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Provider support manual:

Completing the ILR: ESF funded learning aims

Recording ESF data in the ILR

For full details of the funding rules and requirements for the 2014 to 2020 ESF Programme, refer to the 2014 to 2020 ESF Programme funding rules and ESF funding rates and formula .

The guidance below provides additional information to support data returns for the 2014 to 2020 ESF Programme.

For the ESF 2014 to 2020 Programme, all records for all learners who have received ESF funding as part of the current programme must continue to be returned up until collection R14 following the contract end. This includes all Learner, Learning Delivery, and Destination and Progression records for learners who completed their learning aims in a previous teaching year. This is particularly important for the ZESF0001 aim, which must always be included in the learner’s record. Failure to return all aims for the learner (including closed aims) may result in a loss of funding that has already been claimed.

The Contract reference number in the Learning Delivery entity is used to identify all aims that belong to the same ESF contract. This field must be completed for all ESF funded provision. This number may also be referred to as the contract allocation number and will begin with ‘ESF- ‘.

Learner data

ESF funded learners may be contacted as part of a sample survey to inform the effectiveness of the Programme. The contact preferences expressed for these learners will not apply is this circumstance. A telephone number should be supplied for all ESF funded learners to enable them to be contacted.

Learning delivery data

Every ESF funded learner must have a ZESF0001 aim recorded. This aim is used to indicate a learners start and assessment, and must continue to be returned up until collection R14 following the contract end.

The appropriate learning aim reference from the LARS database must be recorded for each learning aim undertaken. The Learning Aims search function on the online service allows you to search for regulated and non-regulated learning aims that are available for ESF activity. The learning aims must be valid under the ESF category in the LARS database in order to be recorded as ESF funded learning (Funding model 70) in the ILR. See below for further details about recording non-regulated activity for ESF funded learning.

For ESOL learning aims, any required additional delivery hours should be recorded in the Additional delivery hours field.

Recording non-regulated learning activity

Non-regulated activity should be recorded using the class codes in the ‘Learning Aim Class Codes’ document (located in Section 14 Related Links to Documents and Information section).

Non-regulated learning in a single sector subject area at a known level should be recorded using a class code from Category A. If the learning is across several sector subject areas, then one of the codes for mixed sector subject areas from Category L should be used.

If the learning activity in sector subject area 14.1 (Foundations for Learning and Life) or 14.2 (Preparation for Work) has no defined indicative level, it should be recorded using a Category L class code. Otherwise, a code from Category A should be used.
Non-regulated English, maths or ESOL provision should be recorded using codes from Category B.

Work experience or work placement should be recorded using one of the codes from Category I.

Learner destination data and progression payments

You must record Destination and Progression data for all ESF funded learners and learners used as match for ESF. For learners used as match, the actual destination of the learner, where it is known, should be collected at the point the learner leaves learning. It is important that this data is reported accurately and completely.

Destination and Progression data is used to fund programme deliverables. Some ESF contracts will include progression funding, the criteria for this funding will depend on the contract.

The following ILR fields will be used to check if progression funding should be released:

  • Contract reference number

  • Learning aim reference

  • Learning actual end date

  • Outcome type

  • Outcome code

  • Outcome start date

  • Outcome end date (if known: where the end date is not known, the Outcome collection date is used)

Refer to the ESF funding rules and ESF funding rates and formula documents for further details about ESF Progressions and funding methodologies.

Returning ESF data and destination data

The ILR R01 and R02 returns of 2020 to 2021 contain all current and prior ESF records (including both open and closed aims) including all Destination and Progression records.

This data must then be returned in the R13 and R14 returns of 2019 to 2020, as illustrated in the diagram below.

PSM-IMAGE R11-R14 Overlap with R01

A Destination and Progression record must be returned for all closed ESF programmes within two months of the latest Learning actual end date.

When recording follow up Destination and Progression records, if the destination is the same (i.e. the learner is still in the same employment), the record’s collection date must be updated. Otherwise, a new destination record must be returned.

ESF funded learners who leave the programme (all aims are closed) with a latest Learning actual end date prior to 1 August 2020 must have a Destination and Progression record returned in the previous year’s ILR prior to the close of R14.

ESF validation and eligibility checks

Learning activity delivered against an ESF contract will be checked against the eligibility criteria in the contract specification. The eligibility criteria will be applied based on the Learning start date of the completed ZESF0001 aim for that Contract reference number.

You must maintain evidence as in the ESF funding rules and evidence of the eligibility checks carried out.

Supplementary data collection

Additional data required for the ESF Programme that is not collected through the ILR should be returned through the Supplementary Data collection.

Providers will need to create a supplementary data file (in csv format) and upload this to the online service.

Additional information about the requirements for the supplementary data collection is published on GOV.UK via the ESFA: supplementary data collection page.

Amending submitted data

Data must be correct at the time of claiming. The ESF Managing Authority have issued guidance stating that any changes must be made within the next quarter. Changes outside of this may lead to the recovery of funding.

Match funding

As an ESF Opt-in Organisation, the ESFA must match ESF funds contracted with money from the UK Government (that is, eligible mainstream programme funds).

The ESFA is required to report this match funding and the associated learners within funding claims made to the ESF Managing Authority in England. When funds are identified as match funding, the learning activity and its associated funding become part of the ESF Programme and so must meet the same requirements as directly funded ESF activity.

Learning aims funded through the Adult skills funding model (including non-levy apprenticeship standards) and an employer that is not on the apprenticeship service and is funded through a contract for services with the ESFA, starting on or after 1 August 2018 may be used as match funding for the ESF Programme. Providers should expect learning aims to be used as match funding and keep data accordingly. The ESFA will write to all providers confirming if they are being used as ESF match funding.

It is important that you return complete and meaningful data: values such as ‘not known’ or ‘prefer not to say’ should only be used in exceptional circumstances. This is particularly important for the following fields:

  • Prior attainment [Learner entity]

  • Employment status [Learner Employment Status entity]

  • Household situation [Learning Delivery Funding and Monitoring entity]

  • Outcome type and code [Destination and Progression entity]