17/18 Funding Monitoring Reports

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  • Ruth CJ

    Just read that we’ll be getting these after the R03 this year, which is good news! Last year we didn’t get them until after the R06.

    What I find a shame is that these reports are increasingly turning into DSAT style reports. The original ones were almost certainly errors that needed looking at, and really worthwhile. Some of the newer ones are those typical DSAT type reports of “well, this might be wrong, but it’s probably not, but we’re just checking that you’re doing your job”. In fact, some of the FRM reports are now replicas of some DSAT reports. I wonder if they’re planning on replacing DSATs with these? If not, why are they wasting time replicating reports (such as learners in learning beyond planned end date)?




    What REALLY boils my blood is the increase in the number of reports allows Peter Lauener to genuinely write in the ESFA Annual Report that the number of ILR errors has increased and that this is a “significant risk” (para 1.19 here) BUT THAT’S ONLY BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE REPORTS, PETER…

    So, yes, if there are more reports and they’re basically just listing reports then we’re all screwed (reminds me of a vice principal 10 years ago who wanted me to clear every single one of the DSAT reports, before I pointed out that that would leave us with no learners…)


    Caspar Verney

    When FIS was first introduced I suggested that they incorporate DSAT reports in order to make it a one-stop-shop and remove the dependence on DSAT and its authors (and save that fee). They thought this was a really good idea, but given the trials, tribulations and fiascos that we have had with FIS ever since, I fear this would be a whole bale of hay (as opposed to a single straw) too much on the camel’s back.

    It sounds like they are still working towards that goal very quietly and yes some reports can only suggest odd looking data, not say when it is really wrong, because the data is now so flippin’ complex, despite some efforts to simplify it. There are now far more fields and potential combinations than there were when we called them A27 and A37a and had little LIS that was much more reliable.

    What would help is if the reports could be put into 2 categories, a bit like Errors and Warnings, so that we all know that Errors are things we really should fix and Warnings are just wallpaper to look at if we’ve got time.



    We clear as many of these as we are able (as some are not errors as pointed out above) and i will be most surprised if they turn up by R03

    A big issue is trying to justify with our SMT why i have people working on two or three sets of reports that basically identify the same potential errors/non errors

    Why cant we have either the PDSATS or Funding monitoring reports? its not like the changes have left me with much time to do unnecessary duplication of tasks. Ive no doubt im not the only one feeling completely overwhelmed with tryoing to keep up with everything

    Imagine what it would be like if there was not a drive to reduce bureaucracy!


    Ruth CJ


    Haha! That really made my morning 🙂

    But yes, I am concerned that our Exec are going to get emails about how many “issues” there are in our Funding and Monitoring reports (which the guidance says they will do), which could panic them unnecessarily.

    Also, I like the description of warnings as “wallpaper”. As my colleague said, the volume of information just blinds you. I’ve been doing this for years so can quickly identify what’s a genuine concern, but I feel sorry for people who are new to this!



    There you go, now you’ve got me started!

    FRM01 – Learners repeating an aim already achieved.

    Was totally cleared after the R10, now I have 2 ESOL learners at E1, who now appear on the report because they completed and achieved the qual (1 reading, the other writing) at another provider, with qual end dates at the previous provider in late Feb and late April 2017. We will have recruited those learners, assessed and placed them at the appropriate level, asking what they had achieved previously – they are on the course legitimately and with no way for us to formally check any prior attainment.

    Now, presumably, the previous provider has input their achievements (sometime after the R10) and up they pop on our FRM01 following the R13, so they’re not fundable.

    Doesn’t seem fair does it. But now that I’m warmed up, how about this for a twist!

    I’m assuming that the FRM reports rely on ILR data alone and not awarding body data. Lets say the previous provider had accidentally recorded them as ‘achieved’ in their ILR (but correct them for the R14, as all good MIS folk would). That would mean they hadn’t previously achieved that aim and we’d have taken them out of funding for no reason, missing out on funding, valuable achievement etc etc.

    Obviously that’s an extreme example, but these reports are far from flawless.



    Having slept on it – The same scenario could also happen in reverse.

    Imagine the first provider hadn’t input their achievements until the R14. These learners would never have appeared in the FRM01, we would have claimed the funding and achievement and the ILRs would be in their ‘final’ state.

    This would then presumably trigger a letter from the ESFA saying we’ve wrongly claimed for learners who have already achieved and claw back the money (which I vaguely remember a letter to the sector describing earlier in the year).


    Ruth CJ

    I think they will be reasonably fair on these. We spoke to the ESFA some time ago about the report showing overlap of apprenticeships. They said that as long as we could evidence that we’d done everything we could to resolve these, and had evidence of our own start and end dates, they wouldn’t claw back funding. Sometimes we fall foul of other providers’ less than robust admin, and that’s not our fault. The ESFA know this, and it’s why they aren’t just automatically removing funding from students that appear in these reports.

    We save all old copies of the FRM reports, so we can show if students weren’t appearing in them until too late. I’d be happy that I could justify claiming funding in the cases you’ve outlined.



    I hope so – From a letter that we received on August 22nd from ESFA, it appeared to suggest a more hardline approach:

    “From the assurance activities we undertook with providers at the end of the last funding year, we believe that you and any subcontractors should already be aware that these learners have achieved the learning in question. We are therefore writing to confirm that you will correct this data by re-coding the learning aims from funding model 35 to funding model 99 – Non-funded (No SFA or EFA funding for this learning aim).

    We will recover any over payment if this has not been changed by the final R14 ILR collection for 2016 to 2017”


    Ruth CJ

    Hmm, that doesn’t sound so good. I wasn’t aware that they were automatically going to remove funding based on any of these reports. Have you contacted them to state your case?



    I may, but I think it unlikely to get a definitive response in time for the R14 (which I’ll have to submit on Tues), so I’m going to take them out of funding now.

    You know what it’s like at this time of year with the curriculum needing stable SAR data. Even little tweaks create ripples through the data, that will likely end up as queries on my desk at a later date!

    So I think on balance, the hit on funding isn’t worth the time spent chasing it down. Though I think, in this instance, the system lacks the opportunity for common sense to kick in.



    Last post on this – Got drawn into a thread on L2 Functional Skills English and it dawned on me that in GCSEs a grade 1-3 is considered an achievement.

    The Agency will fully fund a learner for GCSE English until they reach grade 4 (C equivalent). So what happens in FRM01 in that case if they have already achieved that aim with a grade 1-3. Is the report logic smart enough to discount those I wonder.

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