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Dear Principal

ILR funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Funding data reconciliation exercise

1. This circular letter notifies colleges of the start of the ILR funding and monitoring data 2012-13 funding data reconciliation exercise. This exercise compares the data returned to the Data Service with Higher Education in Further Education Students survey (HEIFES) data submitted to HEFCE. A response may be required.

2. A formal response to this exercise is required only from colleges that are selected due to meeting any of the selection criteria in Annex A. There will be two phases of selection:

  • selection in May 2014
  • selection in autumn 2014. 

Selection in May 2014

3. On Friday 16 May we will e-mail all HEIFES contacts to advise them whether their college has been selected for this exercise in May or deferred from selection. We will also write to and e-mail the heads of those colleges selected for the exercise. We will ensure receipt of the e-mail and letter for selected colleges by phoning the HEIFES contact by Friday 23 May.

Selection in autumn 2014

4. As described in ‘ILR funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Funding summaries and request for updates to completion status data’ (HEFCE Circular letter 09/2014), we are asking colleges to provide updates to completion status information. The deadline for the Completion Status Survey (CSS) return is Friday 27 June. Any updates to completion status data may result in the selection for this exercise of colleges not initially selected in May. (In the case of colleges that do not respond to the CSS, we will assume that all students with an undetermined completion status (FUNDCOMP=3) are non-completions.) Where we believe that a college may have been initially selected for this exercise solely because of the non‑inclusion of updated completion status data, we have deferred consideration of its selection until after receipt of the CSS.

5. For the majority of colleges therefore, we will not be able to determine selection for the exercise definitively until later in the year. If, on receipt and incorporation of data from CSS returns into the HEIFES12 re‑creations, we establish that a college meets any of the selection criteria in Annex A, we will ask it to make a formal response to this exercise in autumn 2014. In the autumn, following completion of the CSS, we expect to contact all colleges not already selected in May to notify them of whether or not they have been selected.

General information

6. We encourage all colleges to review the reconciliation outputs that accompany this exercise (see paragraph 10 for further information), as this is an essential element of all colleges’ data quality processes. The outputs will help colleges to: 

  • identify discrepancies between forecasts in 2012-13 HEIFES data (HEIFES12) and the outturn position for 2012-13
  • identify errors in HEIFES12.

7. Our funding allocations (including the setting and monitoring of student number controls) are informed by the data provided by colleges. If we find, either through reconciliations with Skills Funding Agency or other organisations’ data, or any data audit, that erroneous data have resulted in colleges receiving incorrect funding allocations, we will adjust their funding accordingly (subject to any appeals process that may apply and the availability of our funds).

8. Therefore, where discrepancies occur between HEIFES12 and the outturn position for 2012-13, and these discrepancies exceed any of the selection thresholds listed in Annex A, we will request a formal response to this exercise. This response, in the form of an action plan, should explain all material differences between HEIFES12 and the re-creation from ILR student data of HEIFES12 (the HEIFES12 re-creation).

9. Any funding adjustments arising from the reconciliations of HEIFES12 with the HEIFES12 re-creation are likely to affect the funding previously announced for 2012-13 and all subsequent years.

ILR funding and monitoring data 2012-13: funding data reconciliation exercise outputs

10. The 2012-13 exercise is accompanied by the HEIFES12 re-creation output. The algorithms used to generate the HEIFES12 re-creation are broadly the same as those used for the ‘Individualised Learner Record funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Web facility’ (HEFCE Circular letter 23/2013). However, we have made some minor changes where we believe improvements are appropriate.

Further information

11. The ‘Funding data reconciliations’ area on the HEFCE web-site provides further detail regarding the reconciliation exercise.

12. The set of tables that accompanies this exercise can be downloaded from the ‘ILR funding and monitoring data (FAMD) 2012-13: Outputs’ location on the HEFCE extranet. The relevant group key was posted to heads of colleges and HEIFES contacts on 27 March 2014 (this accompanied the release of HEFCE Circular letter 09/2014).

13. Further guidance about the reconciliation outputs is available in the funding and monitoring area of our web-site. Some areas that may be of interest are as follows.

  1. Extranet locations, deadlines and documentation, including technical information (such as algorithms and problems of fit), can be found in the ‘2012-13 funding and monitoring data overview’.
  2. Information on how to obtain data from the HEFCE extranet can be found in the ‘How to access outputs’ guide.
  3. Guidance on how to submit an action plan in response to this exercise can be found in the ‘HEIFES re-creation action plan’ guide.

14. Colleges are reminded that the individualised data made available through this exercise are covered by the Data Protection Act. These data are only accessible to someone holding the HEFCE extranet key which we have provided to heads of college and HEIFES contacts for colleges. Colleges should ensure that the extranet key is not passed to anyone without a legitimate reason to access the individualised data.

15. For further information or guidance please contact Alastair Kendall (tel 0117 931 7184, e-mail ilr_heifes_stats@hefce.ac.uk).

Yours sincerely

Professor Madeleine Atkins

Chief Executive

Date: 16 May 2014

Ref: Circular letter 13/2014

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Planning, Finance, Audit 

Enquiries should be directed to:

Alastair Kendall, tel 0117 931 7184, e-mail ilr_heifes_stats@hefce.ac.uk