As previously announced, our main web applications are now using side-based navigation rather than horizontal navigation along the top of the screen.
If your web applications have custom styling, this will no longer work. Please contact us to arrange for this to be updated.
New Missing PMR Audit report.
A new report type, “Missing PMR records”, has been added to the Learner Audit report within Report Switchboard. This report identifies any FM36 apprentices that are funded through a contract of services with the ESFA (ACT = 2) but do not have any employer payment records (PMRs) recorded, where required. This report does not, however, indicate any shortfall in employer contributions.
Web Application Switching
For customers who have multiple PICS web applications, we have extended the capability of application switching to enable more places where you can switch directly to other applications to view a specific record. For example, customers with both eAssessor and eAdmin will find new links on the learner overview page in eAssessor and Learner Details screen in eAdmin to switch directly to the same learner in the other application. Additionally, any popup views of records will provide application switching links to the whatever applications can support viewing that record.
Improvements to Learner data entry
A field to record default ACT type has been added to Organisation records to help users when entering new FM36 Learners.
The feature that prompts users to include aims in the current year export – when they enter very late notified end dates or changes to outcomes for aims already ending in prior years – can now be set to automatically set the value. The setting is ‘Automatically include Aims in current export year when entering End Dates and Outcomes in previous export years’.
The picklist of aims for new ASL Learners was unnecessarily being filtered to Main Aims and has now been corrected.
Improvements to AdHoc Reporting
User Defined Form (UDF) Selection Criteria now allows you to select blank or missing answers.
The Selection Criteria for No reviews of type now also includes a date range to allow you to find Learners with no reviews during a date range.
We’re currently working on a major upgrade to our Hosting servers in order to ensure we keep ahead of demand. To connect to the new hosting infrastructure using Windows 7 or older, you’ll need to ensure your Remote Desktop Client is fully up to date.
Even if your PC is updated regularly you might not have the required update because it is listed as an optional update. If updates are manged by your IT department, we recommend contacting them to ensure you have this installed.
The update in question is KB2592687, which is found in the Optional section of Windows Updates:
This is a two-part update so after the first install is done, and your computer has restarted, you’ll need to go back to optional updates where you should see another version of the same update but with a larger file size: this will need to be installed as well.
We’re still in the final stages of testing so we’re not currently able to give an indication of when they’ll go live, but once we have a date we’ll be sure to communicate that.
Following on from our successful Winter Workshops where GDPR was a hot topic we have now published this guide to how PICS can help you with GDPR
Learner Payments Report Date Filtering
Within the desktop Learner Payments report, there is now a new control labelled “Date Range Applies To”. This control allows the selection of which date column within the output report results will be filtered by. This matches the existing functionality in eAdmin.
PICS Messaging email alerts
Trainees, applicants and Organisation users who receive PICS Messages will now receive an email if configured to do so. The configuration options can be found at: Messages -> Options -> Email Settings.
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.
Following a recent communication from the LRS, several customers have contacted us to ask if we are aware of the forthcoming changes regarding updated URLs and security protocols used by their web service.
We can confirm that we're aware of this change and have already planned a phased approach to it.
The videos from our recent Apprenticeship Reforms webinars are now available online as a free, interactive course. This is a taster of things to come from our training team as we work to improve the training material available to you. This free course gives you the chance to see our recent webinar series if you weren’t able to attend them, or is an ideal opportunity to recap on them if you did.
To access the course you will need to have an account on the Pellcomp Website. Once logged in you can register for the course using the link below.
Our work on the REST service continues, and this time includes improvements to the search functionality for Trainees, Contacts and Employers.
Trainees and Contacts are now searchable by many of their parameters, and also included is the ability to search for Trainee or Contract records that have been created, modified or deleted since a given date.
Head Office has been added as a read/write parameter to Employer, which will allow users of the REST service to view, edit and add an Employer’s head office.
UDFs are now a part of the payload for all major entities, and are available for read and write. To do this, simply add an API Key to questions which you wish to expose in UDF base data. Questions which have an API Key will be added to the payload of relevant entities.
Data Capture of HSS and ACT FAMs
After feedback from customers about the difficulty of setting HSS and ACT FAMs when adding new Component Aims to existing learners, we have made it possible to do this without first saving the Aim. Clicking on the HSS or ACT button while adding the aim will check there are no errors, and where there aren’t any will automatically save the Aim and open the FAM screen.
Several fields have been added to the output of “Additional Income and Expenditure” to provide summary data on PMRs and TNPs. These include:
Following the release of PICS 15.10.007.02 on Tuesday (30th January) you may have experienced a validation error when saving a new Maths or English Functional Skills qualification on a learner’s FM36 record.
Should you be affected, we’ve issued an emergency release of PICS (15.10.007.03) which is available to download in Software Updates, which will change the error to a warning which can be accepted.
The latest PICS release contains lots of new features and improvements, including changes to the Ofsted Reports, Achievement Rates, REST Service and more. The blog post below explains the most important features, and you can of course read the full list of changes in the Release Notes section of our web site.