Customers who use our LRS web service may receive an email from the LRS asking them to update their security certificate. For details on how to perform the update, please see our guidance on How to update your LRS web service certificate.
We are pleased to announce the release of our new online course, PICS AdHoc Reporting. The content of this course includes a detailed introduction of how AdHoc works, along with how to get the most out of your bespoke reporting in PICS by producing both spreadsheet and interactive pivot table outputs.
The course includes a series of lessons using videos, documentation, and other resources to support your learning experience. Each registration on the course lasts for 3 months, giving you plenty of time to make full use of the content.
Please be aware that there could be some disruption to our phone service on Tuesday 18th June, as our current system is due to be replaced on that day. We’ve been advised that any disruption should be very minor, but we wanted to forewarn you.
Our key phone numbers will remain the same but you may notice differences in the way that your calls are handled. And yes, we’ll finally have on-hold music!
A further reminder will be issued on Monday 17th June.
In the last week, two of our customers have lost their PICS data without a backup to recover from – one from a server crash and one from a cyber-attack. The help we can offer to customers in these situations is limited if there are no data backups to work with. It is critical that you take precautions to protect your data; at a minimum, customers who host PICS themselves should be taking regular backups and ensuring these are stored offsite, outside your network. If you use an external IT company to manage your systems, you must ensure that they are taking regular backups for you.
If you’d rather entrust us to look after your software and data, you may want to consider moving to our Hosting platform where we take care of backups and software updates for you in an environment that’s covered by a wide range of cyber security assurances. We are accredited to ISO 27001, hold Cyber Essentials Plus and have full Disaster Recovery policies in place, including daily backups stored in separate, secure datacentres. Call us on 01603 215000 or email email@example.com if you’d like to know more about Hosting.
The next release of PICS will be on the afternoon of Thursday 4th April, which is a departure from our usual Tuesday afternoon slot (every other week). We’ve decided to delay the release a little to avoid a clash with the ILR submission window as this release contains a significant patch and this may interrupt your workflow. If your updates are performed by an IT team or 3rd-party support, please make them aware of the change in schedule.
If your software is hosted on our servers, then it’ll be updated overnight on Thursday. If your software is on your own network, it’s up to you when you update.
We are pleased to announce that on April 10th we will be running another new, extended webinar to cover the functionality and features of the PICS AdHoc reporting facility. The content will include a detailed introduction of how AdHoc works, along with how to get the most out of your bespoke reporting in PICS by producing both spreadsheet and interactive pivot table outputs. This webinar is suitable for those who have experience of working with PICS, who would like to develop or improve their knowledge and use of AdHoc reporting.
As announced last week in the Chancellor’s Spring statement, the employer contribution for apprenticeships will be reduced to 5% for new starts from 1st April onward. Whilst the move had previously been announced in the Chancellor’s Budget, no implementation date had been set.
In response to this surprise announcement, we have adjusted both our validation and funding calculations, and version 15.20.008.01 of PICS will include these changes.
We’ve been advised by BKSB that they will soon require a password to be supplied when connecting to the BKSB Databridge. Prior to this change the password was optional, and as such not many people have one set. If you use the Databridge and don’t have a password set, you’ll need to do this soon or the Databridge will stop working.
Please note: although this is referred to as a password, it’s more of a shared key rather than a specific password. We recommend you use a GUID generator.
Steps to take if your software is hosted by us:
If you use our Hosting service, please email us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set the shared key for you and send over details of what needs to be done in the BKSB admin portal.
Steps to take if your software is installed on your own infrastructure:
There are two steps that need to be taken – firstly you need to add the shared key to your settings file within the BKSB Databridge application directory on your web server, and then you also need to add the shared key to the settings area of the BKSB admin portal. Our guide to Setting up the BKSB Interface covers all the steps but do get in touch if you’re having difficulties.