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.
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.
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’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 email@example.com 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.
The latest version of PICS 15.20 is now available, and all customers who submit ILR returns will need to ensure they’re on 15.20 before they’ll be able to generate an R01 file. If you’ve already updated to PICS 15.20, we’d still advise that you update to this latest version.
If your software and data is hosted by us, automatic updates will resume this evening, so all hosted customers will get this latest version whether they’re already on PICS 15.20 or not. This only applies to Skills Hosting – DWP Hosting has a very different update process.
Remember that between now and 18th October you’ll need to be submitting two ILR exports, one for 2017/18 and one for 2018/19. R01 is open now for your first 2018/19 export, and R13 opens on 3rd September for any 2017/18 updates you need to submit.
If you’d like to know more about using PICS for cross-year working, please see our ILR Year-end Processes help page.
For Surveys, User Defined Forms (UDFs) and Form Capture Application (FCA) forms, there are several answer types that require a set of predefined answers to be set when designing the form. For FCA and UDFs it was possible to format the answer in such a way that a behind the scenes code would be selected, but a human friendly description could be shown to the users.
It is now possible to simply enter the code and the description for each answer into a dedicated input box when designing your forms, and we have extended this support for Surveys too.
Don’t worry if you haven’t been using the Code and Description format for your forms, existing answers will continue to work, and there is no need to start adding codes if you don’t want to for your new forms, you can simply leave the code box blank.
Please note: This post only applies to customers whose software and data are hosted by Pellcomp. If you host your own copy of PICS, you should update your software as normal using software updates.
The version of PICS for the 2018/19 contract year, PICS 15.20, should be released on the afternoon of August 14th. As a user of PICS Hosting, you’re used to having your software updates done for you automatically but between now and 29th August these automatic updates will be disabled. The purpose of this is to allow you to decide when will be the best time for your business to make the update to PICS 15.20.
If you use our web applications (such as eAssessor, eTutor, etc.) or Scheduled Reports, you should email us via firstname.lastname@example.org when you want to update so we can schedule this overnight when these systems aren’t in use. If you try to update while these are running, there’s a very high likelihood that your update will fail and you won’t then be able to use PICS without further intervention.
For those that don’t have web applications or Scheduled Reports, once you’re ready to update to the new version you’ll need to do so by manually running Software Updates. For many of you, this will be an unfamiliar process but it’s very simple and the steps required are detailed below:
Ensure no one else is running PICS at your company
At the PICS logon screen, not the Hosting website logon, go to the Tools menu and select Software Updates
“Update from Network Update Repository” should be selected – do not change this
Click on the ‘Next’ button to check for updates
If updates are available, they will be listed on the screen
Click ‘Next’ again to start installing
You should now receive a message saying updates have installed
Click OK to return to the logon screen
Automatic updates will resume once you’ve updated to 15.20. If you don’t update, this will happen automatically on the evening of 29th August.
Note: Having updated your software, when you first log in to PICS the 15.20 data upgrade and migration will start, and this could take anything from 20 to 45 minutes. Do not attempt to stop the upgrade process or you could corrupt your data.
If you need further guidance, or encounter any issues, please contact the Support team via email@example.com or call us on 01603 492620.
Customers accessing their own or Pellcomp hosted copies of PICS using the Windows 10 Remote Desktop client may be experiencing problems with pop-up windows failing to appear until you click away from PICS and then back again.
The issue originated with Windows 10 – 1803 (April 2018 Update). Earlier this week Microsoft released hotfix KB4284848 which …
“Addresses issues with the Remote Desktop client in which pop-up windows and drop-down menus don’t appear and right-clicking doesn’t work properly. These issues occur when using remote applications.”
More details about the patch and how to aquire it can be found on the Microsoft website
Users of PelControl who have updated today (Wednesday 6th June) and are trying to do a join may receive an error stating that “Some dataset(s) contains unknown patch(es)” and referencing patch DS1805_C. An emergency update has been released to fix this, so please run Software Updates. If you use our hosting service, your software has now been updated accordingly.