Top Tips for Painless ILR Submission

We appreciate the end of academic year is often a very busy time for everyone. To help you prepare for final submission and ensure the process is as smooth as possible, we have put together our 'top tips' to help you get through it, pain-free.

Bud's Top Tips:

Implement a data freeze

We recommend a data freeze 3-5 days ahead of close, ensure all staff are aware of the date well in advance. This time allows you to test your ILR submission and resolve any issues ahead of the deadline without having to deal with constantly changing data.

Regularly test

You should regularly test for errors to make sure your data is correct and won't cause problems when it comes to submission. You can use the FIS tool to check for errors - more information on downloading this can be found in this article.

Consider a diary reminder to test and resolve errors on a regular basis, it's much easier to deal with issues as they come up.

Solving common problems

The ESFA publish regular updates which includes details of common data errors to help you to identify and correct them.  If you have an error that is not detailed here you will be able to search for it using the latest ILR Specification validation rules to help you rectify it.  These are also published on the same updates page.

Use the available resources

To find helpful links and articles from the ESFA, have a read of our Knowledgebase article - ESFA Guidance. These articles will be useful in preparing for the end of the academic year submission, as well as keeping you up to date with the latest rules and updates.

The ESFA also has a Help Centre - here you can read their self-serve help articles, talk with other providers about current topics, and submit queries to the ESFA support team directly.

Contact Bud Support

If you’re still stuck, we may be able to help. Please ensure you contact us well ahead of the deadline, if you ask us to help only hours before the deadline, we may struggle to respond to you in time (see our SLAs for more info). 

Please remember, Bud's advice is based purely on experience and in no way should be treated as formal advice, which can only come from the ESFA.


Bud can help only in circumstances where you think the issue is with Bud incorrectly conflicting with the ESFA. In these circumstances we need to understand why you think there is a problem so we can investigate it for you.


When contacting our support team, please provide as much detail as possible, we require at a minimum:

  1. The full error message and what steps you've taken to check your data in Bud is correct
  2. Include the specific ESFA rules that the Bud conflicts with so we can investigate the conflict

Our support team will ask for additional information if you contact us to say you have an error, without any additional context.


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