Those Providers that are awarded contracts will be invited to attend workshops on the following topics:
- Contract management and monitoring
- Data capture systems
- Provider financial assurance - control evaluation questionnaire (CEQ)
- Quality improvement
Each project will be required to submit a regular report to Cumbria LSCi. As a minimum, this will include details of the activity to date, outcomes during the period and cumulative, including details of the payments earned, as well as covering the project-based reporting requirements listed below, even if only to record a nil response. This reporting will trigger financial payments against a profile and will allow the LSC to assess spend on a regular basis. Cumbria LSC will agree with providers a series of monitoring visits to ensure that the agreed profile/delivery plan is on track.
Providers must forward the LSC two types of management information. The LSC uses a number of different data capture systems. Providers are required to submit a range of data regarding the performance of their ESFi project.
All Providers will receive full training on the use of the LSC’s data capture systems and the LSC will provide on-going support as required.
The first is the information that identifies an individual beneficiary, their status, what activity has been provided, a record of attendance and what they have achieved as a result of intervention.
Beneficiary data is collected on either an Individualised Leaner Record (ILR) or a Short Record (SR) and can be submitted to the LSC using one of two methods, Provider On-Line or Provider Batch Capture.
In a number of cases, funding will support delivery to companies as well as individuals, in which case a second type of management information is required of those companies receiving support including:
- De minimis status under state aid
- Company size
- Standard industrial classification
- IiP status
There is not a specialised system for capturing these types of data, although the LSC has a standard template form that can be used to aid providers in capturing the necessary information.
Providers that do not currently have the necessary systems to provide Cumbria LSC with the necessary data, through the POL system must incorporate capacity building costs into the costs set out in the ‘Financial Information’ section of the application form.
The Provider logs onto the LSC’s Providers website, http://firstname.lastname@example.org and inputs ILRs or SRs directly to the LSC’s system. The data is validated on input to prevent invalid learner records being submitted in error.
The computer requirements for this route are as follows – 256Mb RAM, 1 Gb free Hard Disk Space, Pentium III processor or higher, MS Windows 2000 or higher, Broadband Internet connection if available, MS Internet Explorer 5.5 or above.
Provider Batch Capture
If the Provider maintains their own Management Information System, where they store their ILR/SR data, then they can load a file containing all this information onto the LSC’s website in one process. To use this method, the Provider’s software must be capable of producing an extract file, which must meet the LSC’s specification. Once the file is loaded the data will be validated by the LSC system, any errors identified will be notified by an error report, posted back to the Provider's website.
The computer requirements for this route are as follows – Broadband Internet connection, Internet Explorer 5 or higher, 64Mb RAM, Pentium III and Excel 5 or higher.
Co-financingi Monitoring Return
All Providers holding ESF co-financing contracts are required to submit monitoring returns on a monthly basis to confirm progress against the agreed project profiles.
All CMRs must be inputted using Provider On-Line; the Provider logs onto the LSC’s Providers website, http://email@example.com and inputs CMRs directly to the LSC’s system.
The ESF contract will stipulate the outputs, outcomes and milestones to be achieved by the project.
As Providers are paid on the achievement of these performance indicators, it is essential that the evidence of their achievement is auditable by the LSC. It is a requirement of the LSC’s role as a co-financing organisation that all ESF projects are audited.
Any organisation that receives funding through the Learning and Skills Council are subject to review and audit. Such organisations are required to produce audited financial statements in order to ensure that any funds have been used for the purposes agreed. The LSC’s local Provider Financial Assurance (PFA) Team will undertake reviews of the areas mentioned previously, in a manner that is compliant with the national audit framework. Any findings are shared with auditors who have prior experience of assessing ESF programmes. PFA will base their audit plan on risk and materiality analysis.