2011/12 is the year for simplification of funding, reducing bureaucracy, rationalisation of existing data collections, and the introduction of freedoms and flexibilities for the FE sector, as set out in the 2010 Skills Investment Strategy.

In line with the simplification agenda, the information authority has been working with the Data Service to deliver a single ILR collection defined and collected using Extensible Markup Language (XML), and the Data Service has changed its data collection systems to accommodate these changes.

This means for 2011/12 providers will send records for all of their learners in a single file submission, and can send data continuously during the year – either full returns containing all learners, or update only files for a subset of learners. The collections timetable for 2011/12 has been published and outlines the return dates for the academic year. To assist providers with the move to a single ILR we have published faqs, online training tools, factsheets and presentations on our website, as well as holding webinar sessions in August for providers.

We have also recently closed consultation on change requests for the 2012/13 ILR and the information authority board agreed these changes at its board meeting in September. We will be publishing these shortly.

Also a final reminder for providers that whilst we have moved into the 2011/12 academic year, the hard close dates for the end of year ILR returns for 2010/11 are fast approaching. The deadline for the final 2010/11 Employer Responsive ILR return (ER13) is 11 November 2011 and for the final Learner Responsive ILR return (LR05) it is 21 November 2011.

John Perks is the Head of the information authority