1. Latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance about COVID-19 in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students on GOV.UK.
Please check GOV.UK regularly for updates
2. Information: further responses to the coronavirus emergency
In light of the pandemic, and its impact upon providers and ESFA, we have made the following decisions:
2.1 Apprenticeship Programme
Closure of Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP)
RoATP will be closed to new applications, which includes second applications from providers that have already applied in the past 12 months, from midnight Wednesday 15 April 2020, providing time for applications in progress and second applications to be completed and submitted.
We will take this opportunity to review our future approach to the Register. The review will include initiating dialogue with the sector. We will advise further on when and in what form the Register will re-open.
Applications that have already been received will be assessed in the usual way.
Closure of Onboarding to the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP)
Any provider that has been advised they have been accepted to RoATP, that has not yet completed the onboarding process, and that are planning to start apprentices before 1 August should ensure that they do so by midnight Tuesday 14 April 2020. Onboarding is expected to resume from 1 July 2020.
Provider Growth Limit
The Provider Growth Limit, to be applied to new RoATP listed providers and planned for later this year, will not now be introduced until further notice.
2.2 All Programmes
We will not contact providers about subcontracting information not returned to us on time but would encourage all providers that have not made a return since 23 October to do so where they can.
We will also not be issuing new subcontracting returns at this time. We will contact providers at a point in the future to request subcontracting information to cover this and future periods.
- mandatory subcontractor declarations
- reporting subcontracting fees and charges
- return of certificates for the 2018 to 2019 year
- return of certificates for the 2019 to 2020 year
In accordance with the funding rules, any provider is required to make a revised declaration through MYESF as and when any of their subcontracting relationships, or values change, where these revisions relate to the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 for the delivery of any apprenticeship non-levy and levy funded provision and for 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2020 for all other adult, or 16 to 19 programme (noting schools and academies are exempt) funded delivery.
3. Information: increased fraud risk during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Periods of instability, such as during the coronavirus pandemic, bring an increased risk of fraud. Fraudsters will actively exploit these difficult times and will target vulnerable areas for financial gain.
ActionFraud reported a 400% increase in reports of coronavirus related fraud in March 2020. The reported frauds are varied and include:
- charity fraud
- online shopping fraud
- phishing emails
Further information is available on the ActionFraud website.
Periods of instability lead to increased pressure, which in turn may lead to reduced internal controls and management oversight, making organisations more vulnerable to fraud risks.
During these periods staff wanting to be helpful and flexible when dealing with suppliers can be more susceptible to targeted attacks from fraudsters, particularly around changes to payment details.
Remember, fraudsters can be very convincing, they are used to exploiting organisations and will have prepared thoroughly.
Organisations should continue to follow all business processes and procedures designed to protect them from fraud. Below are some key actions for all organisations during the corona virus pandemic and other periods of instability:
- Maintain effective governance and financial management and oversight. Periodically remind staff that, despite the instability, the organisation continues to implement and require compliance with internal controls.
- Maintain strong internal controls and retain and implement clear policies and procedures. Provide further training on these policies and procedures where required.
- Maintain and promote strong anti-fraud controls. Review internal control risk assessments and fraud risk assessments. Ensure that staff know how to report suspected fraud.
- Undertake internal audits to monitor internal controls and segregation of duties to ensure they are operating effectively.
Cybercrime is an increasing risk to all business, including the education sector, and is a particularly vulnerable area in the current situation. We have published a guide on cybercrime and cyber security to help raise education providers’ awareness.
Further guidance on reducing fraud risks is also available (this was produced for academies but maybe helpful to all organisations).
3.2 Scam alerts
We have been informed that some parents have received an email stating the following: ‘As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported’.
We can confirm that this is a scam email and is not official. We urge parents that if you receive any emails like this, please do not respond, and delete it immediately.
4. Reminder: individualised learner record (ILR) period 8
The ILR period 8 collection closes on Monday 6 April at 6pm in line with the published process to ensure funding and payments to the post-16 sector continue to schedule. You will be able to make returns using the Submit Learner Data portal.
We know that you are working through exceptional circumstances due to COVID-19 and this might make it difficult to meet the deadline. If you cannot meet this deadline, please contact us by email to [email protected].
5. Information: adult allocations for the 2020 to 2021 funding year
ESFA funded adult education budget, 16 to18 traineeships (for providers without 16 to 19 funding) and advanced learner loans allocation statements for the 2020 to 2021 funding year are now available on Manage your education and skills funding (MYESF). We will update our 19+ funding allocations page with more information on how allocations have been calculated shortly.
You need one of the following roles on MYESF to view your allocation statement:
- contract authoriser
- contract manager
- contract user
- data returns and claims authoriser
You can request a new role through the Identity and Access Management Service or by asking your organisation’s super user.
6. Information: final qualification achievement rates (QAR) 2018 to 2019
We have published your final QAR 2018 to 2019. All the data is available through:
To access the data, please ensure you have the correct IDAMS user access. Please see the IDAMS user guides for creating access or checking your user permissions.
If you have any questions, please contact us using our online enquiry form.