ILR Returns User Guide<>

Understanding the ILR validation rules


The ILR validation rules are issued by the Information Authority ( and documentation can be obtained in several formats. We will look at the 2012/2013 documentation in order to better understand this.

Note:fields or elements? We refer to an individual XML element as a field, in line with the terminology employed by the ILR.

The ILR 2012/13 specification

The official ILR specification is available from the ILR Specification, Validation Rules and Appendices for 2012/13 download page of the ILR website (

The specification is a PDF document downloadable from

Each element has a reference page which describes the validation rules. The example below shows the page for the Achievement Date (AchDate) field.

The ILR XSD schema

The ILR XSD schema which can be downloaded from is an XML XSD schema against which a returned XML file can be validated. It can be thought of as containing the high-level validation rules that apply to the ILR return. Validation against this schema is the first step which the Learner Information Suit application makes when validating a return. Failure to validate against this schema results in the return being rejected.

Note that the schema is only capable of validating a file against a subset of the rules documented in the ILR specification. The schema can validate that the file conforms to the correct XML structure but cannot validate that a value contained in a field (technically an element) is makes sense in relation to the values contained in other fields.

The schema consists of a master file which pulls in individual XSD files containing the various rulesets.

The screenshot below shows the rendering of a fragment of the schema in an XML editing suite.

The Learner Information Suite

The Learner Information Suite (LIS) is a dedicated software application which validates an ILR XML file. It validates using:

the XSD schema

a set of validation rules expressing the interrelationships between fields

a set of validation rules which check that field values are valid against lookup values contained in Access databases

LIS allows you to import ILR file and run a series of different queries and reports against the data in the file. Reports can be exported into several formats.

The LIS Full ILR Validation Rules spreadsheet, #1

Another presentation of the rules can be accessed via the LIS Report Manager ‘ Full ILR Validation Rules’ option.

This option allows you to export the rules as a CSV file.

The resulting spreadsheet (after a little row width optimisation) looks like this.

Note the validation rules exposed as an expression.

The LIS Full ILR Validation Rules spreadsheet, #2

The validation rules can also be extracted from the Learner Information Suite by selecting the Full ILR Validation Rules from the Select Reports option. You can choose from a number of different format options (Excel is selected in the example below).

The resulting spreadsheet (after a little row height optimisation) looks like this.

The LIS Full ILR Validation Rules spreadsheet, #3

You can also download an Excel spreadsheet from the download page of the ILR website. The download links is

The spreadsheet tabulates the various ILR validation rules. Each rule has a unique rule name based on the name of the field to which the rule applies, e.g. AchDate_01.

Whether a rule should be applied to a field is always context dependent (non-context dependent rules are expressed in the XSD schema). This spreadsheet contains various columns which indicate whether a rule (e.g. AchDate_01 ‘The Achievement date must not be returned’) should be applied in a specific content (e.g. whether the learner comes under a specific funding code).

The rule is also defined in coding terms (e.g. LearningDelivery.AchDate is not null). Note that this rule specifies the error condition — so if this rule is triggered the LIS validation suite will register either an error or a warning.


Rule AchDate_01 ‘The Achievement date must not be returned’ applies when the FundModel=21 and the AimType=1 (the path to this context is highlighted in the screenshot below).


Spreadsheet #1

Spreadsheet #2

Spreadsheet #3



16-18 Learning Responsive FundModel = 21 and

Prog. Aim (Aim Type= 1)

Comp. Aim (Aim Type=3)

Other (Aim Type=4)



Adult Learning Responsive FundModel = 22 and

Prog. Aim (Aim Type= 1)

Comp. Aim (Aim Type= 3)

Other (Aim Type= 4)




FundModel = 45 or 99
and AimType=1

FundModel = 45 or 99
and AimType= 2 or 3

FundModel = 45 and AimType=4



ESF (FundModel = 70)



ASL (FundModel=10)



Other - LSC/EFA Funded (FundModel=80, 82)



Other - SFA Funded (FundModel=81)



Non-Funded (FundModel =99)


16-18 LR Funding Rule


Adult LR Funding Rule

ALR Funding Rule


ER Funding Rule

ER Funding Rule


Adult OLASS Funding Rule

Adult OLASS Funding Rule


16-18 Funding Rule








System rules to be applied to



External Table

Change management notes

Date needs to be updated