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.”

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  1. Peter Jones

    The delay to the R13 Collection opening provides Colleges with an even smaller window to check and submit their R13 data. I don’t see how this is mitigating impact on Providers? It is actually doing completely the opposite.

  2. If they scrap R01, it will just result in the Hub not working for R02 with later arrival dates for FIS, LARS & PDSATs. The solution is for the SFA to get it’s act together and deliver a system that works.

  3. This happens every time the sector is asked to submit data – the new systems fail, the SFA give a glib response and “lessons will be learned”.

    A serious question for SFA and the sector as a whole – at what point do we cut our losses, accept that the Hub has failed and either begin investing in upgrading (not replacing) OLDC or looking at a viable alternative? The Hub, and the systems “supporting” it, are clearly not up to scratch so why is the SFA investing good public money after the bad? I am sure discussions have been held within SFA about this in the past.