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User research with private beta ITT providers

Who we spoke to

We spoke to providers participating in the private beta: the National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) and the Best Practice Network (BPN).

Goals of the research

This research aimed to validate the processes we have created for providers to view and manage claims after payment.

We will also gain insight into their service needs in preparation for the public beta.

Key insights

Overarching need for providers

Providers need to be able to view the claims submitted by schools and validate them against their records if they wish.

The process needs to be simple and not add too much administrative burden.

Providers also need clarity on the process to provide evidence when a claim has been selected for post-payment auditing.

Receiving claims data

Providers are happy to receive claims data via a spreadsheet from DfE. Data required includes:

  • school name
  • hours of training claiming for
  • who the claim was submitted by
  • teacher reference number (TRN )
  • mentor name - important as TRN’s are often wrong

This data is required to carry out checks against their records and ensure claims are accurate. However, the DfE does not require this, only if the accredited provider wishes to undertake these checks.

The Claim funding for mentor training service already includes controls and data validation across other services (Publish teacher training courses, Register trainee teachers, Get information about schools, and the Database of Qualified Teachers) before we send the claim to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

When and how often they need to receive information relating to claims

They did not have a preference on how often they needed to receive claims data. However, NIoT told us they needed enough time to check for errors. We advised that this was not a mandatory part of the process but their prerogative. As a result, they suggested that “light touch” checks may only take a couple of weeks.

Providers understand the importance of sampling

They also understand the need to provide evidence. However, their expectation of this process is that the DfE would send them a list of claims, and they would ‘approve them’ based on their records. They feel that providing physical evidence for each claim would be too time-consuming for them.

Emerging user needs

As a provider
I need to know what claims schools have submitted where we are the accredited provider
So that we can cross reference against our records

As a provider
I need relevant information related to a claim
So that we can check the claims against our records and check for potential errors

As a provider
I need the process for providing evidence to be quick and easy
So that it does not create too much administrative burden for us

As a provider
I need to know what claims require evidence from us
So that we can gather the required documents

Key takeaways and next steps

Providers have different processes based on their differing levels of maturity. For example, BPN has been established longer than NIoT, making its processes more streamlined.

NIoT is a new provider that is still in the early stages of implementing its processes. There were also differences in their processes and timeframes, which we need to understand before creating further solutions for providers ahead of the public beta.

Actions and changes made to private beta based on our findings

The Claim funding for mentor training service needs to:

  • clarify with accredited ITT providers that they do not need to check or approve the claims before payment. Based on previous user research and our approved assurance process, we are sending the list for their reference.
  • confirm with providers the number of CSV claim updates they would like to receive whilst the application window is open and the timeline for them to respond, if necessary.
  • clarify the process for accredited ITT providers to provide evidence when we have selected the claim for post-payment auditing.