We are excited to announce our first ever online workshop event, consisting of a day packed full of PICSWeb content. Whether you have already been using PICSWeb for your delivery, are looking to make the most of your transition from desktop, or have yet to start using the new software, these sessions will provide useful guidance on the new possibilities afforded by the next generation of the PICS Learner Management System.
Following months of development and customer feedback, we are excited to announce that PICSWeb is in the final stages of its journey to offering the full functionality of desktop PICS. We are now ready to begin making the transition from the desktop software and associated web apps to the single cloud-based PICSWeb system. This post outlines the provisional timeline for the changeover.
PICSWeb, our new, modern, web-based interface for PICS, is being constantly updated with new features, released on an eight-week cycle. This post runs through the key updates from the most recent cycle.
Improvements to Reporting
We have been adding new report templates and other improvements to the reporting service in PICSWeb, bringing it closer to offering the full report functionality available in the desktop version. The following report templates are now available:
Vacancy Report – This produces a list of vacancies that match the specified criteria.
Vacancy Application Report – This produces a list of vacancy applications that match the specified criteria.
Learner Validation Report – This report validates all learner records and produces a list of validation errors. We recommend that you set this up as a scheduled report, so that errors are flagged as soon as possible.
For reports on learner data, such as qualifications, payments and reviews, additional filtering options have been added to restrict which learner records are included.
As well as these, users with a licence that covers Scheduled Reports are now able to send reports to other Users or Teams once they have been generated.
Improvements to New Learner Data Capture
The process to create a new learner has been expanded to allow for more data capture before the record is created. This takes the form of a three-stage process, with the first window capturing basic personal details:
The second window is divided into four tabs, covering ProgrammeDetails, Apprenticeship Costs, Employment Status and Learner Details.
In the final window you can link the necessary Officers to the learner in various roles. Any User Defined Fields for the learner will also be available to complete.
Importing Reports from the Recruit an Apprentice Service
It is possible to import the Candidates with Applications report from the ESFA Recruit an Apprentice service into PICSWeb. Importing the report will create the necessary Applicant, Organisation, Vacancy and Vacancy Application records populated with report data.
To import a Candidates with Applications report, go to the Imports page and select Upload from the top-right corner.
In the upload window, choose Recruit an Apprentice – Candidates with Applications from the Import Type field and upload the file into the File field. Select Upload to finish.
Any new records created from the import will be given a custom tag to identify them. You will be informed of any new records and the tag name once the upload is complete.
You will also be taken to the Vacancy Applications list, filtered to show only tagged applications, once the upload has finished.
Improvements to Configuration
As we add more features to the configuration available in PICSWeb, we have rearranged the configuration section of the side menu into four sub-sections:
Delivery – In this section, you can set up and maintain qualification plans, workflows and other aspects of your programme delivery.
Lists and Types – In this section, you can manage the different ways of classifying and ordering your PICSWeb data, including tags, relationship types and document templates.
Forms – In this section, you can build and edit the variety of custom forms available in PICSWeb. These forms can be used for onboarding, reviews and more.
Users and Access – In this section, you can set up your PICSWeb users and control the access restrictions for individual users and teams. You can also manage the site structure that controls access to different data records.
We have also added Contracts, Qualification Plans, Qualifications and Units to the delivery section. This means that you can now set up and maintain your qualification delivery from PICSWeb without having to visit desktop PICS.
High Contrast Display Options
If you require a higher-contrast display in PICSWeb, this can now be configured from your User Profile.
If this option is switched off, the normal display is used:
If this option is switched on, the high-contrast display is used:
The Sites list now displays site hierarchies.
When creating a new record, you will be informed if a potential duplicate record already exists in PICSWeb.
Export Options are now available for all ILR aims.
You can now add qualifications from the Delivery Plan for non-ILR learners.
User Defined Fields can now be included in your report outputs.
Report Keywords are now included in the report template search.
A new configuration option has been added to organise your PICSWeb users into Teams. Users can be added to multiple teams. Currently, teams are used for report distribution, as explained above.
Microsoft are withdrawing the internet service which Pellcomp uses for multi-factor phone call authentication on September 30th 2020. As an alternative, Pellcomp have enabled the SMS authentication method which can be used instead of phone calls.
If you are currently using a desk phone which does not support SMS then you will no longer be able to use that device for multi-factor authentication after September 30th. To help identify issues prior to the cut-off date, Pellcomp will restrict all hosted users to SMS from Monday 21st September. This change can be reverted on a per user basis until the final deadline of September 30th 2020. If you encounter issues, please email email@example.com
Known PICS issues (we’ll keep this section updated throughout submission):
We get a lot of enquiries about this Rule Violation at year-end as customers try to clear all their errors and warnings. Often though, this one can’t be cleared.
This warning will be triggered any time there is a Funding and Monitoring code (possibly just ACT FAM) where the ‘Applies to’ date is later than the (Programme Aim’s) Learning Planned End date.
If a learner has been in learning past their programme Planned End Date, in order to complete one of their aims which has run on longer, you will be required to extend the ACT FAM date range to encompass the late aim’s Actual End date. Extending the ACT FAM date range (and Learning Actual End) in this way means that the ‘Applies to’ date will, out of necessity, now go past the programme Planned End Date. This is to be expected, because the learner was truly in training past that point. However, in virtually any other situation, having an ACT FAM dated to beyond the Planned End Date wouldn’t make sense, hence why this warning exists.
16:45 Update: We're pleased to report that all live databases (not sandboxes as yet) are now back online and available for use. If you notice any issues, please report them immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org