Help and Guidance

This section provides useful information in submitting ESF participant contact details.

Registering to use this application

All organisations wishing to use this application should email the European Social Fund Evaluations team at esf.evaluations@dwp.gov.uk.

If your access is approved you will be sent an email with a link with your username and a temporary password. Once you login you will be required to create a new password. You will also have the facility to update your password.

How to submit ESF participant details

Participant details can be submitted by uploading a spreadsheet containing participant data to the ESF Contact Details system. The spreadsheet can be used to submit contact details for multiple participants. The field validation requirements for the file upload are very specific and detailed in the validation rules section below.

Confirmation will be provided immediately as to whether the data has passed validation or not.

Template used for file upload

The Contact Details Excel template should be used to generate the PSV (pipe separated value) file that will be uploaded to the Contact Details system. There are macros used to ensure fields on the spreadsheet are in the correct format so enable macros when prompted.

Note, for those providers who have been submitting data via the previous system, nothing really changes in terms of the data required. The PSV spreadsheet is the same as that which has previously been used with all the same content, structure and format.

Instructions on how to use the Excel spreadsheet are contained within the document within the ‘Help’ tab. Also, within the ‘Data’ tab there is further validation information displayed when hovering the mouse over the names of the data columns. A PSV file will not be created unless this spreadsheet validation is followed. After populating all required data in the correct format, a PSV spreadsheet will be created when the ‘Click here to create a psv file’ button is clicked.

Validation rules for fields

Once the upload file is submitted, the data submitted will be validated against the following rules. If there are records within the file which fail validation, the row reference of these records within the file together with a reason for failure will be shown. Note that none of the records with a file that contains errors will be processed. Once all of the errors within a file have been corrected, the file will be processed.

Up to 100 validation errors will be displayed. If there are more than 100 errors within the file, only the first 100 errors will be displayed and it will be up to you to check the rest of the file for repeated errors.

Unique ID
  • Mandatory
  • 100 character restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Title
  • Mandatory
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Forename 1
  • Optional. One of the fields Forename 1 or Surname must be populated
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Forename 2
  • Optional
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Surname
  • Optional. One of the fields Forename 1 or Surname must be populated
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Address lines 1 - 5
  • All address lines are optional
  • 35 character limit
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Postcode
  • Optional
  • No special characters allowed
  • 6 to 8 characters long including single space
  • First part of postcode can be 2, 3, or 4 characters long. Must begin with a letter
  • Second part must be 3 characters long. Must begin with a number. Last 2 characters must be letters
Home telephone
  • Optional
  • Must be numeric
  • May contain a country code
  • May contain spaces
  • No field length restriction
Mobile telephone
  • Optional
  • Must be numeric
  • May contain a country code
  • May contain spaces
  • No field length restriction
Email address
  • Optional
  • No spaces
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
  • NOTE: although individually these fields are optional, one of home telephone, mobile telephone or email address must be supplied
Project ID
  • Mandatory
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Project title
  • Mandatory
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Delivery location
  • Mandatory
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Delivery partner
  • Mandatory
  • No field length restriction
  • No commas (,)
  • No speech marks (")
  • No pipe character (|)
  • All other characters allowed
Provision end date
  • Mandatory
  • Must be in format DD/MM/YYYY
  • Must be a valid calendar date
  • Date cannot be in the future
  • Date cannot be earlier than 01/01/2014
  • No spaces
Naming a file for upload

The filename used must be in a specific format:

  • The filename must begin with 'ESFContactDetails_'
  • The next part should identify your organisation (up to 11 alphanumeric characters or spaces allowed)
  • The next part should be '_Q1_', '_Q2_', '_Q3_' or '_Q4_' depending on what quarter of the year the data relates to
  • Finally, the name should end with the four digit year relevant to the data (e.g. '2019')
  • The file extension should be '.psv'
  • Following characters are not permitted in the filename /\"<>?|*
  • Spaces are only allowed within the organisation name
  • For example, the full file name should look similar to 'ESFContactDetails_CompanyName_Q4_2019.psv'

The format of the file name will be checked when the file is uploaded, and you will be informed if the format is incorrect. If it is incorrect, the file will not be processed and will need to be corrected.

Typical errors when uploading a file

There are a number of ways a file will be rejected by the application when attempting to upload it. All errors will be displayed back to you so that you can identify the problem. It is important that you follow the above process to ensure successful upload of the contact details. Things that may cause a file to fail to upload include (but are not limited to):

  • If the file contains a virus
  • If the file is empty
  • If the file naming convention is not adhered to
  • If the spreadsheet has been altered or adapted in any way (e.g. if an extra column has been added or a column deleted, or if the name of a column has been changed)
  • If the ‘provision end date’ (column S in the spreadsheet) is incorrectly formatted – it must always be in DD/MM/YYYY format
  • If the file is not submitted in PSV file format
  • If the wrong number of pipes is included in any or all rows within the file. In PSV file format pipes are used to separate the data fields/columns, therefore there should always be 18 pipes in each row – too many or too few pipes in any row will cause the upload to fail
  • If there are extra characters in the data fields (e.g. speech marks or commas)
  • If the file is larger than 10MB
  • If there are extra rows of data (for example extra rows only containing pipes or commas, or non-sense data)

These errors will be displayed immediately after the file has been checked by the application. If there are any errors, you must correct them all before the file will be successfully uploaded. A file may be submitted to the application as many times as needed to correct all the errors.

Process following upload of participant data

Once the data has been successfully uploaded to the ESF Contact Details system, an attempt will be made to load the file into the ESF Participant Contact Details Database.

Should the file fail to upload to the contact details database, you will be notified. Where available, any details about what caused the upload to fail will be included. You will be expected to investigate and rectify all issues with the data, and re-send the file for upload – following the same procedure.

Website issues and feedback

Whilst all attempts will be made to allow access to the website at all times, there will be short occasions where the site is unavailable due to upgrades or maintenance. These outages should be brief, so if you do come across any problems please try again at a later time first before reporting any problems to the ESF team.

If you experience an outage on the system once you have submitted a file to be uploaded and you have not received confirmation that the data has been validated successfully, then the file has not uploaded successfully and you should resubmit the file.

To report any issues consult the support page.

To offer any feedback consult the feedback page.