CTF Import Issues affecting SIMS and SIMS Online Services – updated 26/09

26/09 If your school has been affected by the bug you may need to report it as a data breach.  Please read the advice from the ICO.

06/09 Capita have provided a new version of the data collection sheet which you can download from here.  This is provided for re-collecting contact details where they have been identified on Check 99 as needing investigation and the school does not have manual records to verify the contact information is correct.  This new version provides blank boxes for contacts in case the details are incorrect to avoid any possibility of data breaches.

04/09 The latest information from Capita indicates that any CTF import could have resulted in incorrect contact matching (not just CTF’s containing applicants).  Please see the advice below.

August 2018 – Capita have identified there may be further issues created by incorrect contact matching with importing CTF’s.

As a result they have issued a workstation fix and temporarily suspended Online Services (SIMS Parent/Parent-Lite, Activities, Agora and Options Online).  A message will display when logging into the admin portal that they should complete data checks before re-enabling the service. It is important schools do NOT re-enable these services until they have read the information below.

Non-Hosted Schools: The Workstation fix (Patch 24212) has been released via SOLUS 3 on Friday 24th August.

Hosted Schools: The Workstation fix (Patch 24212) was applied on 24th/25th August 2018.

Once the workstation fix has been run users with CTF permissions logging into SIMS (School Administrator, Admin Assistant, Assessment Co-ordinator, Pastoral Manager, SEN Co-ordinator, Returns Operator and Manager) will see this splash screen when they log into SIMS.

Click OK to log into SIMS.  You will be able to update and view information in SIMS as usual. However it is imperative that you follow the instructions below.

These actions are necessary for ALL schools after the CTF Workstation fix has been run and BEFORE SIMS Online Services (SIMS Parent/Parent-Lite, SIMS Student, SIMS Agora, SIMS Activities, Options Online) are re-enabled. In addition it is recommended that schools DO NOT send out any personal pupil/student information to parents either through SIMS InTouch or by post until the actions below are completed.

Step 1 – Run Database Diagnostics and save the log file

  1. Run Database Diagnostics. This can be done via SIMS > Tools > System Diagnostics > Database Diagnostics.  To start the process you will need to click on Run. NB we recommend you do this at the beginning or end of the day as it may impact performance for other users logged into SIMS.
  2. Once complete you will need to save the log file. To do this you will need to select the Print option which will allow you to save the file.

Step 2 – Investigate and if necessary fix the issues identified in Check 99

  1. Locate the previously saved Database Diagnostics file and open. Within this file you will need to check for any lines beginning [99]. If you do not have any [99] items go straight to Step 3.
  2. The following link will talk you through the most common errors listed below: https://faq.scomis.org/kb22254/ 
    • Missing address
    • Incorrect Address
    • Incorrect Contact/Student Links
    • Duplicate Contacts
  3. When you have dealt with all check 99 issues please re-run Database Diagnostics and check that any dealt with errors are no longer appearing. If your checks are still appearing please contact the Scomis Service Desk.

Step 3 – Email scomis@devon.gov.uk and request Patch 24213

This patch will clean up any unlinked Applicant data after Check 99 issues have been investigated.

Step 4 – Clearing CTF Information splash screen

Within SIMS go to Routines > Data In > CTF > Import CTF a splash screen entitled Import Information will appear.

In order to clear this message you will need to read the information and if you have completed all the steps tick the box at the bottom of the screen and click on Accept.

Step 5 – Re-enable Online Services

Once you have completed all the steps above you can re-enable the Online Services. Instructions on how to do this can be found at https://faq.scomis.org/kb22250/


Background information

What is a CTF?

CTF stands for “Common Transfer File”. This is the mechanism used for loading new pupil applicants and transfers from other schools into SIMS.

What is the issue?

Incorrect matching of applicants and on roll students imported by CTF into your SIMS database may have linked new pupil records to an existing contact. Additionally, some data on the existing contact record may have been changed.

Will this issue have impacted my school(s)?

Not all schools will be impacted.

  • If your school does not use the CTF process you will not be impacted (this can be checked via Routines > CTF Import > View History Log) and you will not need to take any further action.
  • If your school uses the CTF process you must complete steps 1 to 5 (described above). Your school may still not have been impacted, but you must follow the process outlined nonetheless, to confirm whether you have been impacted and respond accordingly.

Under what circumstance would my school(s) be impacted?

This would happen if a combination of the name, title, gender and relationship of a pupil’s contact record in the CTF matched the same elements of the contact of another applicant, on roll pupil or leaver already held in your database.

One type of example would be:

  • Already on SIMS
  • Pupil = Joanne Bradshaw, with a Contact/Parent = Wendy Bradshaw, Mother, Female (original)
  • New CTF applicant
  • Pupil = Jamie Bradshaw, with a Contact/Parent = Wendy Bradshaw, Mother, Female (new/different Wendy)

In this instance as both pupils have a parent called Wendy Bradshaw, identified also as being Female and with a relationship of Mother, the new CTF applicant would be linked to the original Wendy Bradshaw. The original Wendy Bradshaw address, telephone number and email would also be updated with the new/different Wendy Bradshaw’s details.

Which data may have been altered?

Address, phone number and email address fields on the contact record may be incorrect.


Posted in Bulletin, Upgrades.