SFA Funding Claim Errors 2013/14

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Home Forums Data issues SFA Funding Claim Errors 2013/14

This topic contains 60 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  Caspar Verney 5 years, 10 months ago.

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 61 total)
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  • PJM001

    Just wondering if anyone else has received this letter? It tells us that there are errors, but in the most vague way possible with no details about what errors or the value that is affected. Is anyone else going through the same thing – any advice???



    We’ve had an email telling us that we’re going to get a letter….someone asked me what it is all about and I honestly had to say that I didn’t know!



    We received the same thing yesterday – slightly concerned even though the final submission had 6 errors and none of them relate to the issues outlined in the e-mail!


    Simon France

    Yes, I’ve had one too.

    In fact, I had one in September and I asked the Agency for the details of the learners concerned so I could fix the issues. However, they told me that they couldn’t provide that info and said they would be putting on a webinar to explain the policy. I attended the webinar and then made attempts to find the learners from the FIS Export. I found lots of learners with a missing BSI indicator and fixed them all before sending the final ILR.

    I ran the same criteria through the final ILR export from FIS and found nothing erroneous so I am quite surprised to see the letter. I’m also surprised to see the letter says they will tell us who the learners are in the new year! If they had told me who the learners were when I asked in September then they would’ve been sorted.

    There is no point telling us there are errors without telling us which records are affected.



    If you have run your xml files via DSAT before submissions then you must have picked up possible errors and corrected them? DSAT scripts are not perfect though – for example if you have twins – script thinks that they are duplicate learners..Also issues around:
    apprenticeships that did not meet the minimum duration criteria (once the exceptions to the rule have been applied)
    learners aged 24 and over studying at Levels 3 and 4 where funding claims have been made through the Adult Skills Budget
    learners aged 24 and over studying at Level 2 and below where full funding has been claimed but data has not been submitted identifying the learner as eligible (and therefore should be co-funded)
    grant-funded providers incorrectly claiming the discretionary learner support (DLS) element of the loans bursary using the three rates system..

    Have you run your submissions via DSAT?



    We have received the letter regarding SFA Funding Claim errors 13/14. No details, these will come in the New Year. Just what i need before Christmas.



    Yes we’re received a similar letter. We’re running through the DSAT now trying to work out what we’ve missed.



    I’ve seen an email. The email did identify the areas where they say we have submitted an ‘inaccurate claim’. Although one area they say we have submitted an inaccurate claim is learners aged 24 and over studying at Levels 3 and 4 where funding claims have been made through the Adult Skills Budget however these are A2 learners where they have progressed from the AS so this is perfectly acceptable.

    We have also had a full assurance audit which has been signed off.


    Simon France

    I always run submissions through the DSAT but the 13/14 didn’t look for 24+ being full funded but no evidence of eligibility (which is the one I think mine are).



    I think it’s safe to assume every provider is getting a letter if DSATS has flagged anything up. Even though the data is correct.
    For example our DSATS has flagged up 19-23 apprentices on for under a year, but it hasn’t considered the Funding adjustment for Prior Learning.

    You should still check your DSATS just in case there is something you have missed. If you have missed something then prepare to answer some questions if they do end up auditing your data.

    Another assumption, the volume of providers getting these letters, is the SFA really going to audit everyone who got a letter? Especially with the crazy amount of mess ups the SFA made at the start of 13/14 surely they must have been expecting this



    If we’ve all made the same errors surely DSATs should have been updated to enable us to capture these error before we all submitted our ‘inaccurate’ claims!
    What a lovely Christmas message with no comment about how inadequate their systems were for the entirety of the year and how many additional hours we have all spend desperately trying to get it right!


    Martin West

    Hi All,
    I did a quick query to check and yes errors were found in the 13/14 return for classroom and workplace delivery as the SFA have outlined in their letter.
    Yes we have missed some of the changes over the last two years specifically with regard to 24+ learners not being fully funded.
    Not good news just before Christmas and I expect we will have to repay some over claimed funding in the New Year.

    So the bad news is it looks like the SFA have correctly identified some errors and want the money back.


    Simon France

    Hi Martin,

    Did you identify the errors by applying a query to the FIS Export database? If so, is there any possibility you could share it, please?

    I wanted to fix these errors after my first letter in September but the SFA wouldn’t tell me which records were affected or tell me how to find them. They simply told me to watch a webinar about policy and I tried to determine criteria from that.

    Obviously I went wrong somewhere because I fixed every error I found and they’re saying some remain.



    Hi All
    Can i ask how many people received a letter in September and if it was a similar thing, also how long it took for the report to appear?

    We have gone through various reports, i think it was wrong for them to send the letter saying they have found errors but can’t tell us what they are until the new year.

    Has anyone received any further info.

    Thank you in advance


    Simon France

    I received a letter in September but they said they couldn’t tell me who they were so I tried to find them myself. I thought I had got them all so the December letter is a surprise to me.


    Martin West

    Hi Simon,
    I used the following query to list 24+ learners funded by the SFA who were fully funded and looked for exceptions to where either delivery started on a full L2/3 after 2011/12 or eligibility could not be attributed to the unemployed or progression funding.

    SELECT Learner.LearnRefNumber, Learner.FamilyName, Learner.GivenNames, Learner.PriorAttain, LearningDelivery_UpfrontDV.LrnDelDV_UnempBenPriorStart, LearningDelivery.LearnAimRef, LearningDelivery.NotionalNVQLevelCode, LearningDelivery_UpfrontDV.LrnDelDV_OrigLearnStartDate, LearningDelivery.AimTitle, LearningDelivery.FundModel, LearningDelivery.LrnDelDV_AgeAimStart_Sfa, LearningDelivery.LrnDelDV_ClassRm_Sfa, LearningDelivery.LearningAimTypeCode, LearningDelivery.PartnerUKPRN, LearningDeliveryFAM.LearnDelFAMType, LearningDeliveryFAM.LearnDelFAMCode
    FROM (Learner INNER JOIN (LearningDelivery_UpfrontDV INNER JOIN LearningDelivery ON LearningDelivery_UpfrontDV.LearningDelivery_Id = LearningDelivery.LearningDelivery_Id) ON Learner.Learner_Id = LearningDelivery_UpfrontDV.Learner_Id) INNER JOIN LearningDeliveryFAM ON LearningDelivery.LearningDelivery_Id = LearningDeliveryFAM.LearningDelivery_Id
    WHERE (((LearningDelivery_UpfrontDV.LrnDelDV_UnempBenPriorStart)=0) AND ((LearningDelivery.FundModel)=35) AND ((LearningDelivery.LrnDelDV_AgeAimStart_Sfa)>23) AND ((LearningDelivery.LearningAimTypeCode)”1439″ And (LearningDelivery.LearningAimTypeCode)”0003″) AND ((LearningDeliveryFAM.LearnDelFAMType)=”FFI”) AND ((LearningDeliveryFAM.LearnDelFAMCode)=”1″))
    ORDER BY LearningDelivery.LearnAimRef;



    Simon France

    Thanks Martin, that helps a lot.

    I got 220 Functional Skills learners who are employed. But surely these fall under the Basic Skills concession?

    Let’s hope it is another case of the SFA sending letters out to everyone and panicking us unnecessarily.


    Martin West

    Hi Simon,
    No it could be that you have errors that relate to Apprenticeship duration, 24+ learners at Level 3 and above or discretionary learner support issues, you will need to rule all these out as well before you can assume it was a round robin communication.


    Simon France

    We don’t have any apprenticeships and all 27 of our L3 learners are on a loan. I’ll wait and see what they say.

    (Sorry, I amended the query you gave me and edited my post while you were responding)


    Karen SFA

    We issued an email to a number of providers yesterday highlighting funding claims that may be ineligible in the 2013 to 2014 funding year. If you have had a communication, your CDS advisor will send you information on the learners / provision affected and have an individual discussion with you early in the New Year. This will be to verify the data.

    Following these discussions, if there is a need, we will calculate any amount to be repaid and agree with you how these repayments will be made.




    If it’s possible to write a set of rules to identify income claimed for ineligible learners, this should be built into the funding calc, or failing that should be part of the validation rules. As an absolute minimum, at least give us the MI with the learners/enrolments affected before R14.

    Writing to providers in December, 5 months into the following year, while/after our Accounts are being signed off isn’t the best way to go about this.

    I’m reasonably confident our own internal controls plus DSAT have picked up these issues, but can’t imagine that this will be the case for everyone.

    For what it’s worth, it is possible to use a combination of age/benefit status/qual level/prior qual/classroom/WPL/full level/Basic Skills/ESOL/EmpSize to write a report working out funding eligibility (full/co/not funded).




    Karen, not wanting to shoot the messenger, but this is completely unacceptable. There are college who had FUNDING AUDITS who have received these letters. This amounts to SFA saying they don’t trust the people they’ve appointed AND PAID FOR to check that we’re not breaking the rules.

    The thing is, the software you gave us was unable to determine that these things were issues. Taking money back from THIS year’s allocation is highway robbery.


    Martin West

    Hi Adam,
    Due to the changes in funding eligibility over the last few years I expect the SFA have identified common issues as a result of end of year audits and have highlighted funding claims that may be ineligible to providers.
    I have found the various DSAT reports 140-150, 140-110 and 140-530 do identify most of the issues in question excepting for 24+ classroom learners claiming full funding where it was necessary to use a query in the FIS mdb to identify the aims.
    As you say we should have internal controls in place to ensure we only claim the funding due but I can report that despite thinking I had this in place I have identified possible issues for 5% of aims as reported by the SFA.
    Yes the eligibility and general funding rules are complicated and not all staff may be up to date with all the changes but this is the reason why we need internal controls and if these have failed this is the providers responsibility and not the SFAs.
    If you are confident that your internal controls are good then this should not be an issue for you.
    I find it difficult to understand what more you expect the SFA to do as if they have identified that providers have over claimed funding they have a duty to recover this.
    I expect it is just as inconvenient to them as it is to us at this time of year so I wish a merry Christmas to all.



    Have to disagree Martin, what we’re mainly talking about here is people not returning BSI and thus there being no obvious way for SFA to tell why we’ve fully funded them. This is NOT the same as us over-claiming, it’s just that the evidence isn’t in the ILR (even where learners have appropriately self-declared). This is why we have an audit regime, but checking BSI wasn’t on the audit papers. Either SFA trust us to not mis-claim or they send audit teams into all of us every year, they can’t have it both ways.

    Remember £64 MILLION was delivered by providers that they weren’t paid for, according to last week’s payment spreadsheet, so flogging ourselves for alleged overclaims that can’t possibly come close to that amount of money is a waste of everyone’s time and resource…


    Martin West

    Hi Steve,
    My analysis agrees with you that the ES and BSI may be the issue and where these have not been returned the SFA cannot validate that we have correctly claimed funding and they want us to look at this.
    As I said to Adam if you are confident in your internal controls and you have evidence to support your claim then what is the issue?
    I will hold my hands up and say they may have a point as I can identify a few instances where there has been an over claim and yes it is the providers fault and responsibility to rectify any overpayment.

    I expect the SFA used something like the following to identify possible issues:

    EligabilityCheck: IIf([LrnDelDV_UnempBenPriorStart]=1,’Fully Funded on benefit’,IIf([LrnDelDV_Unemployed]=1,’Fully Funded College discretion’,IIf([LrnDelDV_OrigLearnStartDate]<#01/08/2012#,'Fully Funded due to Prior Attainment at Start',IIf([LearningAimTypeCode]='4342','Fully Funded Adult Basic Skills','Should be Co-funded?'))))

    If I extrapolate my error rate across all providers it would be 10,s of millions something the SFA cannot ignore even if they only uncovered the issue in one or two audits after the year end so unfortunately I cannot agree with you in this instance.

    That said Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

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