Spaces on the webinar are limited but we will be making the webinar available afterwards. Time is also limited so we may not be able to answer all questions, but please do ask and we will do our best to get through as many of them as possible.
In a couple of weeks’ time, we’ll be releasing a significant visual change to the navigation of our web applications. Currently a lot of the main navigation is across the top of the page, which causes limitations as our applications grow and we need to add extra navigational elements. To address this, we’ll soon be changing all our web applications to have the main navigation going down the left-hand side of the page.
We’re also taking this opportunity to ensure the main navigation is consistent across our range of web applications in order to benefit those who use more than one.
Although these changes will bring benefits, we’re conscious that any change can cause additional burden on day-to-day working or result in additional work to update training material. To minimise this, we’re giving you advance warning of the change going out in the week commencing 12th March. If your require further information in order to update your internal documentation before the release date, please contact us.
As the start of the new contract year approaches you may well be looking at generating Employer Statements again and PICS has the capability to assist you with these.
Due to the future prediction of the funding needed in this statement, the initial calculations are done in the PICS SFA/EFA Profile Manager. To create the correct values for the 2016/17 contract year make sure you select the 2016/17 year in the drop down in the Profile Manager. Once in the correct year go to the ‘Additional’ menu and select ‘Write Govt Contributions’:
We have a further mix of PICS Training Events and Webinars coming up throughout the Summer and Autumn. Starting with 2 identical free webinars on the Change of Contract Year (August 10th & August 17th) where we will primarily be discussing what you as providers need to do in PICS to prepare for the year end process. We will also be covering any changes to the 2016/17 ILR Form and their impact in PICS.
Following these is the launch of our brand new financial events, one aimed at PICS Administrators (in Manchester and London) and the other aimed at PICS Managers (also in Manchester or London). These are available to book individually, but book both events together for a special price of £300 (+VAT) when booked for the same venue. Also at the end of September there are webinars on PICS Data Exchange and PICS Tricks and Tips. Full details and how to book can be found in the events on our website.
It’s almost that time of year again, so we thought we’d let you know about changes to our normal opening hours.
From noon on Friday 4th December we will be closed for our Christmas meal. We almost always have this on the first Friday in December and unfortunately this year that has fallen on the last day of submission, so please try to make sure you get your export done early so we are there to help in the event of any issues. The hub should be open for the R04 on Monday 23rd November.
As usual we will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period. Our last day at work is Thursday 24th December where we will close at 12:30. We will be open as normal on Monday 4th January at 9:00. Again you can get ahead of the submission deadline to spot any issues early, the Hub should open for R05 on Thursday 17th December.
Summary of Christmas closures:
Closed on Friday 4th December from 12:00 onwards
Closed from Thursday 24th December from 12:30 until Monday 4th January at 9:00
We released the March edition of our Newsletter last week. If you didn’t receive our latest newsletter you can view it on-line. Make sure you don’t miss out on future newsletters by signing up yourself.
As you may have seen from our recent product launch PICS now has a sophisticated web based reporting suite; eDashboard. One of the most exciting features of eDashboard is the User Defined Widget a highly flexible link to PICS’s powerful AdHoc reports.
What it does
The User Defined Widget helps to report on any data structures in PICS and to display it in an attractive, graphical way. It does this by leveraging AdHoc with our Reports Scheduler to regularly bring your chosen data into eDashboard. The system retains the familiarity of PICS, making it easy to get used to.
How it works
Getting eDashboard to report on scheduled data is simple. You just need to generate a report with the necessary eDashboard output style. This means making AdHoc express files immediately available in eDashboard is easy, and intuitive.
We are currently offering comprehensive online training to purchasers of eDashboard, at no extra charge. To take advantage of this offer please order the module before Christmas. If eDashboard can benefit your organisation and you would like some more information please call 01603 215000 or email email@example.com.
Finally, if you are an existing eDashboard user and you require any help or assistance, please feel free to contact our support team by emailing, firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01603 492620.
The data service has announced the opening of the hub and the OLDC for the period 5 submission. See Update 188 point 2 for their release information. Although it seems that the submission to the OLDC will be the information used, you are required to submit to both. The FIS beta has also been withdrawn. With all these changes we strongly recommend that you try to submit before Christmas so any issues with your submission can start to get sorted before the new year rush.
There has been a helpful page published by the Skills Funding Agency, which answers some common queries all in one place. A lot of this information has been updated on 16th Dec so is worth checking through.
You may have seen some reports from the Data Service saying that numbers of learners exported in the ILR are lower than they expected. We’ve seen one or two cases in our providers’ data where learners aren’t being exported: these seem mostly to come about because of late-entered learners, who were put into the system after PICS had rolled the data forward for the new year, though there are other possible reasons. Now, if learners aren’t in the export file, you won’t get paid for them; and if they’re not in the LR06 export, they won’t be used by the SFA and the EFA when they work on your 2013/14 funding allocations.
For SFA formula funded learners, the easiest way of checking this is to create an export file, feed this into the LIS, and run a LIS reconciliation. If this shows a number of learners in PICS not the LIS which are not shown as LIS errors, look at the Region column in the report: if the values here don’t refer to the SFA region that you expect, then please contact our support team. We’d hate you to lose out on your funding.
Windows 8 is being released next week and we’ve already started testing PICS on it. So far we’re very happy with both the performance and stability of PICS on this latest version. We’ll be putting some screenshots up on our Facebook page very soon too, so you can see how it looks.
Windows 8 will be available in two flavours. We want to take this opportunity to give you a quick notice that PICS will NOT run on the version called Windows RT.
Windows RT is designed for a different type of computer to the one you currently use PICS for, and is likely to only ever be used by tablet and maybe some laptops. Although these two types of Windows 8 have a lot of commonality in the visual department, they are completely different “under the hood”. This means that PICS simply will not be compatible with the RT version. That’s not to say that at some time in the future, we won’t design apps specifically for Windows RT that integrate with PICS back in the office, just as we currently are for Android mobile devices. Any ideas about what these Apps should do?