At the software supplies meeting we where told that DES, the LIS replacement would be available sometime in May. No specific date was given, only that it would be sometime in May.
As today is tha last day of May, can we now know when this application will be released?May 31, 2013 at 11:14 am #1435SFA STAFF
The Data Service has just posted a news article about the release of the LIS replacement on their website here:
Cheers, GretaMay 31, 2013 at 11:28 am #1437
I believe DES is the OLDC replacement and the LIS replacement is SKIFS.
Have a look at the latest Inform newsletter, this is taken from it:
The new Skills Funding System (SKIFS) has reached an exciting phase in its development, as the team announces that an alpha version is to be released in early June. The alpha version will have limited functionality; its purpose is to test the download and installation processes and the creation of relevant databases. This alpha release will be tested by some of our communities including software developers, own software writers and our technical user group. Once we have investigated the results of these tests, we will look to make any necessary changes.
The beta version of SKIFS is scheduled for a July release.May 31, 2013 at 11:28 am #1438
I do not know what is ‘exciting’ (Inform issue 72) about the current SKIFS development as despite the fact that they had previously indicated that the Alpha release had already been tested by some providers the timeline has moved for the Alpha release from 7th April 2013 to now early June and the Beta release from 8th April to May to now a July release.
How they can generate excitement out of a delay and plan B is beyond my comprehension.May 31, 2013 at 11:32 am #1439
I concur with martin’s commens above. I am expecting, yet again, a late release of functioning software, undue pressure placed on MIS teams and software developers, possible last minute cancelled ILR submissions, and a complete lack of enthusiasm about yet another delayed systems change.May 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm #1440
Got my acronym wrong. I meant SKIFS
I guess this explains why SFA are going to pay on profile for the first two months of the new academic year. The software is not ready.
To be honest I am not surprised especially given the vapourware screenshots presentation we where shown at the last meeting.
Considering the dates for this keep slipping, when beta is released in July, will this be July 2013 or July 2014?May 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm #1441
This makes very, very sad reading.
I have seen that the SFA are planning to pay on Profile for R01 and R02 in 2013-14 and that the ILR return in those periods is not required. Have any of the other authorities said anything similar?
As Martin has said, we have all been promised delivery dates and then only after they have passed are we told that there is to be another delay and by no means an insignificant one.
Aside from the appalling state that this leaves all MIS for 2013-14, why cannot the truth about what is going on be published more freely and in good time?
Were no lessons learned from the XML introduction fiasco?
The MIS for 2013-14 that I am responsible for has been ready for several months now and will work fine for 2013-14 even now, the only thing that I simply cannot guarantee is whether any Batch File will be acceptable because it cannot be tested. Even if the DCFT team get the new systems in place by August, there simply will not be the time and opportunity to perform the necessary testing (and particularly since the new term is starting and there are much more important things to deal with – like new students).
July 2014 seems a very pragmatic suggestion.May 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm #1442
Will users who are not part of either the software developer, own software writer or technical user groups be able to get access to a copy of the alpha release?June 6, 2013 at 9:42 am #1460
No, I don’t think the Data Service will make the alpha version of SKIFS available outside of those groups, because they want to keep the feedback to a manageable level. The main purpose of the alpha is to check the installation process.
The information authorityJune 6, 2013 at 10:26 am #1465
Maybe, perhaps and possibly may be a bit optimistic as the planned publication date for FIS beta has now been changed from July to August the same as for the live release.
I expect all will become clearer in today’s SFA update but it seems that that the beta will be the same as the live release and that they will plan to sort out any problems before R03 is due.
Now holding head in hands in disbelief that they have managed to deliver even later than last year.July 31, 2013 at 11:29 am #1825
I am not sure why your reply appears in this thread to a comment that I posted in a different one.
As I understand it the FIS Beta is planned to be published “soon”, but that the full Live version will not be available until October (hopefully!).
I also note today from the IA (in case you haven’t seen it via any other means) that:
“To accommodate some very recent changes from the funding agencies, we are republishing the 2013/14 ILR specification and Appendix H. Both will be available imminently on http://www.theia.org.uk/ilr/ilrdocuments/201314_ilrspec.htm We have informed the funding agencies that many provider MI systems will have already been released and so it may take some time for these changes to be implemented.
We have also published guidance on delivering traineeships which will be of interest. See: http://www.theia.org.uk/ilr/ilrdocuments/201314-guidance.htm ”
So it seems that the Funding Agencies have moved the goalposts and the new Specification & Rules are (hopefully!) being published on the day before the new academic year. However as no ILR returns are expected before R03 at the earliest, I don’t suppose that anyone from the other end of the telescope really minds if MI systems have already been issued according to the previous Rules. I just wish that all the MI authors could charge the Authorities for all of the reworking that they are forcing upon us that is entirely not our fault!
I think I’ll go bald now as pulling out my hair hurts too much!
CasparJuly 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm #1826
Hi, I have just had a very worryingly vague conversation with the Data Service regarding FIS. I was trying to ascertain if providers would have access to a working funding report in FIS before the end of August, and if not if the SFA could provide a technical specification of the funding calculations as the EFA did. The answer to both seems to be no. Aside from quoting the website to me and saying that some version of FIS may be available in August and that a funding report may be availbale with it but woudld definitely not be accurate, I was left very confused. Does anyone else have any different info on when FIS might be available and if there is a funding calculation specification available? We would usually rely on OLDC, LIS and our software supplier for funding reports on actual delivery, but as none of these are looking likely to be available in August, writing our seems to be the only remaining option. Any advice on this would be very gratefully received.August 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm #1899
The funding calculations are not expected to be accurate in the first release.
The EFA funding specifications are available in draft from:
The same has not yet been published by the SFA but I have requested via a FOI request that any information (working documents) are made available, the initial response has been positive and if and when they do release this information I have asked that it be distributed to all.
If you require any specific guidance just ask on this forumAugust 20, 2013 at 12:58 pm #1900
Thanks Martin, thats brilliant. I had found the EFA document and it has been extremely helpful. I had asked Data Service for similar for the SFA but they said no. So if you get anywhere with this if it is published that would be a help.
Quick question regarding carry over apprentices, for thh main aim will I calculate 5% of the acievement value and add it back to the remaining OPP’s to account for the new methodology of 20% achievement?
ThanksAugust 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm #1901
The simple answer is yes, but there are a few additional complications for other component aims such as:
If 80% of funding has already been drawn down the achievement element may not be applied.
If the proportion of funding was applied to the main aim in 2012/13 and this is coped to 2013/14 as per the migration specification funding will be less than in 12/13 as the % is applied to both the on programme and achievement payment in 13/14. I have suggested that for aim type 2 that the migration should be [PriorLearnFundAdj] = [PropFundRemain] + (25% of [PropFundRemain]).August 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm #1902
FIS is not expected to available to all Providers until October, as I understand it, if they do hit their planned dates. A Beta release is expected out this month and I believe it was issued to the SFA yesterday for them to test before it is released to a selected group (and not to all Providers). This version will be unable to produce any accurate funding information (it might be right, but they are clearly saying that it cannot be guaranteed to be). One of the building blocks needed is the LARS and the full live version of that is not planned until October.
With regard to actual funding formulae, Martin is on the ball. I have some theoretical formulae that I have used for predicting purposes, but I don’t expect to be certain about these until I can have back a working PFR (so maybe November). In the meantime we will be somewhat blind.
With regard to your question about that missing 5% Completion or Achievement funding – I believe that you have it just right and that it will be spread over the remaining months. It may not actually appear within the OPP part, but may be a balancing payment each month, although the net effect should be as you say. Be aware also that sub-aims in an Apprenticeship will also now have 20% retention for achievement and that means those monthly payments will also change (albeit the values involved are not as significant).
Now I am expecting that new-start Apprentices on or after 1st August will be funded at the same rates as in 2012-13 unless they appear in the infamous Simplified Funding spreadsheet or unless they have a last day for new starts in the past. I wonder if anyone else would care to comment on this point, please?
CasparAugust 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm #1905
As I have read it all apprenticeships on existing frameworks (carry over and new starts) will be funded at the rates on the spreadsheet Apprenticeship Tab (using the new methodology) which are similar but not always the same as the 12/13 LAD rates. For any new frameworks for which there are none yet these will be funded as per the spreadsheet ASB using the new methodology with the addition of a weighted uplift.
All of these rates should end up in LARS but when and how is in the hands of the gods.August 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm #1906
Thanks both for your advice, I will get cracking on my formulas in Crystal now! I was going to calculate new starts on apprenticeships with the same rates as they are in LARA now but using the new methodolgy of 80% OPP’s & 20% achievement. I was going to work out the values using the old SLN*prog weighting*national rate*contribution formula. We have not currently got any new frameworks that we know of.August 20, 2013 at 3:53 pm #1907
Quick question about the EFA funding calc spec – it refers to programme weighting as being set at institutional level but I’m wondering if that is just referring to how the allocation is set. What I’m looking for is how programme weighting will be applied within FIS funding reports against 2013/14 ILR data i.e. wil it be applied at learner level i.e. will a learner on a full time programme doing construction generate more income in FIS than a learner doing care or admin? And will the programme weighting be applied to their core vocational aim as well as subsidiary aims, maths english etc? edit: it must be applied to all aims which means that a learner doing maths/english as part of a full timeconstruction programme will generate more income for the hours spent doing maths and english than care learners doing maths and english. Which seems odd.
Or will all learners have the same programme weighting applied regardless of vocation as the spec suggests ie. at institutional level as stated in our allocation?August 28, 2013 at 11:33 am #1954
I read it as the calculations will be based on your Retention factor, Programme cost weighting, Disadvantage funding, and Area cost uplift which is in effect your provider factor for 13/14 so little change to current. The 13/14 ILR data will be used for lagged funding numbers and future factors so no change there then.
At least we have draft calculation specifications from the EFA even if it is difficult to establish how it will be applied or where the simplification is.August 28, 2013 at 11:52 am #1955
So it is now September for testing of FIS and LARS with final version planned for October.
Plenty of time before the 6th November return for software suppliers to finalise their MI software and for Providers to validate their ILR given that they normally release at the end of the planned month that gives us all of 6 days, well done!!!!September 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm #2027
Friday, 4:15pm – the Data Service have closed now, but I see no release of the FIS Beta yet, despite suggestions that it would be out this week (like the Data Service changing their recorded message at the beginning of the week to direct any FIS queries to that team). What odds will anyone give for a fully working system in October?
If anyone else is following this thread and have missed the debate in another, then carry-in learners should be funded at their 2012-13 rates and not at the new rates in the infamous spreadsheet which will only be used for new starters on or after 1st August 2013. That spreadsheet does not contain the rates for all age bands. The Data Service have told me that the 16-18 Rates for Apprenticeships that appear in LARA now for 2012-13 are the ones that will be used for 16-18 Apprentices in 2013-14, but I find this a little difficult to be sure about.September 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm #2049
The 16-18 Apprenticeship age factor is confirmed as 1.0723 in the SFA funding parameters and it looks like this is applied to carry over learners and new starts on both existing and new frameworks in 2013/14.
Nearly finished the Apprenticeship funding calculations SQL for 13/14 but need to find a better way of identifying the old main aim for carry overs it must be in the LARS tables but have yet to find it. That’s apart from the problem of having to cater for 3 lots of funding rates, 3 age bands and two different levels of achievement but only if the carry overs have enough funding left. The 19-24 age banding has changed to 19-23 but cannot find if this is included in the transition arrangements what do you think Caspar?
How to complicate simplification and delay implementation.September 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm #2051
Martin et al,
My understanding remains that carry-in learners are funded at the Rate in force on 31st July 2013.
Any learner who is classified as aged 24 and is a carry-in learner should, I believe, continue to be funded at the 2012-13 rates (albeit under the 2013/14 methodology with the 20% retention/completion funding).
Any learner who is aged 24 and starts on or after 1st August 2013 will not be funded and must apply for a 24+ loan, as I understand it. I suppose there might be an exception if a case can be made that they were unable to start earlier and deserve to be funded in another age bracket, as has been the allowed before – does anyone know if that suggestion is allowable in 2013-14, please?
With regard to the 1.0723 factor for 16-18, do you believe that we can count that as sacrosanct and absolute? I still regard it with a degree of scepticism until it is officially publicly published.
CasparSeptember 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm #2063
Yes I agree that carry-in learners are funded at the Rate in force on 31st July 2013, these are the rates currently in LARA that will be transferred to LARS and not the rates from the spreadsheet as these are the rates for new starts on existing and new frameworks and although the rates for existing frameworks may look similar are not exactly the same.
Loans will only apply to 24+ new starts on Advanced or above apprenticeships.
I obtained the age factors from current unpublished documentation direct from the head of the Data Service and as it confirms the intention to fund carry over learners at previous rates and apply age factors to the published 19-23 rate for new starts I see no reason to think that this will change.
Still having a few problems with the Apprenticeship funding calculations due to all the different transitional factors, every time I think I am finished I find an issue that I had not fully considered, the last bug was I did not flag carry over aims that start this year so they ended up being funded at the wrong rate. Where do you put those carry over aged 24 at start, at first they came out in 24+ but have had to change that so that they go into the 19-23 cohort.
All I need now is something to test an ILR and the calculations against.September 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm #2068
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