Matt (ESFA)

Missing NI numbers in apprentices learner records - R14


A number of organisations have received a communication from the Apprenticeships team relating to missing NI numbers in some learner records. We realise that this has caused some concerns in relation to the potential clawback of funds where NI numbers are missing.

Where an NI number is not available due to delays at HMRC the number should be entered by R03 of 2021/22 return – we will cross-reference against this return and remove any potential recoveries.

If you have any queries about this request, please visit the Apprenticeship Service Support ( where you will find the latest updates and details of how to contact us if you still have further questions



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Seems slightly optimistic that this will be fully sorted within a fortnight?

I understand the importance of NINOs but this is beyond providers' control and I'd hope there was enough trust to believe providers are doing all they can to sort this, rather than relying on what HMRC are saying about delays when this doesn't match our experiences...

Chris Bradley

Yes absolutely Steve. We have some apprentices that have been waiting for months for their mandatory face to face interview and apparently trying to get hold of someone to talk to about this is virtually impossible.

We even had an apprentice who was supposedly sent their NI number in the post, it never arrived and they won't now tell him what it is!

ESFA, I don't think you fully appreciate the scale of the issue to be honest

Alison Brierley

One of our learners has been told 16 weeks and this was mid sept so he definitely wont get it by R03.

So very helpful!!

Matt (ESFA)

Hi all,

We have received this update from the Apprenticeships team:

At R03 we will be checking for completion of this data from apprentices that started on or before 31 July 2021; this allows a minimum of 11 weeks for HMRC to provide the national insurance number.