Provider Digital Service blog: agreeing contracts online

Time to improve imageHi folks, in my last blog I was wishing you Happy New Year and now the Easter break is already over for many of us. I hope you all enjoyed a few days down-time, as I know we did.

Before the break we were very busy here in the Provider Digital Service (PDS) office, where we’ve been carrying out the first trial of the Skills Funding Service (SFS), our new digital contract agreement process.

The trial was completed just before Easter and produced very positive results. All of the respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with new contracting process and 86 percent of the participants’ found it ‘very easy’ to locate their contract on the site. Many thanks to those of you who helped us out with trial, by signing your contract variations online in order to test the system.

Agree ESF contracts online
We’re still at the development stage with the SFS and are using your feedback, along with other suggestions from provider staff, to make improvements to the system and the process. The next step will be to test those improvements and trial the SFS on a wider scale, with European Social Fund (ESF) contracts.

We are expecting to issue ESF contracts this spring and providers who have successfully bid for funds will be asked to use the SFS to agree those contracts online.

Talk to me
As well as testing the system in this way, I will be continuing to talk with provider staff about the SFS, what it can do now and what it might do in the future. These research sessions will be carried out on a Friday once a fortnight at one of four offices around the country. Places and dates for the next three months are shown below:

Leeds: 15 April / 10 June
London: 29 April / 24 June
Manchester: 13 May / 8 July
Coventry: 27 May

If you would like to take part please email me to book a place.

All the best

Greta Smalley
PDS User Research Manager


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