What is ILR data and how should it be returned?

ILR data is a major part of apprenticeship delivery, funding and compliance.

What is ILR data and how should it be returned?

ILR data has to be collected and returned to the ESFA every month. It’s a major part of apprenticeship delivery, funding and compliance – and it’s a major pain point for many providers.

Read this guide to find out exactly what ILR data is, how to maintain accurate data, and the best way to submit your data each month.

What is ILR data?

ILR stands for ‘individual learner record’ and is the primary data collection for further education and work-based learning in England.

ILR data is made up of loads of different types of information – from personal details to actual off-the-job hours. Each month, providers have to submit ILR data for all their learners in order to claim funding from the ESFA. When the provider submits ILR data for an individual learner, the ESFA checks that everything is correct, and sends funding to the provider to pay for the training they’ve delivered to that individual learner.

How is ILR data sent to the ESFA?

The process of submitting ILR data is actually quite simple, you just need to make sure ILR data is correct and complete for all your learners on a monthly basis. This is the tricky bit. Unfortunately, there are many possible errors that could occur in ILR data – from simple things like incorrect date formats to complex validation checks between data fields. If errors are found, the ESFA will return the ILR data so you can correct it. You don’t have long to make the corrections and resubmit the data. If you don’t resubmit the data in time, there may be a delay in your funding. This is a major issue for many providers who rely on the ESFA for funding, cashflow and compliance.

Most training providers use a management information system (MIS) to record information about their learners, and submit the data to the ESFA from there.

The ESFA also provide a free learner entry tool to submit ILR data for up to 500 learners. The tool is pretty basic, but it’s a good place to start if you only have a few learners.

What are the common pitfalls providers encounter with ILR data?

The most common errors are usually easy to resolve – you just need a tool that’ll help you find and correct them quickly. Again, the ESFA does provide a Funding Information System (FIS) to help providers check each ILR file before it’s submitted. However, the FIS isn’t an online tool, so it may not find all the up-to-date errors and you may still have errors when you submit your actual ILR data – which isn't ideal.

How to record, check and submit accurate ILR data

The best way to record and submit accurate ILR data is using a live system that integrates with your on-programme learning management system. This way, up-to-date data will be automatically shared between the platforms, so you don't have to copy information across.

If your system also has an error checker, this will make your ILR submissions more efficient. You’ll be able to see any red flags and make the changes before you submit data to the ESFA – reducing any delays in funding.

At OneFile, we’ve developed an ILR tool that shares data from across the OneFile platform – making your ILR submissions as simple as possible.

To find out more about it or to book a demo with a member of our team, click the big blue button!

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.