Changes to the way childcare providers are paid following the introduction of the Childcare Offer for Wales digital service.
What is the Childcare Offer for Wales national digital service?
Prior to January 2023 the Childcare Offer for Wales was delivered by local authorities using a number of different systems to process parent applications and pay childcare providers for the hours provided.
The Childcare Offer for Wales digital service has replaced those systems enabling every local authority, parent and childcare provider to use a single common service.
Why has this changed?
The experience of parents and providers accessing the Childcare Offer for Wales differed depending on where they were based and which system their local authority used.
This proved problematic for childcare settings that provided care for children from different local authority areas, as they needed to deal with a number of different local authority systems and balance different payment schedules.
All parents applying for the Childcare Offer form Wales from January 2023 will use the new digital service and experience a more consistent application process.
The digital service is fully bilingual enabling Welsh-speaking childcare providers and parents to engage with the Childcare Offer in their preferred language.
Is it secure?
The Childcare Offer for Wales digital service has been developed to the highest standard of data security. Details that parents and providers submit to create an account can only be viewed by local authority staff who have permission to access this service.
What has happened to the old local authority systems?
Parents and children who accessed the Childcare Offer before the point of rollout remain on the old local authority systems.
How are payments for the Childcare Offer affected?
The Childcare Offer for Wales digital service enables fast and regular payments to childcare providers. Payments can be claimed weekly or monthly in arrears. The payments are processed the next working day and the money will arrive in your bank account in a matter of days.
Claims made through the Additional Support Grant route may take longer.
Parents and children who accessed the Childcare Offer before the point of rollout remain on the old local authority systems. Payments for those children are continuing to be made through the local authorities.
How will the parents of the children attending my setting know what to do?
Guidance is available online to support parents to use the service to apply for and agree their Childcare Offer hours.
A national telephone helpline is available for any parent or provider who needs further support. The national helpline number is: 03000 628 628
We have provided local authorities with marketing materials to disseminate locally, including childcare settings, to promote the Childcare Offer and direct parents to support and information.