By Lindy Jones, from the Funding and Allocations Transformation Programme
I have been working as a subject matter expert on a project to improve the experience that providers have of viewing and understanding their adult allocations statements. These statements inform providers about the future funding they will receive for delivering training to learners aged 19 and over. The project is part of our Funding and Allocations Transformation Programme.
Why we started the project
Providers were already accessing their allocations statements through our Manage Your Education and Skills Funding service, but the statements were only available in pdf format. That meant we could not see how people were using them. We wanted to find out if people working in organisations that receive allocations statements from us (such as adult education budget (AEB), advanced learner loan and 16 to 18 traineeships) had needs that weren’t being met.
Our research with users
The team carried out research with providers to find out how they use the current information on their adult allocations statement and to understand what information was needed in the future.
“We built a picture of the different types of users and their differing needs.”
We built a picture of the different types of users and their differing needs. We discovered that some users simply wanted to see their headline figures quickly. Others needed to be able to view information over multiple years, and to understand the detail of how each allocation line was calculated. We needed to develop a solution that satisfied all of these needs.
We used our initial research to help us come up with potential designs for an on-screen allocations statement. Our users gave us feedback on these prototypes so we could refine them. It was a real lightbulb moment when users told us that we had come up with a design that worked for them.
What users can see now
Providers had access to their new format statements, reflecting the allocation of over £1bn of funding, from early March. Now when they log in, they can still see pdfs from previous years, but they can also see their new format adult allocations statements for 2019/2020 as well. These new statements can be viewed on screen or downloaded.
“The new style allocations statements have been really well received.”
Users told us there was too much information on their statements, so we removed the explanation that we used to include on the pdf statements and instead placed this technical guidance on gov.uk. For extra clarification we also published calculators on gov.uk so that users can see exactly how we calculated their allocations.
The new style allocations statements have been really well received. I am looking forward to continuing to work with colleagues on improving user experiences of the funding and allocations service in the future.