Local Authority Funded Placements

What are they? Should I offer them? How will I be paid?

Anna Smithson avatar
Written by Anna Smithson
Updated over a week ago

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Can all families use funded placements?

Local Authorities fund childcare for some 2 year olds and all 3 & 4 year olds, to help make it more accessible to families. There are three main types:

  • 15 hours for 2 year olds - eligibility criteria apply

  • 15 hours for 3 & 4 year olds - all families are eligible

  • 30 hours for 3 & 4 year olds - family income must be over a minimum threshold, up to Β£100k/year/parent.

These hours are funded for 38 term time weeks - a total of 570 or 1,140 hours per year. They can be 'stretched' to cover 50 weeks, by offering 11 or 22 hours per week instead of the maximum 15 or 30 hours.

πŸŽ‚πŸ“† Children become eligible the term after their birthday.

For example, a child born on 15/10/2018 may be eligible for 15hrs for 2 year olds from 01/01/2021, if they meet the eligibility criteria.

A child born on 01/02/2018 will be eligible for 15hrs for 3 year olds from 01/04/2021.

Please see more info on eligibility criteria here.

For 2 year old funding and 30 hours funding where eligibility criteria apply, the family will need to provide eligibility codes every 3 months that will need to be shared with the Local Authorities.

πŸ€”πŸ““ Can I offer these placements as soon as I am registered with tiney?

When you register with tiney, you are not automatically eligible to offer funded placements - you or tiney will need to complete a separate registration with the Local Authority to offer them.

Some Local Authorities work directly with tiney, in which case we will do all the registration work for you to be able to offer these placements. Others work directly with providers, so you'll need to do the registration if you have any families wanting this - we can provide support through this process. Get in touch with us if you have interested families.

🏦 How much and when will I be paid?

The Local Authorities set the hourly rate that they'll pay you - this can vary from anything between Β£4 and Β£6.5/hr in our experience.

You can charge a subsistence fee to cover the cost of consumables like food and nappies.

The Local Authorities also set the payment schedule - most only pay once a term, most often at the end of the term. They calculate their payments at the start of each term based on a 'Headcount' of the hours of children expected to be in care that term. This can mean that any placements that start after the Headcount cutoff may not be funded for that term - so payments can be extremely delayed to the following term.

πŸ’Έ Are there any costs to parents?

You can charge a subsistence fee to cover the cost of consumables like food and nappies.

If the family want to use more hours than the funding covers, the family must pay for this themselves. For example if a family want 40 hours per week when using 30hrs for 3 & 4 year olds, they will need to pay for any subsistence fees, plus the 10 additional hours.

What do I need from parents?

Before you request a contract, you will need:

  • Full details including the start date, total number of hours and whether the placement is term time only or full year.

  • Full details including the child's date of birth and ideally sight of the child's birth certificate to confirm this.

  • A copy of the parents eligibility code from the government website for 2yo or 30hr funding.

  • A fully completed parent declaration form ( this will be specific to your local authority, please request a copy from tiney or your LA if you do not have one on file).

What happens next

  • If you deal directly with your LA you will need to log in to the portal and check the eligibility of the code you have been given.

  • If tiney deal with the LA on your behalf you will need to send the eligibility code to tiney to check.

  • Only once you have confirmed this is valid (and taken a note of the expiry date) and the family can access the funding type they want, should you request the contract through the app as normal.

  • You will also need to fill out the parent declaration form. We suggest doing this at an initial home visit or whilst talking through the terms of the contract.

  • Once the placement has started all details will need to be input in to your LA portal (either by tiney or yourself) and payment will be as per your LA schedule.

Important Considerations

πŸ’Ό It is important that you decide whether offering funded placements is right for your business. Rates are often lower than your own hourly rates and payment schedules can vary - you are not always paid on a monthly basis.

You will need to make sure that you are clear on the eligibility criteria for funded placements once your application has been agreed by the local authority.

2 year old funding is not universal, you would need to have a valid code from the parent and confirm eligibility with the LA.

3 &4 year old funding is available from the term after a child turns 3. For a 30 hours claim you must ensure you have a valid code issued by the government gateway portal to the parent, and you must ensure this has been validated on the portal. The 30 hours offer is also not universal parents must fulfil certain criteria in order to be eligible (please see above). ❗ You should not begin any placements without this otherwise you are at risk of not being paid.

πŸ“† Starting funded placements mid term can also cause delays in payment, if possible it is best practice to begin funded placements at the start of a term for the full term of care. Funding is provided on a term time only basis unless you choose to 'stretch' it over the full year which will mean the number of funded hours you offer per week will decrease.

Funding can be complex for parents and providers and we have found there are still many misconceptions. It is important that you feel confident when discussing funding with parents so please make sure you ask the team at tiney for any clarification you need.

βœ‹ Most importantly it is important that you manage the expectations of any parents wanting to start a funded place with you at very short notice and explain that it can take time to set up and confirm eligibility. If a parent wants to start care before funding is confirmed then they will need to pay you in advance for this care and can swap to funded payment at a later stage.

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