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Provider support manual:

What is the ILR

What is the ILR

The ILR is an on-going collection of data about learners and the learning undertaken by them from learning providers in the Further Education (FE) and Skills sector.

The FE and Skills sector includes: Further Education Colleges, former External Institutions, Sixth Form Colleges, Training Organisations, Local Authorities, Academies, and Voluntary and Community Organisations.

The data collected in the ILR for each teaching year is detailed in the Specification of the Individualised Learner Record and the associated documents. The ILR documents are listed below.

  • ILR specification is the definitive technical specification of the Individualised Learner Record (ILR).

  • Validation rules is a spreadsheet of validation rules and accompanying guidance.

  • Learning delivery monitoring (LDM) codes list codes for recording the Learning Delivery Funding and Monitoring fields.

  • Appendix A - Data collection timetable .

  • Appendix B - Migration mapping from the previous year to the current year format.

  • Appendix D - Higher Education Domicile codes.

  • Appendix F - Privacy notice .

  • Appendix G - Prior attainment levels – incorporated into Prior Attainment content field for 2020 to 2021.

  • Appendix L - Standard occupational classification (SOC) 2000/2010 codes.

  • Appendix Q - List of codes for learning outcome grades – incorporated into Outcome field content for 2020 to 2021.

    • Appendix Q Annex 1.

The ILR specification defines what data is collected for each teaching year. For ILR purposes, the teaching year runs from 1 August to 31 July.

What is ILR data used for?

Data underpins funding and commissioning decisions, and also underpins and informs the work of Ofsted and other agencies. When aggregated, it presents the progress and position of the sector to sponsoring departments and to the Government, thereby informing policy making decisions.

Data recorded on the ILR return is used to calculate funding earned by providers and to enable comparison of actual volumes and costs against contracted levels.

The data provides management information, including performance indicators, which are used to manage the current programmes and also to assist with the development of future programmes.

The data gathered provides information about the effectiveness of the learning programmes in terms of who they reach, what learning they receive and what outcomes are subsequently achieved.

The data collected in the ILR is also used to ensure that the public money distributed through the ESFA is being spent in line with government targets for quality and value for money, for planning, and to make the case for the sector in seeking further funding.

Specifically, the data is used to:

  • monitor individual providers’ delivery against allocation or contract

  • inform local decisions about plans and provision

  • monitor progress to targets

  • to give the ESFA assurance that the funding rules are being followed

  • inform national planning, including policy development and modelling

  • calculate actual funding earned

  • monitor quality of provision and evaluate the effectiveness of providers across the sector

  • make the case to government for levels of funding appropriate to the sector

  • demonstrate the outcomes of distribution of government funds.

The data will be analysed in relation to:

  • demographic trends

  • participation and achievement rates

  • local labour market requirements

  • strategic planning targets.

These analyses will enable the funding bodies to:

  • influence curriculum and capital investment within providers for the benefit of the local economy

  • engage with providers in medium- and long-term strategic planning.

The ESFA holds ILR data in a single national data collection database. This database contains the most up to date ILR data for each provider. At certain points in the year, the ESFA will extract data from this national ILR database for the purposes above.

Who is required to make ILR data returns?

ILR returns are required from providers who receive funding directly from the ESFA, or through Advanced Learner Loans.

Providers are grouped into two broad types for ILR collection purposes, these are:

  • Colleges (also referred to as ‘grant funded’ providers in some cases) - this type covers:

    • Further education corporations established under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, covering GFE’s, Tertiary, Sixth-form, Specialist Colleges, and Academies

    • Sixth Form Colleges established under the ASCL Act 2009

    • Local authorities (county, borough, district and city councils and unitary authorities in England)

    • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

  • Training organisations (also referred to as ‘contract funded’ providers in some cases) – this type relates to:

    • An organisation whose main area of business is education and/or training, but which is not a college or local authority

    • A ‘loans only’ training provider with a facility to deliver only Advanced Learner Loans funded provision.