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You could get funding from your local authority for providing childcare for children aged 3 or 4 years.

First published:
23 May 2019
Last updated:


‘The childcare offer for Wales’ gives working parents a mixture of childcare and early education for children aged 3 or 4 years.

The childcare offer can be used for up to 48 weeks a year. This includes 39 weeks of term time, and 30 hours for 9 weeks of the school holidays.

You do not need to provide Early Education, also known as ‘Foundation Learning’ in order to  provide childcare that will be funded under the Childcare Offer for Wales.

Provider eligibility

You must be registered as a childcare provider with a regulator. In Wales the regulator and inspectorate for childcare is Care Inspectorate Wales, in England Ofsted. Eligible providers include:

  • nurseries
  • child minders
  • playgroups
  • crèche
  • out of school childcare such as breakfast, afternoon and holiday clubs

Registered childminders can deliver the Childcare Offer to a child who is also a relative, providing that care is delivered outside of the child’s home and they do not have parental responsibility for the child.

Nannies in Wales are not regulated to the same extent as registered childcare providers and therefore cannot be funded to deliver the Childcare Offer.

Provider registration

You will need to register as a supplier of childcare for the Childcare Offer with the relevant delivery authority. As part of the registration, you will be provided with and asked to agree to the terms and conditions of the Childcare Offer.

How much you will be paid


You will get £5 per hour for each child that is entitled to the Childcare Offer  in your care.  You can claim for half hour sessions and will be paid at a rate of £2.50

You are not required to charge the Offer hourly rate for provision which is not delivered under the Offer. For example, if you are providing additional hours.

Top-up rates when your normal rate is higher

You cannot charge for hourly top-up rates if you normally charge more than £5 per hour.  Providers who are found to breach the terms of the Childcare Offer and charge hourly top-up fees may no longer be funded to deliver the Offer.

When children do not attend booked sessions

If a child cannot or does not attend a booked session, you will still get paid for the hours booked. If a child continues not to attend you should contact your local authority.

Charges for meals

You can charge for meals that you provide but only if you normally charge for food separately.  If you do make additional charges for food as part of your delivery of the Offer, you should make it clear to the parents accessing the Offer what that charge is for.

If you normally allow parents to provide packed lunches for their children, parents accessing the Offer must also be allowed to do so.

In a full day session (approximately 10 hours), parents should not be charged more than £9.00 for meals.  This charge would include:

  • 3 meals at £2.50 per meal
  • 2 snacks at a charge of 75p per snack

For meals provided during a half-day session (approximately 5.5 hours)  parents should not be charged more than £5.75.. This allows for

  • 2 meals at £2.50 per meal,
  • a snack at a charge of 75p per snack

Charges for pick-up and drop-off

You may charge parents for picking-up and dropping-off services.

Transport rates will not be set by the Welsh Government as transport costs will vary depending on the:

  • location and nature of a childcare provider
  • type of transport provided
  • costs associated with staffing and maintaining transport vehicles

Any transport charges should be reasonable and Offer parents should not be charged more for transport than those not accessing the Offer.

Charges for off-site activities

You can charge parents for off-site activities which incur a cost. The rates for these activities will not be set by the Welsh Government as costs will vary according to the nature of the activities.

Parents accessing the Offer should be able to opt their child out of paid for off-site activities and participation in such activities should not be a condition of using the childcare setting.

Off-site activities should be occasional and exceptional, rather than a routine part of the setting’s week

Charges for on-site activities

You should not apply additional charges to Offer parents for  routine on-site activities.

Other charges

The Childcare Offer cannot be used to cover non-direct childcare costs, such as holiday retainer fees or upfront administration or holding fees.  These costs must be paid for by the parent.

You should not impose any additional charges on parents accessing the Offer for any elements over and above the costs of actual childcare, if you do not also impose charges for those elements on parents who are not accessing the Offer.

For example, Any additional services that are included as standard within regular fees for parents who are not accessing the Offer, should also be included as standard for parents who are accessing the Offer.

How to get paid

You should submit the hours each child has booked with you to the local authority that manages the Offer for your area. Payments are managed by local authorities, and they will advise you how to submit claims.

Payments for children who start receiving Childcare Offer funded hours from January 2023 must be claimed for using the new digital service.


For further help and support, please contact your local Family Information Service.