“This is the next update from the SIA about the new licensing system. It follows on from the briefing sent last week (shown below), so we will try to keep the repetition to a minimum.
“As you are already aware we are working hard to deal with the higher than expected number of customer messages that we are currently receiving. We’ve identified that a large number of messages involve applications that we cannot progress because:
- payment is still outstanding or,
- the instruction asking people to attend the Post Office and then send us relevant documents has not been followed.
“If you receive a message with instructions, please make sure that you complete all the required actions within the letter before raising a query with us. Thank you.
- What progress have we been able to make in a week?
- We have brought more staff in to the organisation to increase our capacity to deal with client enquiries.
- Our suppliers have released a number of fixes into the system.
- We have identified a large number of applications that we hope to move forward shortly.
- We have installed new equipment into our document handling centre.
- We have a number of videos and walk-through charts that are designed to help guide applicants and businesses through the application process.
- We will also clarify the position of the LDNs for ACS businesses.
“Last update we stated that we had taken on new staff who were already making a difference. Further staff joined us this week and we are expecting more to join next week too. One of the problems that we experience is that SIA staff must have current security clearance. The SIA handles sensitive information about people including their criminal records, identity details and even medical details in some cases. This stops us from just going to an agency and recruiting the next available person.
“The system developers released a further package of fixes this week. We always test the fixes in advance, but it’s impossible to tell from the test whether they will work as planned in the full system. The issues addressed include: linking qualifications to applications; certain payment issues; removing duplicated requests for documents. We are aware that these fixes will not help everyone, but the developer has committed to providing greater capacity to work on other outstanding fixes.
“When fixes are installed they usually only work for applications after that date, they do not usually change the position for current applications. This means that when the fix has been installed, we have to go into the existing records and change each one manually in order for the fix to work. This week we have been able to identify a large number of applications that have been held up waiting for certain fixes to be applied. We are working hard to move these applications via manual intervention from Next Steps to Checks in Progress.
“When documents are received at the SIA we check them and scan them onto our system. Documents are currently taking up to 18 working days to be sent back which is much longer than the five days we would expect when the system is working properly. To help with this we’ve given our document handling staff a new, higher capacity scanner which will help them work through the documents we receive.
“The videos that are designed to help businesses are available here:
“The walk-through charts for individual applicants are available for people when they enter the application process. You can view them here:
“We outlined some changes to the LDN system last week. This is a recap of the current situation:
“LDNs can only be issued by businesses in our Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) to individuals deployed by them. They allow licence applicants to work in licensable sectors the business is ACS approved and before they receive their new licence.
“Previously, a ten-week LDN could be issued when an employee’s licence application had reached Next Steps. However, it would only be valid for five weeks at the Next Steps level, by which time the expectation was that applicants would have moved on to Checks in Progress. LDNs will now be valid for the whole ten weeks whether the application is in Next Steps or Checks in Progress.
“In addition, ACS businesses may now deploy up to 20% of their workforce engaged in licensable activities for the sectors they are ACS approved whilst they are on a LDN. These temporary measures will be reviewed periodically and we will make a further announcement to confirm when they will end.
“Businesses are reminded that if a second LDN for an individual becomes necessary, they should contact the SIA for permission to issue it”.