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 3 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 76 through 84 (of 84 total)
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  • 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.

    Many thanks

    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you for your query.

    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.

    I hope that this is of help.

     
    #237402
    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 months 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

    Thank you for taking the time to listen to all the feedback.

    Thank you for your feedback.

    Reply from ESFA
    Regarding data changes concerning small employer flags – at present, the calculation does not automatically adjust backwards for previous activity that was paid using a different flag (with the small employer flag applied or not); only future payments are affected when the flag is changed.

    We are building functionality for these data changes to cause backwards adjustments and this will mean that year-to-date funding will be corrected; we expect this to be in place by the R08 data return.

    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.

    I hope that this helps to answer your queries.

     
    #237404
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Comment from Access
    I strongly believe that there should be some sort of communication channel that you use to tell us of issues that you are aware of, that you actively encourage providers to follow.

    Too often we get ourselves finding faults with processes that we endure, raise them either on here or with the service desk to find that they’ve been issues that have been known for some time. There should be something we can look at to be able to see what issues are known within the SFA, what is being done about it and when it can be expected to be fixed.

    The first post in response to this thread showed 6 separate threads discussing the problems with the reconciliation of payments. So even though there are discussions going on about it, even though you know there’s a problem, providers are still feeling the need to come on here and raise it as a concern because they didn’t know about it. I’ve then had other training providers contacting me, asking if I’ve any idea what is going wrong, because they don’t know about this place and struggle to get a coherent answer from the data service.

    This should not be provider led to the extent that it is currently.

    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you for your feedback on this point. We will pass on this suggestion to the team and see what the options are. FE Connect looks like a good place to host something like this.

     
    #237466
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Comment from Caspar Verney
    Just to echo again the above post from @access and to make another point from mine earlier, in addition to being able to see what is recognised and in the pipe-line, it is important that users can both influence priorities and raise fresh issues and get them take on board.

    FeConnect is full of such things but it is rare that anyone in the ESFA or any other Agency hears what is going on and there needs to be simpler, more direct lines of communication. I know there is the Service Desk, but it is clear from FeConnect that users do not have confidence that concerns put to them are either understood properly or ever passed on up the line for real action.

    Reply from ESFA
    Thank you for your comments. We will look into how we can use FE Connect or another channel to communicate with training providers about the service. In terms of the Service Desk, we will take this feedback back to the business.

     
    #237471
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Comments from Captain Angle Brackets
    1. Transfers of learners between training providers does not seem to be supported. The particular scenario is where an apprentice started post levy in a previous academic year and changes training provider.

    2. The user experience for large training providers isn’t great. Provider uploads are limited to individual cohorts with each requiring an individual upload file. Where there are thousands of learners and hundreds of cohorts then this is both bureaucratic and error prone.

    3. There is a strong emphasis placed on geographic proximity when employers search for apprenticeship providers but there is no way for providers to indicate national coverage when entering their details into the apprenticeship service site.

    Reply from ESFA

    1. Transfers of learners between providers is supported in the system. In these cases, where the employer is the same but the provider changes, the employer should stop the apprentice record with the first provider at the point that activity terminated, and then a second record can be added with the second training provider. As long as both ILRs from the training providers sufficiently match to the corresponding apprentice records, payments will be made. I hope that this answers your query on this point.

    2. Thank you for this feedback. We plan to improve the bulk upload capability to allow providers to upload a single file where they work with multiple employers, which should reduce the admin burden you describe.

    3. Other training providers have also raised this. We will pass on this feedback to our developers.

     
    #237474
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Feedback from Darren Vidler
    1. Ability to search by typing in an employer name on the “manage your apprentices” tab rather than scrolling through the list. We have hundreds of employers in TAS and scrolling through a list that isn’t even in alphabetical order is very time consuming (particularly when the box is so small).

    2. Payment plan visibility for providers when reviewing learners – lots of queries from employers on value of payments expected to come out of their account but currently no visibility. We have to advise them to check their own account.

    3. More ability to edit learner records once they go “live”.

    4. Different permission levels for providers – read only, edit, etc

    Reply from ESFA
    1 and 4. 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.

    2. Our developers are currently working on new features such as a funding projection tool and the ability to download transactions, which will help employers with these issues.

    3. 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.

     
    #237476

    Caspar Verney
    Participant

    Within the response posted by Catherine today as reproduced below it says “We will bear this feedback in mind when looking at report changes for 2017/18” – did you mean 2018/19?

    Many thanks,
    Caspar

    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 months 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

    Thank you for taking the time to listen to all the feedback.

    Thank you for your feedback.

    Reply from ESFA
    Regarding data changes concerning small employer flags – at present, the calculation does not automatically adjust backwards for previous activity that was paid using a different flag (with the small employer flag applied or not); only future payments are affected when the flag is changed.

    We are building functionality for these data changes to cause backwards adjustments and this will mean that year-to-date funding will be corrected; we expect this to be in place by the R08 data return.

    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.

    I hope that this helps to answer your queries.

     
    #237496
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    Reply to Caspar
    Yes, it should read 2018/19

     
    #237914
    SFA STAFF

    CatherineGilhooly
    Participant

    We’ve now answered all the queries posted on this Q&A thread. Thank you for your contributions – I’ve counted up over 20 active participants submitting around 60 comments and queries, and we have had over 2,500 views.

    These have been all been shared with colleagues in the apprenticeship service and training provider teams, and 2 of our developers are currently working on a blog that will address the main themes raised.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful feedback

    Catherine

     
    #237918
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