SFA to close payment system for move to ‘new supplier’ making provider data deadline impossible

Providers offering Trailblazer apprenticeships are in a race against time to submit their learner numbers after the deadline shifted four days closer with the Skills Funding Agency having decided to close the Hub.

The twelfth monthly Individualised Learner Record data return window for 2014/15 for the new employer-designed programmes was meant to close at 6pm on Monday, July 27 — but in its weekly Update newsletter, published today, the agency said the uploading software would be unavailable from 5pm on July 23 until the morning after the initial deadline.

The Update said providers would “not be able to post your individualised learner record (ILR) R12 data return” using the Hub during this period.

It added: “During this time, we will move the infrastructure supporting our business applications to a new supplier.”

The data, revealing how many learners are studying which courses, is used to calculate providers’ funding for July.

And the closure could also cause problems for providers returning data on non-trailblazer apprenticeships — the upload deadline for these programmes is August 6, just seven working days after the Hub reopens, whereas providers would normally have a window of 10 working days to submit.

Providers will be unable to view their contracting and performance data or post vacancies on the Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching System during the closure period.

The Update said: “We will issue guidelines next week to help you prepare and plan activities, specifically in relation to apprenticeship vacancies.”

However, the agency has yet to comment on whether it will be reviewing the decision or why it was taken.

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