner. In addition to the total column we currently have that cumulatively adds every month. Some employers do not want to pay monthly, this is also very confusing to look it is a YTD total and not maximum/expected required 10% figure.

    4. There should be ‘maximum/expected 10% total payments collected’ based on the same criteria of point 3 so these 2 columns can be easily reconciled

    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you for your queries. As mentioned in a previous reply, we do not currently automatically reconcile where the small employer flag is added after some payments have been received. This functionality should be in place by R08.

    For levy-funded learners, we do not know which future months will require co-funding and which will not. As a result, we cannot display an ‘expected value to be collected’ based on the planned end date. Our reports and funding methodology have been designed to have consistency between ‘levy’ and ‘non-levy’ contracts. We will bear this feedback in mind when looking at report changes for 2017/18.

    We will look into the percentage collected column on the report to see if there is an issue we need to fix.

     
    #230089
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Latest improvements to the apprenticeship service

    Released 24 Jan 2018
    • a new task list feature on the account home page so that activities an employer needs to complete will be visible including prompts to sign agreements, review and approve apprentice changes and cohorts, and to declare their levy by the 19th of the month
    • employers being able to see the stop date for any apprentices they have stopped

    Other recent updates on the service include:

    • employers being able to view an apprentice’s unique learner number (ULN), which will help when trying to resolve any queries
    • an improved process for amending apprentice records
    • employers being able to see end-point assessment organisations for an apprenticeship standard when they’re looking on ‘Find apprenticeship training’, making it easier to contact them about the service they offer and the costs involved
    • colour-coded screens so that employer-providers can now easily see which part of the service they’re in – purple for employer view and orange for training provider view

     
    #231354

    Jill Cheshire
    Participant

    Reply to ESFA response regarding no resolution to ongoing monthly report tab issue:

    All the ‘tickets’ have been closed and I cannot see the details of the tickets once closed so not sure which ticket number it is. The issue is not resolved as I still don’t have access to the tabs.

    Many thanks

    JC

     
    #234170
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    ESFA reply to Jill Cheshire regarding no resolution to ongoing monthly report tab issue:

    Hi, I am sorry this hasn’t been resolved for you yet. I’ve spoken to the provider management team and someone will contact you asap.

    Best wishes

    Catherine

     
    #234396
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Update on the Q&A

    Apologies for not completing the posting of answers on this forum thread. I have been busy working on workshops for new providers, our employer roadshows and also on transfers.

    I am hoping to post more answers later this week, but in the meantime, on our social media account we have just tweeted an updated version of the road map for the apprenticeship service.

    Check out the road map on Twitter here
    https://twitter.com/ESFAdigital/status/963101960407744514

    Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date
    https://twitter.com/ESFAdigital

     
    #235586
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Comment from Caspar Verney
    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?

    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you Caspar for this thoughtful feedback. You are right that we develop the service in a very fluid way, and we have to juggle priorities that we have committed to with new demands from users against our available development resources.

    We are growing our Twitter channel so that it keeps users up to date with the latest developments as they become live on the service, whilst also providing information on what is coming such as the roadmap of planned developments. We updated the roadmap last week to show what has been completed, and what is almost complete, along with timelines for what is to come. We are also writing more and more blogs that give an insight into how we work and what we are working on.

    We would encourage training providers to follow these channels and to interact with us through them. All comments and replies are collated and fed back into the teams working on the service.

    We are also looking at whether we can do more on FE Connect such as these Q&As and blogs.
    We do have a provider reference group that meets with a number of providers to discuss the service and future developments, and if you are interested in user research, we can put you in touch with the user research team.

    I hope that this helps to answer your question.

    Best wishes

    Catherine

     
    #237366
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Query from Matt Collishaw

    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.

    Reply from ESFA
    The total co-funding contributions received in the previous funding year as well as this year (from August onwards) are shown in columns BH to BM on the Monthly Payment report. This includes representation of the percentage of contributions that are expected that have been collected for you to keep track.

    We are aware that the language and format of the remittance statements and Hub funding reports do not easily map across, and we are working with our internal finance teams to publish guidance 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.

     
    #237376
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Query from Its Me
    A single report, not complicated, but one that matches information on the Remittance that actually tallies with names of who we have been paid for.

    Our data NEVER EVER matches what we are expecting against the reports available through the HUB.

    Please could the reports be formatted into a simple document that can be understood.

    Reply from ESFA
    We appreciate your feedback and apologise for the lack of clarity at present. We are working with finance colleagues on clarifying the mapping between funding reports and remittance statements and will be publishing guidance on this as soon as possible.

     
    #237378
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Queries/comments from Peter Hud 54
    • Cohort – it would be nice if the cohorts had a date with them so we can tell when the employer added them. Ideally on the main page of the cohort list.
    • Manage your apprentices – already mentioned – would be nice to get a report to excel of who is live.
    • From employers and what they use – some struggle to create cohorts and wondered if there was a “help” section there for them on what to do (could already be there but I cannot see).

    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you for your suggestions – we will feed them into the development teams.
    Do you have any further details on what employers struggle with when creating cohorts?

     
    #237383

    davej
    Participant

    RE: the last point. I’ve sent the service desk my total monthly paid from the report, alongside the amounts paid on our remittances and asked for an explanation for the differences. I’m still awaiting a response with baited breath.

     
    #237386
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Queries from Emma Kershaw
    I would like to agree with all comments made above, as a small provider it is impossible to accurately predict our monthly income with these reports.
    • Prior to May 17 our money calculations from the reports were to the penny with the remittance, now we have never had a true match.
    • Can we please have a ‘funding summary report’ with the actual correct amounts when we have processed our ILR return, so we can understand cash flow.
    • Additionally with remittance can we have a breakdown as suggested on what lines relate to. This month we have had something called Traineeship non CCM (which I have never seen before or understand, and it has no contract line either) as well as payments showing capped but then reconciled for the same month i.e effectively balancing out so makes no sense.
    • Lastly the co-investment report is not showing correctly all co-investment collected for 16-17 is not pulling through for employers who have already paid, the small employers of 16-18 are also showing on the report as well.

    Any help in reconciliation and clearer reports would be really welcomed. Thanks Emma

    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you for your feedback.
    The details of your funding model 36 apprentices appear in the Funding Summary Report. We are also working on a month-end version of the report that adjusts according to co-funded learners where payments have been calculated. We only know this at month-end for the new funding system and the in-month version of the report only contains ‘100%’ amounts for programme instalments for apprentices.

    Could you please log a support query regarding the co-investment report issue? We would like to look at this further and see whether there is an issue we need to fix.

     
    #237392
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Queries from Adam Betts
    Firstly, as already mentioned, remittance statements are now so unwieldy as to be almost impossible to understand and reconcile to submitted MIS data. Also annoying to not have them in excel or csv format, given that days of reconciling with a calculator and a pen appear to be over.

    Secondly, I need to understand the consequences of coding a new FM36 learner incorrectly as Levy or non-levy, submitting this through one or more returns and subsequently correcting this. This could include an incorrect enrolment or a late notified withdrawal for a levy-funded apprenticeship where there is a time lag.

    • Does DAS and the ILR net off any incorrect payments in the following return?
    • If a levy payment has been made incorrectly, will it be automatically refunded to the employer at the next return?
    • Will providers be getting an unexpected reconciliation at year-end?

    Reply from ESFA
    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you for your queries.

    Regarding retrospective changes of the Apprenticeship Contract Type (ACT) flag in the ILR – at present, the calculation does not automatically adjust backwards for previous activity that was paid using a different contract type code. Only future payments are affected when the code is changed.

    We are building functionality for these data changes to cause backwards adjustments (and for levy accounts to be charged or refunded as appropriate relating to past activity) and this will mean that year-to-date funding will be corrected.

    We expect this to be in place by the R08 data return.

    In most cases, learners were initially flagged as ‘non-levy’ and automatically co-funded, and then coded as ‘levy-funded’ afterwards. In these cases, the levy account will be charged where funds are available for all activity in the 2017/18 ILR year.

     
    #237394
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    User feedback survey

    If you would like to get involved in user research, you can complete this short survey and leave your contact name and details.

    apprenticeship service survey

     
    #237396
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Queries from Ben Feighery
    Could we get a learner’s cohort reference code output within the APPS monthly report, this would allow the individual breakdown to be linked back to employer cohort. This will be especially useful down the line when we start to see high volumes of learners on the payment report where they have multiple lines due to them switching employers or having renegotiated their prices when the EPA cost becomes known. When that happens then the Software supplier ID will no longer be unique.

    Can the “Co-Payment due in year” column on the Apps report be fixed so it actually contains some values (i assume that will also fix the % collected column as well).

    On the Data mismatch report, we need to see learner end mismatches as well as learner start mismatches. So if the employer stops a learner in November but the provider stops them in December, you wouldn’t currently see that the December payment was missing without checking line by line and no provider should have to do that on 1000 + lines each month.

    The ILR match for start date really needs to be +/- 30 days rather than in month. Currently you can have a situation where AS says the predicted start is 01.01.2018, if the learner is submitted on the ILR as 31/12/2017 then it’s a fail even though it is only 1 day different, but the ILR saying 31/01/2018 would pass and it is 30 days out. The funding and audit guidance is +/- 7 days accurate which is a better guide.

    It would be useful to have in the end of month reports (separate to the apps report I would suggest) a list of all the lines that were on the previous month’s report but are not present on this months, for example if a learner has been removed then that income loss will be hidden from view but will affect the overall remittance values.

    Now that there are so many categories on remittance, it would be useful to have report learner by learner with the values in month attributed to each of either the entry number of contract numbers from the remittance so that it’s easy to see how the remittance is made up.

    Mentioned above but again… an ability to export all the learners from AS with their references and status so we can reconcile against MIS systems.

    Thanks,
    Ben F (Consultant to multiple providers)

    Reply from ESFA
    Thanks for the feedback and suggestions – very useful.

    We will look at the ‘co-funding totals due in year’ attribute on the report to see whether there is an issue we need to fix – many thanks.

    We are also currently working with the Data Collections (Hub) team to change the Monthly Payment Report to make it more apparent when data has been deleted since the previous month. In these instances, any funding that has been clawed back/refunded will be clearer.

    On the ILR start date match: the reason that we need to apply the match is to ensure that an apprenticeship service record for that learner, approved by the employer, is in place on or before the ILR start date. This acts as permission for providers to potentially receive levy funds. If the ILR start date falls one day before the apprenticeship service record, we do not allow payments as that approval is not present.

    I hope that this answers your queries. Thank you for taking the time to give us such detailed feedback.

     
    #237400
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