I am hoping you can share with me your thoughts on the below and what you do in your organisation.
I queried with the Data Service back last year the position on reducing anyone aged 19+ from 12 months on programme to 10 months if they had already achieved their Functional Skills or were exempt from doing them. I was informed that I could do this as long as I didn’t put the Functional Skills on PICS (therefore not drawing down any funding for these elements) and state on the ILP the reasons for the reduced time on programme. This is what I have been doing since.
However today another provider has informed me that I also on top of what i already do I need to reduced the proportion of funding from 100% to lower in PICS also. This doesn’t make sense to me as I will by doing this reduce the amount of funding for the remaininge elements on PICS (NVQ and TC) therefore reducing the amount of money we get for these.
What does everyone else do?June 13, 2013 at 3:32 pm #1527
Debbie, there’s no reason that we can see for reducing the proportion of funding in the other aims: you’re doing the full amount of work on them, and should get the full funding. We’re pretty sure you’re doing the right thing.June 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm #1528
The guidance for this is in the Funding Rules 2012/13 Page 33- Minimum Duration for those apprentices aged 19+.
The delivery of quality Apprenticeships should be in line with at least the framework minimum requirements and only delivered in less for those with prior experience and knowledge in which case the funding should be adjusted. This would not include reducing the length of the program for those who have already achieved their Functional Skills or were exempt from doing, it should be noted that providers have an obligation to offer Level 2 Functional Skills or GCSE (with enhanced functional content) qualifications in English and Maths to all apprentices who have not yet achieved this level whether or not it is included in a Framework.June 14, 2013 at 6:43 am #1530
As others have commented, prior learning in Functional Skills should not affect the Proportion of Funding Remaining for any other Aims. Only prior learning in that Aim would count and cause a reduction.
With regard to the length of course, is this an Apprenticeship? If so then you should be bound by the SFA Rules which state that it must be of a minimum duration of one year and one day unless there is any prior learning (Functional Skills prior learning would not count) – this applies to anyone who started their course on or after 1st August 2012, but not if they started before that date. However you have said that the Data Service have told you something different – do you have this in writing and does that advice apply to the 2012-13 academic year (when this new minimum duration Rule was introduced for starters on or after 1st August 2012)? If this is an Apprenticeship and the Proportion of Funding Remaining is 100 then you will receive the On Program Payments (OPP), but when it comes to claiming the Completion Funding then the SFA systems are supposed to disallow that payment if the Minimum Duration is not satisfied, so you won’t know until after you make the claim, so please be careful. My own experience of this has been to realise this before the event and then discussing this with the SFA and have been allowed to change the Planned End Dates to satisfy the Minimum Duration requirement.
It would be good to hear your thoughts on all this and if the advice suggested here is appropriate or not.
CasparJune 14, 2013 at 8:59 am #1532
Caspar, judging by the way the LIS works, the minimum duration for 19+ apprenticeships is six months, not twelve as it is for 16-18. Certainly the LIS pays achievement for 19+ learners on six months duration, but not less. I’ve seen this documented somewhere, but I’m damned if I can find it. So Debbie should be OK in this case.June 14, 2013 at 9:18 am #1534
Thank you everyone, it is Apprenticeships I am discussing and these learners started after 1st August 2012. We have some learners aged 19-21 who have achieved GCSE Grades A-C in the last 5 years that exempt them from doing Functional Skills with us. This means they don’t need so long on programme with us so I reduce their time to say 10 months and don’t claim for these elements on our PICS system. I do have it in writing from the data service and they have confirmed that I will still recieve the Framework Completion funding at the end even though they are only on for 10 months as their is a valid reason.
I have now raised all of this with my SFA Contract Manager to get confirmation.
DebbieJune 14, 2013 at 9:20 am #1535
As a last point Caspar is correct with the minimum of 12 months, the 6 months only applies for those where accredited or prior learning applies in which case a reduction in funding should apply. As delivery of main and component aims should run concurrently this should not necessitate a reduction in the length of the program where exemption for functional skills applies to do so in my opinion would only compromise quality.June 14, 2013 at 9:51 am #1536
The Funding Rules 12/13 sections 97 & 98 clearly state that there is a minimum duration for 19+ Learners of 12 months, unless there is accredited prior learning. If there is accredited prior learning then you may reduce the duration to minimum of 6 month but that you must reduce the proportion of funding. This applies to individual aims, exemption from functional skills does not allow you to reduce the term of the apprenticeship from 12 months, only APL against the main aim does.June 14, 2013 at 10:52 am #1538
Below is copies of correspondance from the Data Service to myself the top one was sent today
Thank you for submitting your query to the Service Desk. We have investigated your query 454896 and can confirm the following resolution:
There is no need to reduce the proportion of funding, as this wouldn’t make too much sense. You have already taken away the Functional skills as the learner has already achieved those, but all the other aims will still need to be funded at 100% as you are delivering 100% of them.
I hope this helps.
Yes, the Framework achievement should still be paid for these learners.
If you do have any further queries, please do let us know.
If the learner has already achieved their Functional skills, prior to starting their apprenticeship programme with yourselves, you do not need to record their functional skills on the record.
You will need to input the correct start and planned end dates (as you say, this will be less than 12 months) and keep evidence of the completed qualifications – to show why you have reduced the programme duration.
There is not really a way to record this on the system, as it will allow the duration of the programme to be less than 12 months for 19+ learners. You will however need to be able to show why this was done when you have your regular audits. If you need some more information on what exactly you will need to keep for this, please contact your SFA Relationship manager who should be able to advise you further.
I hope this helps.
If you do have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
(04/04/13)June 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm #1552
Funding is only reduced against individual aims and if you are not delivering functional skills there is no aim to reduce funding. The remainder of the program should not be reduced below the required 12 months unless there is prior achievement or learning in which case it may be reduced but only if an adjustment to the aims funding is made.
The data service have answered the question correctly but are you sure that you have asked the right question and included all the circumstances?
The framework documentation will also require a minimum duration which cannot be less than 12 months unless prior achievement or learning applies to the main aim and it will also specify the minimum levels of GLH that have to be under taken both on and off the job.
It is better for all to plan delivery with quality in mind rather than attempting to deliver in the shortest time possible, as this may be viewed as an attempt to draw down the maximum possible funding.June 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm #1553
I asked the Data Service for some help on the questions raised here and have received the following responses:
23/7/13: Hi Caspar
Just to let you know that I am looking at your 19+ Minimum Apprenticeship length, this is not handled in the funding calc for good reason or by validation after all we could only put in cannot claim 100% as 99% would be an acceptable value. The funding calc for 12/13 just stops learners from completing within 6mths with an expectation that proportion of funding remaining will be used if completed before 12mths.
Moving forward in 13/14 we have removed the logic from the funding calc completely and this will instead by handled by validation warnings. So it is possible that the issue could become larger moving forward.
I am currently awaiting guidance from my colleagues in the policy team and we have undertaken analysis of live data and captured the providers who have not reduced their funding, as a quick heads up this is likely to go to Audit to be picked up but I will await the outcome from Policy.
I’ll come back to you when I have further information.
And then 24/7/13: Hi Caspar
As previously mentioned we are unable to accurately deal with this in the funding calc or in validation, however it is a funding rule which takes precedence.
The analysis currently undertaken will be sent to the Audit team for follow up and this will continue to be monitored with data sent to Auditors as required.
I’ve requested that the call is closed by the Service desk, please don’t hesitate to come back to me if I can help further
So as far as Debbie Beattie’s original query goes, I would say that any 19+ Apprenticeship where the Main Aim has 100% Proportion of Funding Remaining must conform to the one-year-and-one-day minimum duration SFA Rule.
CasparJuly 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm #1781
Have to agree with Caspar on this but it applies to all not only 19+
The question that should be asked is the apprenticeship for a learner who has just started with no prior experience in the role or is to obtain recognition for those who already trained in or experience in the role.
The reason this question must be asked is that it is related to the funding claimed and the assumption is that 100% funding only applies to those starting in the role.
The frameworks are designed on this basis for the minimum time and GLH required if a learner completes or can complete in less than this then 100% funding should not be claimed.
I believe that there are proposals to consider learners as either new to the role or those who require up skilling, retraining or formalisation of their existing role and no doubt different funding strategies may result but in the mean time we have to work with the proportion of funding and I expect that this will evolve now into a prominent audit issue.July 25, 2013 at 1:56 pm #1783
Does anyone know what happens if you do try to claim an achievement before 12 months?July 25, 2013 at 2:26 pm #1786
Well, I know what happens in the LIS to 19+ learners who try to claim an achievement before six months: the LIS doesn’t pay the achievement. As far as 16-18 learners are concerned, I’m not sure that there can be a problem: the rule applies only to learners who start in the 2012/13 year, and is being withdrawn for funding purposes next year.July 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm #1787
Shure it would not be a problem if they started before 2012/13?
Rules apply to both 16-18 and 19+ but this rule is not being withdrawn it will still be an audit issue if you have claimed outside of the time scales specified.July 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm #1788
In response to Jo’s question, if you claim Completion before 12 months is up with 100% Proportion of Funding Remaining (and the learner started on or after 1st August 2012) then for 16-18 you should not receive the Completion Funding but for 19+ you will if they have done more than 6 months). However at Audit you would be castigated.
If a learner starts before 1/8/12 then the 12 month rule does not apply (as it was not introduced then).
If you claim it in the 2013/14 academic year (ie not in a Period 13 return for 2012/13) then you may well get paid as we have now been told that the FIS will not check for this. However you would fail an Audit and they will be on the lookout now.
Or have I missed something? Luke seems to be suggesting that this one-year-and-one-day Rule is being withdrawn in 2013/14 which I find hard to believe – is that true or just a nice rumour?
CasparJuly 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm #1789
Caspar and Martin, I was only talking funding here: sorry if that wasn’t clear from what I wrote. I’m sure that the rule still applies for audit purposes.July 26, 2013 at 7:31 am #1791
This is an interesting one. What happens eg say with an Accountancy apprenticeship where an apprentice sits on line exams and achieves their certificate or diploma automatically (ie this is not claimed via the awarding body) and therefore the date on the certificate is before the apprenticeship end date, but they are still employed and ‘learning in the workplace’? If the apprentice failed the last exam then a re-take could mean they were not a timely completion. It seems such a fine line.August 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm #1970
One simple solution to your accountancy conundrum would be to use a Planned End Date which allows for a retake for all students and that way you will avoid any untimely completions. The downside would perhaps be a longer planned course and reduced OPP, but you would still receive the full Aim value come Completion and you would certainly more than satisfy the one-year-and-one-day rule.
Conversely should your student complete the final exam before one-year-and-one-day has passed then they may have succeeded academically, but they could not achieve an Apprenticeship until the one-year-and-one-day has passed and would, I believe, have to remain employed until that time and only then would the Provider be able to draw down the Completion funding. If the student chose to quit having got their final exam result then the Provider would, I think, be ineligible for the Completion Funding and the student should be unable to claim a completed Apprenticeship (albeit we must all realise that their academic achievement would stand).
Has that made the line any finer?
Does Simplification make it Sensible?
CasparAugust 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm #1971
Thanks for the info. As a scenario, say an Accountancy apprentice who started in October 2012 achieved their level 2 Certificate and Professional Ethics unit (as required for apprenticeship framework) and remained in employment until beyond the planned end date, would the full funding etc be received by the provider. The provider seems anxious that if an apprentice achieves earlier, even though they remain in employment, this will cause a problem as the certificate will be dated say a month or so before the planned end date. Your comments would be appreciated.August 29, 2013 at 10:40 pm #1972
In reality I cannot recognise this as a possible scenario for many reasons, the main being that a framework completion certificate is what is required to evidence completion of an apprenticeship and this is not available via any online examination.August 30, 2013 at 6:31 am #1973
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