Providers trying to submit information for the first individualised learner record (ILR) return of the academic year faced software issues on deadline day.

Thursday (September 4) was the deadline for the first ILR return of 2014/15, but many providers found using the Skills Funding Agency’s hub software impossible due to technical issues.

It is not the first time problems had occurred on the first deadline day of the academic year, raising questions as to why the R01 return still existed in its current format.

Morley College funding manager Steve Hewitt told FE Week: “I would like to point out that the Information Authority [whose board was scrapped last year] did canvas on getting rid of R01 as a return and paying everyone on profile because of this happening every year about three of four years ago and providers were very much in favour.

“I honestly can’t see what the return gives to SFA and all it does is massively inconvenience a lot of people who, almost inevitably, end up getting paid on profile anyway.”

An SFA spokesperson said: “For those providers who submitted a file during the ILR R01 collection period, we will pay against that file.

“We recognise that some providers have experienced technical issues submitting data. Therefore, for those providers we will make a profile payment as per normal practice, increasing payments where appropriate.

“We apologise for any inconvenience that this may have caused. Our primary concern will be to continue to ensure all providers receive timely payment.

“To mitigate any impact on providers we will postpone the opening of the ILR R13 collection for 2013-14, which will now open on Monday, September 8 and will close on September 15.”