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Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Target Support Working Group 24 June 2008 David Barrett.

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Presentation on theme: "Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Target Support Working Group 24 June 2008 David Barrett."— Presentation transcript:

1 Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Target Support Working Group 24 June 2008 David Barrett

2 Our Aim: To provide high quality information, advice and guidance to meet customers’ needs, in the most cost effective way. Our Commitment: To ensure that no-one is deterred from entering HE for lack of being able to access the help they need to understand what they are entitled to and how to apply for it. Our Objectives: Provide coherent and consistent IAG to address the issues identified in the end to end review: the confusion of information sources, and the patchy availability and inconsistent quality of local IAG currently offered by local authorities. Provide an IAG service which is flexible enough to meet the varied and changing needs and growing expectation of our customers. Ensure that the loss of local authority student finance team does not create real gaps in service for customers. Provide a service that meets customers’ needs in the most efficient and effective way.

3 Customer Engagement Research was required among three vulnerable groups to recommend: –The timing, type and amount of assistance that each group needs before, during and after application for student finance –How the application process could be simplified for each group The three key groups were identified as: –Students claiming Disabled Students Allowance (referred to as DSAs) –Students in lower income families (under £37.5k household income pa) with parents who have difficulties understanding written English (referred to as SNESPs) –Students claiming Childcare Grant (referred to as CCGs) Specifically the research was designed to: –Understand and evaluate the range of sources for information and for support –Understand when these sources and support were used –Explore the barriers or difficulties experienced throughout the student finance application cycle and how they were overcome –Assess the impact of student finance applications having to be made by telephone or online

4 Information and Support Before Applying ISSUE RECOMMENDATIONS DSACCGSNESPALL Information source Support agencies From university before and during enrolment Share information with UCAS From university before and during enrolment Accessible internet information Peer group importantWebsite Smaller guides and shorter notes Schools and colleges Social networking Information content How the application process works is more important Reconsider language used Targeted at more mature students Guide about likely award amount before applying Local language guides about parental role Application process Face-to-face support Being provided by schools, colleges, support agencies and universities Knowledgeable telephone line probably enough Being provided by schools, colleges and peers Not essential

5 How to apply ISSUE RECOMMENDATIONS DSACCGSNESPALL Application timing DSA at the same time as other finance (if system efficient) but could be any time Want to know about entitlements by June/ July CCG at same time as other finance Supporting booklets for parents explaining why they need to apply and what they need to supply Swift response Application method As streamlined as possible but online good Some concerns but online OK Some concerns but online OK for students. Access to a PC a small concern but accept online Completing online Ensure web application accessible Needs good back-up support Generally more convenient for them Some parents very reluctant so will want to complete their bit on paper or the student to do it for them Show that it can save time and is secure Have clearer help, tutorials, option to call/ chat Reassure about query resolution Review usability Face-to-face support Many would be OK with good telephone support Highly desirable for a few and particularly for those on benefits Some local language sessions but local language telephone support for parents likely to be enough

6 Information and Support after the Application ISSUE RECOMMENDATIONS DSACCGSNESPALL Sharing details Emphasise confidentialityExplain that not about checking their credit Mature students need more persuasion Parents need greater reassurance Speeding up the application process is attractive Authorisation needs clear info on usage Information content Particularly interested in next steps of their application Very helpful to see how award is broken down Need to know more about progress and approx timings Knowing how much they will get and when is the key info Clearer information on repayment Resolving problems Appear to suffer most problems and need to be resolved much more quickly Use face-to-face support through universities and carers Students previously on income support need more help but tend to have fewer problems Parental evidence section needs to be clearer Needs to be quicker and a lot more efficient

7 IAG Central Service The new central student finance service will: Reduce the need for IAG services –By making the whole process simpler, smoother and easier for customers. –Application forms will be simplified and therefore less complex to complete Provide a trusted authoritative central IAG service –Controlling both the spread and quality of the student finance information –Much improved help on the web –Single authoritative telephone help-line Provide a high level of support to local IAG services –Student finance messaging will be delivered through increased collaborative working with established partner organisations Provide face to face support –Develop and put in a delivery structure to meet customers needs

8 Access and Extra Support The majority of customer, including those regarded as having special needs, will have their requirements met by the web and telephone service. Evidence shows that only 19% of students and 11% of parents seek any face to face assistance. We do however, anticipate that a small minority will continue to need additional face to face help particularly from the following sub groups: disabled students; those who have parents/sponsors for whom English is a second language; people with caring responsibilities; access difficulties; lower income background

9 Traditional HE students and sponsors Non-traditional students and sponsors Employed and mature students Targeted support DSA/CCG Looked after children Traditional HE students and sponsors Non-traditional students and sponsors Particular needs Number of Students Scale of Needs HIGH LOW LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3

10 Integrated Delivery Structure For most students any support needs will be delivered by the central processing unit. –General queries –More specialised queries and named adviser support Recognition that there will be a need for face to face support although there will be local variations in both needs and demands. –Already established partner organisation will continue to provide face to face support and will be supplied with relevant material to do so. –Partner organisations will have telephone support from the central unit specifically for them. –12 regional consultants will be established to work with the partner organisations and provide fact face support when all other avenues have been exhausted

11 Contact Operations } Second Level Support Third Level Support

12 Website Will be WAI W3C compliant to the highest level attainable Full approval will be awarded by a third party –Customer can navigate site in manner suited to them –Site structured to assist in use of screen reader if required (incl ability to skip repeated content on each page) –All graphics described in words, to allow screen readers or other asstive technologies to convey the same information –All fonts scalable by user –Where possible large areas of information chopped into smaller sections Accessible pdf forms and booklets

13 Paper Offering Promotional Characters – Jenny & Carla Targeted Support Guidance Books –Bridging The Gap –Childcare Grant & Other Support for Full-Time Student Parents All material available in alternative formats –Braille –Large print –Audio New, easier to complete application forms

14 Face-to-face support for applications - DSA Face-to-face support to fill in the application is considered very important and all have had some face-to-face support from parents, the university disability service, other friends, Student Finance. Emotional or moral support is important as the student may be coming to terms with the disability and anxious about it. They may need reassurance that they are entitled to it and that it won’t affect their academic and employment prospects. They also need help with completing the applications: –The process can seem very complex and the questionnaire very long, so they want someone to help them through it. –The questions can seem very unclear, eg. those with medical or mental health conditions say their symptoms can vary widely from one day to the next –They appear to have many more problems with their applications

15 The Benefits The central service will provide a single trusted and authoritative source of student finance information and advice Schools and colleges will receive a more consistent level of help and support Co-ordination of local services with the central unit Local IAG services will be intensively supported by the central service Establishment of the regional consultants Availability of a referrals service for customers Multiple entry points for customer


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