There are two types of interface files you can use:

  1. Standard; and
  2. Manual

The Monthly Interface is used by the Scheme Administrator to validate the data that you send to the Scheme.

It is your responsibility to provide accurate and timely data to the Scheme Administrator.

The Monthly Interface Process

A Standard interface file consists of 21 different text files containing different record types, for example, salary, allowance or bonus files.  

A Manual interface file is a single Excel spreadsheet and is only to be used for monthly submissions by employers with fewer than 100 employees. Exceptions may be considered by the Scheme Administrator on request.

Interface Errors and Warnings

When a record fails a data validation check, we will report it to you as a Data Validation Failure (DVF) on a Data Validation Report (DVR).

There are two types of DVFs:

  1. Errors occur when data provided in an interface file is wrong.
  2. Warnings occur when data provided in an interface file could be wrong, so we need you to check it.

What you need to do

All Errors and Warnings need to be reviewed and any corrections or confirmations submitted to the Scheme Administrator ahead of your next monthly interface submission.

Regardless of the interface type used, you need to ensure that any data corrections or confirmations returned to the Scheme Administrator are also reflected in your source payroll data.

This will prevent Errors and Warnings being repeated in subsequent interface files.

Measuring Interface performance

The Monthly Interface is governed by a set of compliance measures. Their purpose is to help you to improve the timeliness and quality of monthly data submissions by clearly outlining what we expect of you and reporting to you on how you are performing. 

The headline performance measures and targets are as follows:

Interface Timeliness

  • The submission of a single interface file per month, no more than two working days before or after your agreed submission date; 
  • The correction of all DVFs ahead of your next interface scheduled delivery date.

Interface Quality 

  • No more than 0.5% DVFs when taken as a percentage of membership data received in the interface files (this was 2% in 2018, 1% in 2019 and moved to 0.5% in 2020);
  • If you are advised of errors and warnings in your data, submission of no more than 2, completed Data Validation Report returns. 

We will monitor your performance against the measures and targets. Where you are unable to meet these targets, we will offer guidance and support and if necessary, ask you to provide a plan to improve your performance. However, further escalation through Cabinet Office may be required where performance does not improve. 

Get help with your Interface

Interface training

Interface training sessions designed to provide you with an understanding of data and its importance, submission requirements and impact of not providing timely monthly data, are available.

To book your place on one of the sessions contact or use the booking form.

Support from your Interface Analyst

To address validation issues in-month, you should contact your Interface Analyst (IA) at

Interface guidance for developers

We have updated the Developer’s Guide and produced a scenarios document that sets out examples on how to complete the new Monthly Interface.  

If a third party provides your Monthly Interface, you will need to make sure the guidance is available to them.

You can request a copy of the guidance by emailing

Enhancements to the Monthly Interface (2018)

We have made a number of enhancements to the Monthly Interface process to improve the validation of your data and help you to reduce data errors. These enhancements went live in January 2018, ready for the December Interface.

The enhancements will not change the structure of the interface file you use, or the way you currently submit your data.

What are the benefits?

We have increased the number of data validation checks provided in the Monthly Interface. This will help you to correct more of your data in month and reduce queries from the Scheme Administrator. If you are using the Standard or Manual interface you will benefit from the following enhancements: 

  • Improved Errors and Warnings validation report (which will now be known as the Data Validation Report (DVR)). 
  • Improved management information provided to you, following submission of your Monthly Interface file. 
  • Alignment of data validations with wider work to cleanse scheme data. It will support compliance with current Data Protection and the forthcoming General Data Protection regulations.

Together, the enhancements will help to improve the quality of data the scheme holds for its members and in turn, improve member experience.

17 December 2021
Last updated:
10 May 2023