Early Years Provider Agreement from 1 April 2024 to 31 August 2024

Contents

1. Overview

Throughout this document:

  • SCC means Surrey County Council
  • Council means Surrey County Council
  • Parent(s) means a parent or legal guardian
  • Provider(s) means any group, organisation, school or childminder providing registered childcare and "Service Provider" shall have the same meaning
  • Provider Agreement means this agreement
  • EYFS means Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Early Years Funded Entitlement means the working parent entitlement, universal 3 and 4 year old entitlement and funded early education for 2 year olds
  • FEET means Funded Early Education for 2 year olds eligible under economic or automatically funded criteria (see section 4.5)
  • Universal hours means the first 15 hours of funded early education available to all parents
  • Working parent entitlement means the additional 570 hour entitlement for eligible 3 and 4 year olds, and the expanded entitlements for eligible 2 year olds from 1 April 2024 and children from the age of 9 months from September 2024.

This Provider Agreement is based on the DfE Model Agreement: Early years provision free of charge and funded childcare. Early years Providers must comply with the provisions of this Provider Agreement if they are funded by SCC to provide the Early Years Funded Entitlement.

This Provider Agreement applies to the 15 hour entitlement for the most disadvantaged 2 year olds (known in Surrey as FEET), the 15 hour entitlement for parents of 3 and 4 year olds (the universal entitlement) and the working parents entitlement for eligible children

The following frameworks and legislation underpin this agreement:

This Provider Agreement is not intended to replace, supersede or negate the requirements or expectations set out in legislation, other published statutory guidance and government advice, which may be amended from time to time, without express change in this Provider Agreement.

This agreement does not provide guidance on how Providers operate their private businesses, including
charges for provision over and above a child's funded hours. SCC will not intervene where parents choose to purchase additional hours of provision or additional services providing that this does not affect the parent's ability to take up their child's funded place.

Providers offering the funded entitlement must sign the Provider Agreement. In doing so, Providers confirm that they will be offering the funded entitlement in accordance with this Provider Agreement. Signature will be via the Early Education Portal or, for schools that do not have access to the Early Education Portal, a separate digital agreement will need to be signed. Should schools not wish to complete this digitally, they can request to sign and return a paper copy by emailing EYcommissioningteam@surreccc.gov.uk.

This agreement will be kept under review and updated as necessary.

This Provider Agreement is for:

a) SCC

b) Early years Providers who are referred to as Providers and include:

  • private, voluntary and independent early years Providers and childminders registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
  • childminders or childcare Providers registered with a childminder agency that is registered with Ofsted
  • schools, nurseries or classes funded by SCC
  • independent schools, academies and funded schools taking children age 2 and over and which are exempt from registration with Ofsted as an early years Provider.

SCC cannot impose requirements which subject the early years provision, or services provided by the childminder agency, to a quality assessment process by SCC. Providers are not required to attend any training or other quality improvement programme, other than any training or quality improvement programme identified in an early years provision Ofsted inspection report where the Provider has been judged less than 'good' or 'effective' by Ofsted.

Please note: This Provider agreement covers the period from 1 April 2024 to 31 August 2024 in response to the expansion of funded entitlements meaning eligible 2 year olds from working families can access 570 hours of funded early education from 1 April 2024. A new Provider agreement will be introduced from 1 September 2024 to align with the move to the new Early Years and Education System (EYES) system for funded entitlement claims and the next phase of the funded entitlement expansion meaning that eligible children from the age of 9 months from working families will be able to access 570 hours of funded early education from 1 September 2024.

2. Key responsibilities

Key local authority responsibilities:

  • SCC must secure a funded entitlement place for every eligible child in their area.
  • SCC will work in partnership with Providers to agree how to deliver funded entitlement places.
  • SCC will be clear about their role and the support on offer locally to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) as well as their expectations of Providers.
  • SCC must contribute to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people in their area.

Key Provider responsibilities:

  • The Provider must comply with all relevant legislation and insurance requirements specified.
  • The Provider should deliver the funded entitlements consistently to all parents regardless of whether they opt to pay for optional services or consumables. This means that the Provider should be clear and communicate to parents details about the days and times that they offer funded places, along with their services and charges. Those children accessing the funded entitlements should receive the same quality and access to provision.
  • The Provider must follow the EYFS and have clear safeguarding policies and procedures in place that link to the Surrey Safeguarding Children's Partnership (SSCP) Procedures Manual for recognising, responding, reporting and recording suspected or actual abuse.
  • The Provider must have arrangements in place to support children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). These arrangements should include a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEND. Providers should utilise the Early Intervention Funding and Disability Access Fund to deliver effective support, whilst making information available about their SEND offer to parents.
  • The Provider should identify children who qualify for Early Years Pupil Premium and promote this offer to parents.

3. Safeguarding

SCC has overarching responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children and young people in their area. In Surrey we work to the Surrey Safeguarding Children's Partnership (SSCP) Procedures which include a number of statutory functions under the 1989 and 2004 Children Acts, Childcare Act 2006, Childcare (Disqualification) and Childcare (Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Extended Entitlement) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 ("the 2018 regulations"), What to do if you are worried a child is being abused 2015, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023 guidance and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 legislation.

The Local Authority's duties under section 157/175 of the Education Act 2002 ensures all education settings within its jurisdiction have effective safeguarding arrangements to promote the safety and welfare of learners. Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 requires each person or body to which the duties apply, to have regard to any guidance given to them by the Secretary of State and places a statutory requirement on organisations and individuals to ensure they have arrangements in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. As part of the section 11 and section 157/175 statutory duties, the Early Years Educational Effectiveness Team will assess the effectiveness of local safeguarding arrangements in a variety of ways including a "safeguarding audit/conversation" which is carried out in a two-year cycle and a termly monitoring of vulnerable children data collection.

The Provider must follow the EYFS and have clear safeguarding policies and procedures in place that are in line with local guidance and procedures for responding to and reporting suspected or actual abuse and neglect. A lead practitioner must take responsibility for safeguarding and all staff must have training to identify signs of abuse and neglect. The Provider must have regard to Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023 and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023.

In line with the setting's safeguarding children policy and procedures, if an allegation is made against the owner, manager or any other employee/volunteer of the setting (including office/kitchen/cleaning staff) whether paid or unpaid, funding for the early years funded entitlement may be withdrawn by SCC. This is dependent on the outcome of the investigation into the allegation, and whether the setting has breached the conditions of the Provider Agreement. The setting must comply with the advice of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and any compliance and welfare notices issued by Ofsted and inform the SCC Early Years Educational Effectiveness Team of any action taken to safeguard the children in their care.

If the Provider fails to comply, the process for termination and withdrawal of funding will be followed.

4. Eligibility

The Provider must check original copies of documentation (birth certificate or passport) to confirm a child has reached the eligible age on initial registration for all funded entitlements. A record of the date and the member of staff who has checked the documentation should be made on the SCC Declaration Form.

The Provider must ensure that parents complete the SCC Declaration Form, including address and postcode details. SCC have an annual declaration form, this is a single document that is added to and re-signed by parents at the start of each funded period. In the first funded period of attendance parents must confirm that the name of the child is their full legal name (as stated on the birth certificate or valid passport). The Provider should not complete any of the information requested on the front page of the SCC Declaration Form. Our annual declaration form can be found on our Providing funded early education webpage.

Where a child's name has been legally changed the Provider should see evidence of this before editing the child's record on the portal or updating SIMS (for schools).

If the Provider makes a claim for funding for a child whose date of birth has not been recorded correctly, SCC may reclaim the funding paid for periods when the child was not eligible for the funded entitlement.

Funded Early Education for 2 year olds (FEET funding):

Some 2 year olds are eligible for 15 hours of funded early years provision (FEET) if the family receives one of the following benefits:

Or

If a child is in one of the groups listed below, they will automatically be eligible to claim FEET.

Or

If the parent or carer's immigration status says they have 'no recourse to public funds', they may still get funded childcare for their 2 year old. In a two-parent household, both parents must meet the 'no recourse to public funds' criteria, or one parent in a single parent household to be eligible. Additionally, the family must live in England with a household income of no more than:

  • £26,500 for families outside of London with one child
  • £34,500 for families within London with one child
  • £30,600 for families outside of London with two or more children
  • £38,600 for families within London with two or more children

The parent/carer cannot have more than £16,000 in savings or investments.

The Department for Education's eligibility checking system provides a mechanism for local authorities to verify whether children meet the qualifying criteria for FEET.

Children are only eligible for FEET from the term after their second birthday:

  • Children born in the period 1 January to 31 March: the start of term beginning on or following 1 April after the child's second birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 April to 31 August: the start of term beginning on or following 1 September after the child's second birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 September to 31 December: the start of term beginning on or following 1 January after the child's second birthday.

SCC will not fund children before eligibility commences. SCC will not backdate funding prior to the eligibility being confirmed. Providers should ensure they have confirmation of the FEET code prior to offering a FEET place. Providers must notify parents any hours attended prior to eligibility being confirmed will be charged in accordance with the settings charging terms.

Children funded by FEET should be able to access their entitlement with no additional charge. A session length for the delivery of FEET should not be set so that a parent must pay for any additional time unless they wish to.

When making the first claim for a FEET funded child a Provider can only claim from the date the application for FEET was received and agreed by the Funded Early Education Team. If the child is already attending the early years setting prior to the parent receiving their eligibility letter, the payment to the Provider will not be backdated by SCC, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Providers must make it clear to parents that they are liable for any fees until the start date on their eligibility letter.

Once a child has been agreed for FEET they will be funded even if the family does not meet the criteria at a later date. The Provider should offer places to eligible 2 year olds on the understanding that the child remains eligible until they qualify for the universal entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds.

Children moving from FEET to the universal 3 and 4 year old entitlement should be able to continue to access the same hours, terms and conditions they were accessing under FEET. Where a child is due to move from FEET to the universal 3 and 4 year old entitlement, Providers should speak with the parent(s) and explain that they can remain on the same offer or choose to access something different. Where a parent opts for a different offer at the stage of transition, the previous FEET conditions no longer apply.

All 3 and 4 year olds (universal entitlement):

Children are entitled to 15 universal hours of funding from the start of the term beginning on or following the date set out below (these dates are consistent with those used for determining the start of compulsory education):

  • Children born in the period 1 January to 31 March: 1 April following the child's third birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 April to 31 August: 1 September following the child's third birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 September to 31 December: 1 January following the child's third birthday.

All 3 and 4 year olds are eligible for 15 universal hours of funded childcare until they reach statutory school age, the funded period after the child's fifth birthday.

Children who have been admitted to primary school and are attending a state-funded reception class are not entitled to any additional funded hours outside their school reception class place. The child is entitled to a full-time place in the September following their fourth birthday.

SCC must ensure that a child has a funded entitlement place no later than the beginning of the term following the child's third birthday.

SCC must ensure that all 3 and 4 year old children moving to England from another country can access their funded entitlement on the same basis as any other 3 and 4 year old child in Surrey.

Working parent entitlements

Parents must check eligibility for the working parent entitlement through the government's Childcare Choices website. Eligibility is determined by His Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) through this online application, the only exception being children in foster care.

A child will be entitled to the working parent entitlement from the funded period after both of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • the child has reached the relevant age; and,
  • the child's parent has received confirmation from HMRC that they are eligible for the entitlement.

Eligible 3 and 4 year olds can access an additional 570 hours of funded entitlement, in addition to the 570 hours of universal entitlement meaning that eligible children can access a total of 1,140 funded hours per year from the term following their third birthday, mirroring the dates outlined in the universal entitlement section above.

As of 1 April 2024, eligible 2 year olds will be able to access 570 hours of funded entitlement per year, from the term after their birthday:

  • Children born in the period 1 April to 31 August: 1 September following the child's second birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 September to 31 December: 1 January following the child's second birthday;
  • Children born in the period 1 January to 31 March: 1 April following the child's second birthday.

As of 1 September 2024, eligible children from the age of 9 months will be able to access 570 hours of funded entitlement per year, from the term after their turn 9 months old:

  • Children who turn 9 months old in the period 1 September to 31 December: 1 January following the child turning 9 months old;
  • Children who turn 9 months old in the period 1 January to 31 March: 1 April following the child turning 9 months old;
  • Children who turn 9 months in the period 1 April to 31 August: 1 September following the child turning 9 months old.

As of 1 September 2025, eligible children from the age of 9 months will be able to access 1,140 hours of funded entitlement per year, from the term after their turn 9 months old. Eligibility dates as outlined in 4.7.5.

Children in foster care who have attained the relevant age are also eligible for the working parent entitlements, provided the foster parent is in paid work outside their fostering role; does not expect their adjusted net income to exceed £100,000 and the responsible local authority confirms it is satisfied that the foster parent engaging in paid work other than as a foster parent is consistent with the child's care plan. The foster parent does not have to meet the minimum income requirement.

Other than the application and reconfirmation process and the minimum income requirement, all other eligibility criteria and provisions set out below apply to children in foster care taking up the working parent entitlement in the same way as they do to all other children.

If a parent has a child who will reach the relevant age before the next funded period but forgets to apply, they will have to wait until the start of the following funded period to claim their hours.

Parents must apply or renew their eligibility code before the deadline dates of 31 March, 31 August and 31 December. If a parent applies or renews their code after these deadline dates, they will not be able to use their funded hours until the following funded period. For example, the parent applies on 1 April for the working parent entitlement and receives their code, because this is after the deadline date of 31 March, they will not be able to take up their funding until 1 September. SCC does not have the discretion to change validity dates linked to the eligibility codes and does not have additional funds available to parents who have not applied for or validated their code within the business rules determined by HMRC.

Parents who are eligible for the working parent entitlement will have an eligibility code which they must present to their Provider for checking before being offered the extended hours.

Codes are 11 digits long and will start with either 11 (temporary codes) or 500. Foster parents who apply through their responsible local authority will receive codes beginning with '400'. If a parent made an application by phone, they will need to contact the HMRC Helpline on 0300 123 4097 to re-confirm eligibility. All parents must reconfirm their details through their Childcare Account or the Helpline at regular intervals, in most cases every three months.

Providers can find out more about providing the early years funded entitlement for working parents on the SCC Providing funded early education webpages.

When checking eligibility for the working parent entitlement, alongside the eligibility code, which is the child's unique 11-digit number, the Provider must acquire written consent from, or on behalf of, the parent to be able to receive confirmation and future notifications from SCC of the validity of the parent's eligibility code. This consent is contained within the SCC Declaration Form 2023 to 2024.

Once a Provider has received written consent from the parent, they must verify the eligibility code with SCC using the standalone eligibility checker within the Early Education Portal before offering a funded place to the parent. Maintained schools that claim funding through schools finance will need to complete the SCC Eligibility Form for Schools, scan it and send electronically using Egress to the Funded Early Education Team, at fundedearlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk.

SCC will confirm the validity of eligibility codes to allow Providers to offer places for eligible children.

Thereafter, SCC will complete audit checks to review the validity of eligibility codes for children who qualify for the working parent entitlement either each day that the child is within their grace period, if registered in the Early Education Portal, or a minimum of 6 fixed points in the year, both at half-term and at the end of term across the year (in line with the dates as listed at table A below). It is SCC's responsibility to notify a Provider where a parent has fallen out of eligibility and inform them of the grace period end date.

Table A:

Date parent receives ineligible decision on reconfirmation SCC audit date Grace period end date
1 January to 10 February 11 February 31 March
11 February to 31 March 1 April 31 August
1 April to 26 May 27 May 31 August
27 May to 31 August 1 September 31 December
1 September to 21 October 22 October 31 December
22 October to 31 December 4 January 31 March

5. The grace period

A child will enter the grace period when the child's parents cease to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Childcare (Free of Charge for Working Parents) (England) Regulations 2022, as determined by HMRC (or where the child is in foster care, the responsible local authority) or a First Tier Tribunal in the case of an appeal.

SCC will be able to access information about whether a child has ceased to meet the eligibility criteria and entered the grace period via the Eligibility Checking System. The grace period end date will automatically be applied to eligibility codes.

SCC should continue to fund a place for a child who enters the grace period as set out in the Early Education and Childcare Statutory guidance for Local Authorities 2023.

SCC will notify a Provider where a parent has fallen out of eligibility and inform them of the grace period end date, following the audit checks as set out in Table A.

If a parent does not reconfirm or falls out of eligibility at the end of the grace period, their universal hours pattern for 3 and 4 year olds should remain the same unless otherwise stated in the admissions policy of the Provider. If the parent has been taking up the funded hours at more than one Provider, SCC will continue to fund 15 hours at the Provider of the parent's choice.

Children should not start a new working parent entitlement place at a Provider during the grace period. This includes in the following scenarios:

  • where a parent falls into their grace period before the child has started a place;
  • where a parent falls into their grace period whilst their child is in a place, and the parent seeks to move the child to a different Provider.

A parent can take up a working parent entitlement place in their grace period if their eligibility code is valid on the termly deadline (31 August, 31 December or 31 March), even if they fall out of eligibility in the period after the termly deadline but before a Provider's term start date. For example, where a child has had their code confirmed as valid by 31 December, but falls out of eligibility on 20 January, they can still take up their place with a Provider should the start date for the spring term for that Provider be before 20 January.

If a child ceases to be a foster child and the parent has a special guardianship order or has adopted the child, the same guidance relating to the grace period applies.

6. Flexibility

Providers should offer parents their funded entitlement:

Up to 15 or 30 hours a week for 38 weeks a year which equates to 570 or 1140 hours a year if stretched and offered all year round. Only 3 and 4 year olds eligible for the working parent entitlement can access up to 1140 hours.

SCC encourages Providers to offer flexible packages of funded entitlement, subject to the following:

  • No session to be longer than 10 hours
  • No minimum session length (subject to requirements of registration on the Ofsted Early Years Register)
  • Not before 6am or after 8pm
  • A maximum of two sites in a single day

Providers should be aware that funded entitlement places can be delivered:

  • For up to 52 weeks of the year if the parent is stretching their child's entitlement
  • Outside of maintained school term times
  • At weekends

There is no requirement that funded places must be taken on, or delivered on, particular days of the week or at particular times of the day. There is also no requirement that Providers are open for at least 38 weeks of the year, or that Providers must offer all of the funded entitlements in order to receive funding to deliver funded places.

The funded entitlement cannot be compressed to allow the parent to access more than 15 or 30 hours per week over fewer than 38 weeks of the year.

Providers should ensure that, where reasonably practicable, children are able to take up their funded hours in continuous blocks and avoid artificial breaks being created throughout the day, for example over the lunch period.

The Provider should work with SCC and share information about the times and periods at which they are able to offer funded hours to support SCC to secure sufficient stretched and flexible places to meet parental demand in Surrey. The Provider should also publish their admissions criteria and ensure clear and transparent information about their offer and admissions criteria is available to parents at the point the child first accesses provision at their setting (through publicity materials, website).

Parents must be asked to sign confirming that they have read and understood the arrangements. Not all Providers will be able to offer fully flexible places, but Providers should work with parents to ensure that as far as possible the pattern of hours is convenient for parents' working hours.

Providers should give parents and carers a reasonable notice period where a change in timings of sessions or patterns of attendance is required. For example, if a nursery has changed ownership and the model of delivery of funded hours has been changed for pre-existing families.

Parents may choose to access their funded entitlement at more than one Provider or on more than one site, but at no more than two sites in one day.

Parents must complete a SCC Declaration Form 2023 to 2024. A form must be completed for every Provider that the parent intends to take their child's funded hours with, giving consent for the Provider to claim the funding on their behalf. Where parents intend to claim funded hours at more than one Provider, whether this be in Surrey or not, the details of the other Provider must be included on the declaration form to ensure the correct funding is claimed at each Provider. Where the parent has not completed and signed the SCC Declaration Form 2023 to 2024 upon commencement of taking their funded place at a Provider, SCC reserves the right to reclaim funding paid for said child.

The SCC Declaration Form will be utilised as evidence in assessing where a possible duplicate, fraudulent or an over claim has been made. Parents and carers should be made aware of the implications of submitting duplicate claims, fraudulent claims and over claiming funded hours as part of every Provider's charging policy.

7. Partnership working

Partnerships will be supported by SCC between:

  • SCC and Providers, that is: maintained nurseries and schools, Early Years PVI Providers and childminders
  • Providers working with other Providers, including childminders, schools and organisations
  • Providers and parents, carers
  • SCC and parents, carers

SCC promotes partnership working between different types of Providers to offer flexible provision.

The Provider should work in partnership with parents, carers and other Providers to improve provision and outcomes for children in their setting. An interactive toolkit has been developed by the Family and Childcare Trust to help Providers set up or join a partnership; tackle the challenges joint working can bring; explore different ways of responding to the extended funded entitlement through a partnership approach and maximise the benefits of working together.

The Provider should discuss and work closely with parents, carers, to agree how a child's overall needs will be met in practice when their funded entitlement is split across different Providers, such as at a maintained school and childminder.

Attending more than one Provider

A child can attend more than one setting, but the total claim for funded hours must not be more than 15 hours or 30 hours a week.

Parents, carers, must make it clear on the SCC Declaration Form at the beginning of each funded period where they want to claim the funded hours.

As of the Autumn 2023 term, Surrey Providers can only claim for term-time only hours on the portal, however Providers can choose to stretch the funding locally themselves and therefore may be open for more than 38 weeks.

Providers should clearly communicate how funding is offered at their setting, including the number of weeks that funding can be accessed and the maximum number of hours per week that can be claimed so that parents fully understand their offer.

Where Providers choose to stretch the funding themselves, they should keep a record of the funded hours that have been delivered. SCC suggests using The Stretched Funding tracker to show how many hours will be delivered and claimed for each child per funded period. The tracker can be requested from the EY commissioning team via eycommissioningteam@surreycc.gov.uk.

Where a child is taking a stretched offer and leaves part way through a funded period, the Provider should ensure that the claim on the portal is correct and input a leaving date. Any remaining balance of hours must be accurate, particularly where the funding is released to another provider. Support with reconciliation of hours is available from the funded early education team.

Where funded hours are shared across Surrey Providers, the names and number of hours are displayed to these Providers in the Funded Early Education Portal. However, if a child is attending another Provider in a different local authority, this will not be viewable on the portal. Providers are responsible for ensuring that they are not over claiming for a child where they are also in attendance at another setting, where over claims do occur, the Provider will be invoiced by SCC.

If a child goes to both a maintained nursery class or school and an additional Provider, the additional Provider will only be able to claim for the funded hours that the parent, carer is not using at the maintained nursery class or school.

For example:

  • If a child with a universal 15 hour offer goes to a maintained nursery class for three hours every morning and another Provider for two afternoons a week, all the universal funding will go to the school. The other Provider would have to charge the parent for the hours attended at their setting.
  • If a child eligible for a 30 hour offer goes to a maintained nursery class for 15 hours a week and another Provider for 25 hours a week, SCC will fund both Providers for 15 hours. The other Provider will charge the parent, carer, for the additional 10 hours.

When a child is accessing their funded entitlement at more than one Provider, they should work in partnership with other Providers and parents, carers, to ensure continuity of care and effective transitional arrangements. This will support the child's learning, development and well-being (for example, sharing child development records, the two year progress check and details of hours attending).

8. Special educational needs and disabilities

SCC strategically plans support for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to meet the needs of all children in the local area in line with the graduated response outlined in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) code of practice 0 to 25 years 2015.

SCC must be clear and transparent about the support on offer in their area, through their Local Offer, so parents, carers and Providers can access that support.

The registered person must ensure all staff members are aware of their duties in relation to the SEND Code of Practice and the Equality Act 2010. All Providers must have arrangements in place to identify and support children with SEND.

All Providers must identify a Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO). The SENCO has a key role in supporting colleagues and coordinating the responses of the setting to meet the individual needs of children with SEND.

The Provider should be clear and transparent about the SEND support on offer at their setting and make information available about their offer to support parents to choose the right setting for their child with SEND.

Every Provider will expect to have some children with additional needs at some time. With careful planning and organisation most of these children are able to participate fully in the activities offered. It is expected that providers will make 'reasonable adjustments' and make their offer inclusive to all children and families.

Children with SEND may meet the eligibility criteria for the 30 hour entitlement just like all other three and four year olds.

Early Intervention Funding

This fund may be available for funded children (not in a reception class). This fund is for children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) as part of the Surrey Graduated Response to ensure that all children can access their entitlement.

The funding will (depending on the individual needs of the child/children) be available for up to the full 30 hours working parent entitlement. Providers will be expected to apply to the fund. Providers can also get support and advice from the Early Years SEND Team or the Early Years Educational Effectiveness Team.

The Disability Access Fund

Eligibility for Disability Access Fund will be extended to all children accessing the funded entitlements from April 2024.

This fund is available to support children in receipt of Disability Living Allowance to take up their funding at your setting. This is a one-off annual payment which is available to Providers even if the child attends for fewer than 570 hours a year. Providers will be expected to apply for this funding, with parental agreement.

If a child changes their Provider during the financial year, the Disability Access Fund will remain with the original Provider.

If the child attends more than one Provider, then the parent allocates the funding to one of them. The funding cannot be shared across Providers.

Fewer than 15 funding

Every Provider will expect to have some children with additional needs at some time. With careful planning and organisation most of these children are able to participate fully in the activities provided. Practitioners can ask for support and advice from Surrey Early Years support service (SEND/Educational Effectiveness). However there may be times when the needs of individual children could be better met by administering Funded Early Education in a more flexible manner.

Fewer than 15 or 30 funding is available for children who will benefit from attending an Early Years Provider for less than the maximum allocation of 15 or 30 hours (dependent on child's entitlement) per week, whilst allowing the Provider to claim for 15 or 30 hours. This will enable flexible take up of a place to meet the individual needs of each child and support with securing their place at the Provider for their full entitlement. It will always be the intention that the child will increase their attendance at the setting to their maximum allocation of 15 or 30 hours. Providers will need to ensure that a permission to request support from the Early Years Support Services form is completed as an Early Years Advisor or Early Years SEND Advisor will contact you to discuss and review your plan to increase hours over a six-week period (maximum).

Providers should only apply for fewer than 15 or 30 funding if it is in the best interests of the child and must have parental agreement and permission. All applications must be discussed with either the Early Years or SEND Advisor.

Providers should email earlyyearsadvisors@surreycc.gov.uk for an application form.

9. Social mobility and disadvantage

SCC promotes equality and inclusion (particularly for disadvantaged families, children who are looked after and children in need) by removing barriers that prevent access to funded places and working with parents to give each child support to fulfil their potential.

Early Years Pupil Premium

Eligibility for Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) will be extended to all children accessing the funded entitlements from April 2024.

EYPP is additional funding for early years Providers to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged three and four year olds. All Providers delivering funded early education places will be eligible to receive the Early Years Pupil Premium.

Providers should ensure that they promote the EYPP to all parents and carers in the setting and identify eligible children, including those eligible because they are looked after or have left the care of SCC through adoption or special guardianship. This should be a voluntary disclosure – some parents will choose not to identify themselves as meeting the eligibility criteria.

EYPP is payable on a maximum of 570 hours per year.

There is more information about Early Years Pupil Premium on the SCC website including how parents can apply, eligibility criteria and a section for how schools can claim the EYPP.

Deprivation funding

Providers funded by SCC are entitled to an additional hourly supplement for children eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium through economic criteria. Where an application has been made for Early Years Pupil Premium based on economic criteria and this application has been approved by the Funded Early Education Team, the deprivation supplement is automatically applied to the child's funded hours.

The Provider should ensure that they have identified the disadvantaged children in their setting as part of the process for checking Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) eligibility. They will also use EYPP and any other locally available funding streams or support to improve outcomes for this group. Providers will identify any gaps in children's learning and development and plan ways of spending the EYPP and deprivation funding to address these gaps and improve children's outcomes.

Integrated review at 2 years including the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Progress check at aged 2

The EYFS progress check at aged two supports early identification and intervention and Providers must make sure that they complete the EYFS progress check at aged two for all children aged between two and three in accordance with the Statutory Framework for the EYFS 2024. The EYFS Progress Check must be shared with parents/carers.

As per the Department for Education non-statutory guidance for the progress check at age 2, Providers should encourage parents to share information acquired during the progress check with other relevant professionals, including their health visitor and the practitioners of any new provision that the child may transfer to.

Funded Early Education for 2 year olds (FEET)

From April 2024, there may be some circumstances where households meet the eligibility criteria for both FEET and the working parent entitlement. In these circumstances, where possible, the childcare should be provided under FEET. This is because, once deemed eligible, the child will remain eligible for FEET until they become eligible for the universal entitlement or working parent entitlement. From September 2025, when the working parent entitlement increases to 30 hours, where households meet the eligibility criteria for both 2 year old entitlements, they should be recorded as taking up 15 hours of FEET and 15 hours of the working parent entitlement. They will need to reconfirm eligibility every 3 months for the working parent entitlement and from September 2025, they will not be defaulted automatically onto FEET should they lose eligibility for the working parent entitlement and have not applied under this criteria previously. The funding portal will not allow claims for both FEET and the working parent entitlement from 1 April 2024.

10. Quality

Why does quality matter?

"Evidence shows that higher quality provision has greater developmental benefits for children, particularly for the most disadvantaged children leading to better outcomes. The evidence also shows that high quality early education at age two brings benefits to children's development." Department of Education - Early Education and Childcare Statutory guidance.

What must Providers do?

Comply with the Statutory Framework for the EYFS 2024.

Complete the EYFS Profile and comply with section 2 of the EYFS statutory framework for group and school-based Providers (2024) or section 2 and Annex B of the EYFS statutory framework for childminders (2024).

Comply with other legal obligations including (but not restricted to), Employment Law, Anti-discriminatory legislation, Health and Safety legislation and Data Protection Legislation.

Have a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or deputy DSL on duty at each setting who has attended a child protection course and follow the regulations and procedures of the Surrey Safeguarding Children's Partnership (SSCP). SCC expect that this person will have been on the 'Working together to Safeguard Children', 'Advanced safeguarding in Surrey (previously module 2) and DSL New to Role Training. They will need to update this knowledge every 2 years by taking a refresher course. Additionally, they must update their knowledge annually by attending DSL Networks and other courses provided by SSCP to comply with the EYFS that states that the lead practitioner must attend a child protection course 'Taking account of any advice from the Local Safeguarding Partnership or local authority on appropriate training courses'. Providers should be committed to ensure that they keep up to date of relevant safeguarding topics.

Ensure that all staff and volunteers are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities.

Have a named Special Educational Needs and Disability Coordinator (SENCO) who works in the setting and will attend any relevant training, including SENCO network meetings.

Early Years Foundation Stage

The EYFS statutory framework is mandatory for all schools that provide early years provision and Ofsted registered early years Providers in England. The EYFS sets the standards that all early years' Providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe.

Ofsted are the sole arbiter of quality for all funded entitlements and Ofsted inspectorates of independent schools have regard to the EYFS in carrying out inspections and report on the quality and standards of provision.

Ofsted judgement good, outstanding or effective

SCC will fund places for children eligible for FEET, the universal entitlement and the working parent entitlement at any Provider judged 'good' or 'outstanding' by Ofsted or at any childminder or childcare Provider registered with a childminder agency judged 'effective' by Ofsted if a parent wants their child to take up their funded place at that Provider and the Provider is willing to accept the local authority funding and any other local authority requirements.

Ofsted judgement of requires improvement

SCC will only fund places for children eligible for FEET in 'requires improvement' Providers, where there is not sufficient, accessible, 'good' or 'outstanding' provision.

SCC will fund places for children eligible for the universal or working parent entitlements at any Provider judged 'requires improvement' or better by Ofsted or at any childminder or childcare Provider registered with a childminder agency judged 'effective' by Ofsted if a parent wants their child to take up their funded place at that Provider and the Provider is willing to accept the local authority funding and any other local authority requirements.

Newly registered Providers

SCC will fund places for children eligible for any funded entitlement at new Providers registered with Ofsted until the Provider's first full Ofsted inspection judgement is published or at a childminder registered with an agency until the agency's first full Ofsted inspection judgement if a parent wants their child to take up their funded place at that Provider and the Provider is willing to accept SCC's funding requirements as set out in this agreement. Following publication of their Ofsted inspection judgement, the conditions in the above paragraphs will apply.

Ofsted judgement "met" or "not met"

SCC will fund Providers with an Ofsted inspection judgement of 'met' until their Ofsted quality inspection judgement, if a parent wants their child to take up their funded place at that Provider and the Provider is willing to accept SCC's funding requirements as set out in this agreement. SCC will not fund Providers with an Ofsted inspection judgement of 'not met'.

Exemptions from the EYFS

SCC will fund Providers with exemptions from the Learning and Development requirements of the EYFS if a parent wants their child to take up their funded place at an exempt Provider and the Provider is willing to accept SCC's funding requirements as set out in this agreement. SCC will fund individual children who have exemptions from the Learning and Development requirements of the EYFS.

SCC will rely solely on the Ofsted inspection judgement of the Provider or the childminder agency as the benchmark of quality.

SCC will not fund Providers who do not actively promote fundamental British values or if they promote views or theories as fact which are contrary to established scientific or historical evidence and explanations.

Ofsted judgement inadequate or ineffective

SCC will secure alternative provision and withdraw funding from a Provider (other than a local authority maintained school), as soon as is practicable, when Ofsted publish an inspection judgement of the Provider of 'inadequate' or when Ofsted publish a second consecutive inspection judgement of a childminder agency of 'ineffective'.

Following a second consecutive 'ineffective' inspection judgement for a childminder agency (CMA), SCC will continue to fund the CMA's Providers if the agency has assessed them as being of acceptable quality and Ofsted has not identified any concerns about the CMA's assessment arrangements.

Where a CMA has inspected one of their registered childminders or childcare Providers and found them not to be of an acceptable quality, the withdrawal of funding process will be followed in the same way that it would following an Ofsted report. Subsequently it is the responsibility of the CMA to keep SCC updated of the outcome of their quality assurance visits so that the withdrawal of funding can be overseen.

It is for local authorities to determine an appropriate timeframe for withdrawing funding. When withdrawing funding SCC will take into account the continuity of care for children who are already receiving their funded hours at a childcare Provider or with an agency registered childminder or childcare Provider and Ofsted monitoring information about the Provider or agency. Once funding is withdrawn, Providers are not able to offer the funded entitlement again until they have had an Ofsted inspection judgement which is not inadequate (or the equivalent outcome of a quality assurance report from a CMA) or ineffective.

Once notification is received from Ofsted, a CMA or the Provider of an inspection outcome of inadequate (or the equivalent outcome of a quality assurance report from a CMA) or a second 'ineffective', the Provider will be advised not to offer a funded place to any additional children until after the formal process to withdraw funding is complete. This is to ensure that new children do not go through a settling in procedure to be then moved when funding is withdrawn.

After an inspection by Ofsted or a quality assurance visit by their childminder agency, Providers must supply a copy of the report to parents and/or carers of children attending on a regular basis.

SCC will not withdraw funding from Providers until the Ofsted inspection judgement or CMA quality assurance report is published. For childminder agencies, this process will only apply where a second 'ineffective' Ofsted judgement is published. Once the inspection report is published the Provider will be invited to a panel meeting within a six-week period. Surrey County Council reserves the right to extend this period in exceptional circumstances. The purpose of the panel meeting is to set the timeframe in which funding is to be withdrawn. At the meeting, panel members will review evidence submitted by the Provider and the SCC Educational Effectiveness Team or CMA and set a timeframe for withdrawing the Provider from the Surrey Directory of Providers. Providers are notified of the panel's decision within two working days and confirmed by letter within 5 working days. The Provider has a right to appeal the panel's decision within 10 working days of receiving the letter. Please see appendix A - Procedure for withdrawal of funded early education from inadequate settings.

SCC will take appropriate action to improve the quality of provision at a local authority maintained school which has been judged by Ofsted to require significant improvement or has been placed in special measures.

Training

SCC is required to provide information, advice and training for the following Providers:

  • those registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register who are judged less than good by Ofsted in their most recent inspection report
  • newly registered Providers on the Ofsted Early years Register who have not yet had an inspection report published
  • those on Part A (the compulsory part) of the Ofsted General Childcare Register who are assessed by Ofsted as not complying with requirements of registration or the requirements relating to their activities.

On the topics of:

  • meeting the requirements of the EYFS and Ofsted Inspection Frameworks
  • meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities; vulnerable and disadvantaged children
  • effective safeguarding and child protection.

11. Business planning

SCC will clearly set out the documentation that they need to receive from Providers to support payment and delivery of funded entitlements. SCC will also set out the timetable which Providers should follow when submitting their documentation, this includes setting out the importance of timely and accurate Census returns.

The Provider should ensure they submit timely and accurate information, including, but not limited to, Census data, Declaration Forms and invoices, as per the financial guidelines of SCC. Failure to do so will result in inaccurate, delayed or suspended funding.

Penalties for providing late or incomplete information leading to additional administration in the processing of funded entitlements will be reasonable and proportionate to the inconvenience or costs incurred as a result of the lateness or incomplete claim. Charges for this will be clearly communicated with Providers.

SCC should not carry out audit regimes which are disproportionate or are unnecessarily burdensome to Providers.

The Provider should maintain accurate financial and non-financial records relating to funded entitlement places and should give SCC access on reasonable notice to all financial and non-financial records relating to funded entitlement places funded under the Provider Agreement, subject to confidentiality restrictions.

For any general advice and support relating to your childcare business please see the running your business section of our Childcare professionals website or email the Early Years Commissioning Team at eycommissioningteam@surreycc.gov.uk.

12. Charging

Government funding is intended to cover the cost to deliver 15 or 30 hours a week of funded, high quality, flexible childcare. It is not intended to cover the cost of meals, other consumables, additional hours or additional services.

The Provider cannot charge parents "top-up" fees for funded hours of childcare. The definition of a top-up fee is the difference between a Provider's usual fee and the funding they receive from SCC to deliver funded places.

The Provider can charge for meals and snacks as part of a funded entitlement place and they can also charge for consumables such as nappies or sun cream and for services such as trips and musical tuition or forest school. Providers should be mindful of the impact of additional charges, especially on the most disadvantaged parents. Where parents are unable to pay for meals and consumables, Providers who choose to offer the funded entitlements are responsible for setting their own policy on providing parents with options for alternatives to additional charges, including waiving or reducing the cost of meals and snacks or allowing parents to supply their own meals.

The Provider should deliver the funded entitlements consistently so that all children accessing any of the funded entitlements will receive the same quality and access to provision, regardless of whether they choose to pay for optional hours, services, meals or consumables.

The Provider should ensure that they are mindful of the impact of additional charges on the most disadvantaged parents.

SCC will not intervene in regard to purchased additional hours of provision or additional services, provided that this is not a condition of accessing a funded place. The Provider should be completely transparent about any additional charges, prior to the parent signing a Providers Agreement/contract for a childcare place.

The Provider should publish their admissions criteria and ensure parents understand which hours/sessions can be taken as funded provision. This should include information about any charges for consumables and associated alternatives, additional hours and services, ensuring these are easily available to parents to enable them to make an informed choice of Provider.

The Provider can charge parents a refundable deposit to secure their child's funded place but must refund the deposit in full to parents once the child's data has been submitted on the initial headcount where they are only taking funded hours. You must not charge parents in full in advance and then refund them once you have received your payment from us. Providers should ensure that it is clear in their terms and conditions, what notice period is required prior to a child taking up a place, whereby the deposit will be returned, and after which point it will be retained if the child does not take up their offered place.

An administration or registration charge cannot be a condition of taking up a child's funded place (where no additional privately paid for hours are being accessed), therefore Providers should be mindful of this being a barrier to families taking up their funded place.

The Provider will also ensure that receipts contain their full details so that they can be identified as coming from a specific Provider and invoices do not show a charge for the funded entitlement.

The Provider should ensure their invoices and receipts are clear, transparent and itemised, allowing parents to see that they have received their child's entitlement free of charge and understand fees paid for additional hours and services.

Please refer to our 'Charging Guidance for Delivery of Funded Entitlements' for guidance and clarification.

13. Offering Funded Entitlement

Funded Early Education for 2 year olds (FEET) is a government initiative that funds 570 hours per year of early education for 2 year old children who would benefit most from early access to childcare. In addition, there is the universal entitlement which means all 3 and 4 year olds can access 570 hours per year of funded early education. There is also the working parent entitlement meaning that eligible children can access up to 1,170 hours of funded early education from the age of 9 months by September 2025.

Parents must make sure their chosen early years Provider is registered with SCC and on the Directory of Providers to offer Funded Early Education.

Which providers qualify to offer Funded Early Education?

  • A childminder registered with Ofsted or a childminder / childcare Provider registered with a childminding agency which is registered with Ofsted.
  • Private, voluntary and independent Providers registered either on the Ofsted Early Years Register as a childcare Provider or with the Department for Education as an independent school.
  • Nursery schools, nursery classes or units funded by the local education authority.
  • Academies.
  • Funded schools.

To qualify to provide FEET, your setting needs to:

  • have received an 'outstanding', 'good' or 'effective' Ofsted outcome.
  • be registered with a childminder agency judged as 'effective' by Ofsted and be deemed of a suitable quality through the agency inspection process. Please see section 10.9.2 which outlines the approach should an agency be considered 'ineffective'.
  • be a new Provider registered with Ofsted awaiting your first full Ofsted inspection judgement to be published.
  • have an Ofsted inspection judgement of 'met' until your Ofsted quality inspection judgement is published.

Or, if you received a satisfactory or requires improvement outcome and are in a high priority area for FEET, we will consider your application on an individual basis. If you have received an inadequate Ofsted outcome you cannot offer FEET until you get an improved Ofsted outcome.

To qualify to provide the universal and working parent entitlements, your setting needs to:

  • have received an 'outstanding', 'good' or 'effective' Ofsted outcome.
  • have received a requires improvement or you are registered with a childminder agency judged 'effective' by Ofsted, your provision has been deemed of a suitable quality, and a parent wants their child to take up their funded place with you. Please see section 10.9.2 which outlines the approach should an agency be considered 'ineffective'.
  • be a new Provider registered with Ofsted awaiting your first full Ofsted inspection judgement to be published.
  • have an Ofsted inspection judgement of 'met' until your Ofsted quality inspection judgement is published.

If you have received an inadequate Ofsted outcome you cannot offer the universal or working parent entitlement until you get an improved Ofsted outcome.

Children going to a non-maintained (independent) school are able to claim the universal and working parent entitlement from us until they are of statutory school age, which is the term after their fifth birthday.

Prospective providers for FEET, universal and working parent entitlements need to make sure that they:

  • are registered with Ofsted or with the Department for Education as an independent school.
  • are able to meet the requirements of the EYFS.
  • are able to meet the needs of all children, including those with additional needs, and/or disabilities, and will promote equality of opportunity.
  • have a named Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) who works in the setting.
  • have a named designated child protection officer (Designated Safeguarding Lead - DSL) or a deputy DSL on duty at each setting (as required by the Surrey Safeguarding Children's Partnership).

An early years Provider can apply to be registered for the 'Directory of Providers' at any time and registration can be completed within a short time scale provided the early years setting meets the quality criteria to deliver funding. SCC cannot backdate funding prior to registering on the 'Directory of Providers'.

SCC reserve the right to refuse an application and vary the criteria should the need arise. If SCC refuse a Provider's application, a letter will be sent to explain why and provide information about the appeal process. SCC will consider information published by Ofsted about a Provider or childminder agency including the recent history about childcare provision by a particular Provider or agency or childcare provision at a particular address. This may include, for example, where SCC has concerns that a Provider judged "inadequate" by Ofsted may have re-registered their setting with Ofsted to avoid making the quality improvements identified by Ofsted. SCC will also consider history in relation to a Provider who has closed and then applied to re-register with outstanding funded entitlement debt or who have previously been unable to produce claims documentation during audit.

All Providers must only make a claim for funding if they have a SCC Declaration Form signed and dated by the parent or carer in the same funded period as the claim. Claims can only be made for children who have attended their first funded session in the funding period.

Providers should also note the following:

  • Providers must have completed the SCC Provider Agreement 2023 to 2024 in the Early Education Portal. Schools must return a digital form.
  • PVI Providers will use the Early Education Portal to claim funding for all eligible two, three and four year old children.
  • Maintained schools must claim for all 3 and 4 year old children through schools finance and all claims for 2 year olds through the Early Education Portal.
  • SCC Declaration Forms must be retained by the Provider for a period of seven years.
  • SCC will pay all Providers according to the published payment schedule.
  • The Provider should accurately submit their claims in the Early Education Portal and any other necessary data by the published dates to support SCC to make payment.
  • Claims must be made in the funded period in which the child takes up or uses their funded early education place. If a parent has provided the relevant forms on time but due to an administrative error the child has not been funded, the Provider can contact the Funded Early Education Team, who may, in exceptional circumstances, add a late claim to the Early Education Portal. Please note late claims will only be accepted up to six weeks into the new funded period.
  • SCC will not backdate claims if a SCC Provider Agreement was not completed in the Early Education Portal, or if for a school, the digital form was not returned, for the relevant funded period.
  • Providers must not claim for funded early education hours and use them on an ad hoc basis, claims must only be for the number of hours recorded on the Declaration form signed and dated by the parent. The hours recorded on the Declaration form must also correspond with the attendance recorded in the register. Funded early education hours must not be banked for use at a future date. If a child's attendance pattern changes during a funded period, the Provider must complete and retain a SCC Change of Hours form available on our Providing funded early education webpage.
  • SCC will seek to recover any funding overclaims made.
  • SCC will set out in the SCC Provider Agreement the funding processes and timetable so Providers are clear about the funding that they will receive and the requirements on them in order to receive it, including funding multiple Providers and changes in Provider.
  • Providers must inform us of any changes to their contact details and update them in the Early Education Portal.

Early years provision is defined in section 20 of the 2006 Act as the provision of childcare. ''Childcare'', as defined in section 18 of the 2006 Act, specifically excludes care provided for a child by a parent, step-parent, foster parent (or other relative) or by a person who fosters the child privately or has parental responsibility for the child. Early years provision by a childminder (either independently registered with Ofsted or registered with a childminder agency) for a related child does not count as childcare in legal terms. Government funding cannot be claimed by, or spent on, childminders providing childcare for their own child or a related child, even if they are claiming for other children.

Exceptional circumstances during a funding period

It is recognised that there may be exceptional circumstances which is underpinned by national guidance which will affect the delivery of funding Early Education and/or payments, any such amendments will need to be agreed by Surrey County Council, if not covered by Statutory guidance.

14. Payments

If a Provider has made a claim or has amended a claim for funding in the Early Education Portal by the last day of the month, they will be paid by approximately the 15 of the following month (or nearest working day).

Providers should ensure that any staff who require access to the Early Education Portal have individual log on details. Any changes in access requirements should be communicated to the funded early education team immediately to ensure that information remains protected.

Providers should ensure that their contact details are kept up to date, as the details provided will be used to communicate matters related to funding and payments. Providers can submit changes in contact details by using the appropriate form from the Providing funded early education webpage. Providers should also ensure that fundedearlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk is marked as a safe sender on their email accounts to prevent important information being filtered as spam.

Estimate payments

Universal hours

SCC will pay Providers automatically (unless they are a childminder or a new setting) by the end of the first full week of the funded period. It will be approximately 60% of what the Provider was paid for the same term last year. For example, the estimate payment for the Summer funded period 2023 will be approximately 60% of what was paid to the Provider for the Summer funded period 2022 based on the portal headcount totals. If numbers last year were significantly higher or lower than the current funded period for which claims are being submitted, (which would mean an incorrect payment) then the Provider should complete an estimate claim form to enable SCC to make a more accurate payment. This can be downloaded from the Providing funded early education webpage.

New Providers, and Providers who have re-registered, will need to complete an estimate claim form and send this to the Funded Early Education Team for the first 3 terms of operation, as we will have no history on which to base the payment.

Childminders or Providers claiming FEET funding, will always need to fill in an Estimate Claim Form in order to receive an estimate payment. This is because the number of hours claimed tends to vary significantly. The estimate claim forms are available to download from the Providing funded early education webpage. Providers should ensure the form for the correct funded period is used.

Working parent entitlement:

All Providers will need to complete an Estimate Claim Form to apply for payments for the working parent entitlement, i.e. the 15 additional hours available to 3 and 4 year olds over and above the Universal hours and the 15 hours available to 2 year olds. SCC will pay 60% of the value of the hours indicated on the Estimate Claim Form.

Balance payments:

Providers will use the Early Education Portal to claim for the children once the new term has begun, making sure that all data added to the portal is accurate. For all claims in the Early Education Portal by the end of the first month Providers will receive the balance (value of claims less the estimate payment) by approximately the 15 of the following month (or nearest working day).

Making claims in the Early Education Portal for both funding options

Children for whom providers are claiming for the first time:

Their parents will need to fill in a SCC Declaration Form. Providers should not fill in any of the child's details themselves. The form asks for details that the Department for Education need for statistical purposes. SCC use this information when assessing take up of certain family groups and for planning purposes. Providers need to be aware that they can only claim for any of the funded entitlements once a completed SCC Declaration Form has been received. Providers will use the Early Education Portal to claim for new children. Please refer to the user guide on the Early Education Portal for instructions on how to claim funding.

Children who were funded the term before, and still qualify:

These children will be on the Early Education Portal under Returning Children. Please refer to the user guide on the Early Education Portal for instructions on how to claim funding. Providers can only claim funding for a returning child if they have a SCC Declaration Form for the new funded period.

If a Provider does not have a SCC Declaration Form or the child has not attended at all in the current funding period, they cannot claim hours for them. For each child the Provider will need to state whether or not they are returning. If they are returning, the Provider will need to enter the pattern of hours that each parent has asked to be claimed for their child and confirm that the child has actually returned to the setting. This means that this cannot be done in advance.

In rare circumstances where a child is due to return, but not until part-way through a funded period, the Provider should ensure that they have a clear policy on whether the child can maintain their place with them or whether the place may be offered to another child.

If a child has moved to a new house, please update their address details.

As of the Autumn 2023 funded period, all Providers will have a term-time only Provider agreement on the portal. This is because SCC now only offers term-time funding, and it will only be possible to make a term-time claim for all children on the portal from the Autumn 2023 funded period. Providers can still choose to stretch the funded entitlement themselves, however, will need to keep a record of delivery so that parents can be informed of any over or underclaims should they make the decision to leave part way through a funded period. Where this occurs, Providers will need to enter a leavers date on the portal and can access support with reconciliation of hours from the funded early education team.

If a Provider chooses to stretch the funding themselves, they will be liable for any over or under delivery of hours should a child leave part way through a funded period or child year. In some cases, Providers may have been able to claim more hours than they have delivered and will need to ensure that their Terms and Conditions clearly outline to parents how this will be handled, for example by offering additional sessions or the hours being forfeited. Alternatively, there will be instances where the Provider will have delivered more hours for which they can claim, these hours would be chargeable for parents, and this should also be clearly detailed in the Provider's Terms and Conditions. Providers should consider the impact of chargeable hours on vulnerable and disadvantaged children and discuss alternatives with parents, such as offering that the child finish earlier than planned in order not to accrue hours that need to be paid for. Providers can contact eycommissioningteam@surreycc.gov.uk to request support with wording for their Terms and Conditions.

In the event a Provider is unable to access the portal to enter funding claims, they should contact the Funded Early Education Team immediately to avoid missing submission deadlines via email on fundedearlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk

Declaration forms

All parents must complete a SCC annual Declaration Form and ensure this is signed in each funded period. This is the Provider Agreement between the Provider and the parent for the funding and contains all the required terms and conditions. It also discloses any other Provider that the child is attending and reduces the risk of over-claims. Our annual declaration form can be found on our Providing funded early education webpage.

If there are any changes to funded hours within a funded period, a new declaration form will need to be completed as well as a change of hours form which can be found on the SCC Providing funded early education webpage.

For the first SCC Declaration Form the Provider will need to request see the child's birth certificate or passport to prove they have a date of birth which qualifies the child for a funded early education place and to show the child's legal identity. The Provider must record that they have seen and checked this documentation on the SCC Declaration Form. The Provider must also ensure that when creating a child's record in the Funded Early Education Portal that the date of birth is the same as detailed on the legal document.

The Provider must ensure that parents fill in their address and postcode and that the name of the child is their full legal name (as stated on the birth certificate or valid passport). The Provider should not complete any of the information requested on the front of the page except for the setting name and URN.

Declaration forms must be completed by the child's parent or legal guardian, within the period of claim and not prior to the funded period, for their child to claim funded early education. This must only be done once the child has attended their first funded session in the claim period.

The Provider will need to securely store the forms for seven years in case auditors want to see them. All forms should be stored locally.

The Provider is not required to store photocopies of birth certificates or passports and should not do so unless they can be stored securely. Please record the child's details accurately - any errors cause delays in the administration and payment process.

Please only use versions of the declaration form downloaded from the SCC Providing funded early education webpage, no other versions of the form should be used.

You will need to give every parent a copy of your Privacy Notice.

If a Provider is unable to claim funded entitlement for a child because the parent has not completed the SCC Declaration Form, they may wish to charge the parent their full fees.

15. Compliance

SCC reserves the right to carry out checks and/or audits on sub-contractors to ensure compliance with the requirements of delivering the funded entitlements. Providers must retain all attendance and finance records for a period of seven years.

We carry out regular Provider Agreement – Funded Entitlements Compliance Audits throughout the year with Providers in Surrey. The audit assesses the delivery of funded entitlements in accordance with statutory guidance. We review the funding model and associated documents during the audit, such as detailed below. Providers will be informed of their audit selection and the process.

SCC carry out audits of the Parental Declaration forms (Delivery of Funded Entitlements – Provider Agreement – Parental Declaration Forms Audit) as part of our routine compliance strategy and/or in response to parental or third-party complaints. SCC will review the funding claims for the specified period(s) and carry out an audit of the Parental Declaration forms. (Audit process detailed in Section 18).

Providers must comply with the audit requirements.

If an audit is carried out copies of the following documents for the relevant time period must be made available:

  • SCC Declaration Forms (and SCC registration forms for funded periods prior to autumn 17)
  • parental change of attendance forms
  • children's attendance records
  • samples of invoices/charges to parents, if applicable
  • documentation to prove the status of the setting, for example registered charity, incorporated
  • company, private owner
  • information provided to parents relating to how funded entitlement can be accessed and any charges for additional time, services or consumables
  • any other evidence that can reasonably be requested.

Providers must follow all planning guidance and have appropriate planning permission in place.

Providers must comply with all environmental health legislation.

Providers should give SCC and parents at least one month's notice in writing if they decide to stop offering the funded places.

If a Provider closes part way through a funding period, SCC requires Providers to pay back unused funding to enable children to access their funded entitlement elsewhere.

Failure to pay back SCC any monies owed within given deadlines will result in SCC implementing its corporate debt recovery policy.

16. Termination and withdrawal of funding

Suspension of registration by Ofsted or a breach of statutory requirements or safeguarding issues will result in the termination of the arrangement and withdrawal of funding.

Where a Provider has their registration suspended by Ofsted, their portal account will be suspended with immediate effect meaning that they cannot add any further claims or receive any payments. Following the suspension being lifted, the Provider will be invoiced for the funded entitlement during their period of suspension that they have already received.

SCC will withdraw Providers from the Surrey 'Directory of Providers other than in exceptional circumstances, if they, or the childminder agency they are registered with:

  • Receive an inadequate Ofsted inspection judgement (see section 10 – Quality)
  • Do not comply with the statutory framework for the EYFS 2024.
  • Do not comply with legal requirements such as health and safety.
  • Commit fraud or misappropriate funds or grants.
  • Do not complete the Spring Early Years Census by the date given.
  • Do not produce SCC Declaration forms for claims made within the Early Education Portal on request.
  • Do not comply with the fundamental British values as set out in HM Government Prevent Strategy.
  • Do not comply with actions set by SCC, resulting from a complaint made against your setting.

SCC reserves the right to act to terminate or withdraw funding even if this is not done immediately. Withdrawal from the 'Directory of Providers' means that a Provider is not able to claim funding for eligible children.

Where a Provider, other than a childminding agency (CMA), receives two consecutive Ofsted reports with an inadequate outcome, funding will be removed with immediate effect.

Where two or more settings belonging to a chain receive an inadequate outcome in short succession, this will be taken into consideration as part of the withdrawal of funding process and SCC reserve the right to withdraw funding immediately where this occurs.

The withdrawal of funding process will only be initiated for childminding agencies who receive two consecutive ineffective judgements from Ofsted as outlined in the statutory guidance for local authorities.

Where a childminding agency receives two consecutive ineffective judgements, SCC will continue to fund childminders where the CMA has assessed them as offering an acceptable quality of provision, where Ofsted have found the CMA's assessments to be acceptable.

Where a CMA has inspected one of their registered childminders and found them to not be of an acceptable quality, the withdrawal of funding process will be followed in the same way that it would following an Ofsted grading. CMAs are responsible for updating SCC on the outcome of their quality assurance visits so that withdrawal of funding can be actioned, reports should be emailed to earlyyearsadvisors@surreycc.gov.uk. SCC reserve the right to withdraw funding from childminders registered with an agency, where the agency do not provide SCC with copies of their annual quality assurance visits for all childminders operating within SCC, not just those offering funded entitlement.

Where a CMA receives two consecutive ineffective judgements, and Ofsted have deemed the CMA's quality assessments not to be acceptable, SCC reserve the right to withdraw funding from any childminder registered with the agency.

17. Appeals process (see Appendix 2)

A Provider may be denied approval to offer the funding or have their funding withdrawn as set out above. The Provider can appeal against that decision.

Providers who wish to appeal should write to SCC, within 10 working days of receiving notification of the Council's decision to withdraw funding. They should outline the grounds for appeal linked to the termination list above and give reason why they believe that they are meeting the full terms of compliance. This will then be reviewed by senior managers in line with the full appeals procedure.

The appeals procedure for withdrawal of funded early education from inadequate settings can be found in Appendix B.

18. Complaints

The Provider should ensure they have a complaints procedure in place that is published and accessible for parents who are not satisfied their child has received their funded entitlement in the correct way, as set out in this Provider Agreement and in Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities published by the Department for Education.

SCC expects that the majority of complaints will be resolved locally using the Provider's own complaints procedure.

If a parent is not satisfied that their child has received the funding in accordance with the legislation or as set out in this agreement and in the Early Education and Childcare Statutory guidance for Local Authorities, and has not been able to resolve their concern directly with their Provider, they should contact SCC at eycommissioningteam@surreycc.gov.uk. SCC will investigate the parent's complaint once the parent has authorised SCC to approach the Provider. We will require the Provider to provide relevant information or paperwork related to the parent's complaint within a specified timescale. If the review concludes that there has been a breach of the terms and conditions, then the Provider will be notified in writing of the breach with clear actions needed with timescales in which to comply. Parents will be notified of the outcome of the investigation. If the Provider fails to comply with the required actions within the timescale given, they will be formally notified of their removal from the Directory of Providers (Appendix C) through the withdrawal of funding panel process. Providers can appeal against the decision to remove them from the Directory of Providers using the appeals procedure (Appendix B).

If you have a concern or a complaint about how SCC are administrating the funding or about a member of the team please follow the SCC's complaints procedure.

If a parent or Provider is not satisfied with the way in which their complaint has been dealt with by SCC or believes SCC has acted unreasonably, they can make a complaint to the Local Authority Ombudsman. Such complaints will only be considered when the local complaints procedures have been exhausted.

Early Years FEE funding complaints and Compliance process

Stage 1 Enquiry received

Enquiry received by the Early Years Commissioning Team. The query will be logged. An initial email will be sent to the enquirer to confirm the Local Authority Statutory duty and explain next steps and process when dealing with a funding query. In the first instance we will request the enquirer discuss their query with their Provider. If at this stage the enquirer is not satisfied with the Provider response or has already approached their provider, they can request for a member of the Commissioning Team to assess and investigate.

If the parent resolves the issue with the Provider the query will be closed at this stage, if not, the query moves to Stage 2.

Stage 2 Gathering information

The enquirer (Parent/Legal Guardian) must provide written authorisation for the Early Years Commissioning Team to approach the Provider and disclose the nature of the enquiry and who has made the enquiry, there may be exceptional circumstance whereby naming the enquirer would not be appropriate and a decision to maintain their privacy will be made.

The EY Commissioning Team will request from the enquirer relevant information, such as invoices, Terms and Conditions, Provider/parent contracts, relevant communication and/or literature from the Provider relating to the query.

The EY Commissioning team will review available information and research further where needed.

If the EY Commissioning Team can establish and conclude the query at this point, they will write to the enquirer via email to provide an outcome and reasoning. The enquiry will be closed at this stage, if not, move to Stage 3.

Stage 3 Meeting with Provider

The investigating officer will contact the provider's management and discuss the nature of the query and the enquirer. The provider will be informed of the Local Authority role and statutory duty and the process for investigations. The initial conversation may include a request for further information and documents and give the provider the opportunity to respond to the query. The investigating officer may require a follow up meeting with the provider to establish all information to conclude the investigation.

Once meetings and/or discussions concluded move to Stage 4.

Stage 4 Analyse information against regulations

The investigating officer will analyse the information, apply to regulations, and conclude the enquiry. The outcome and reasoning will be communicated via email with both the enquirer and the provider and include any necessary actions where applicable.

If either party, the enquirer, or provider are not satisfied with the outcome they can write to the Commissioning Manager stating the reason they wish this to be reviewed. The Commissioning Manager will consider all information and conclude their review, once concluded the outcome will be communicated in writing via email.

Both parties will be given the link to Surrey County Council Complaints Process, should they require it.

Stage 5 Review and further actions

If a provider was given actions, the Commissioning Team will review these actions. If provider has failed to comply with actions set within the timescale, without sufficient reasoning, the situation will be referred to the Commissioning Manager for a Compliance Notice, further non-compliance could result in the provider being removed from the Directory of Providers.

Delivery of Funded Entitlement – Provider Agreement – Parental Declaration Forms Audit Process

Provider identified for audit

Enquiry received by the Early Years (EY) Commissioning Team. The query will be logged. A SCC officer will assess the query and make initial reviews of the Funded Early Education Portal. The Provider will be contacted to inform them of the audit and to request Declaration forms for the specified period(s). An initial assessment of the Declaration forms and the Provider portal claim will be undertaken, and any discrepancies identified. The SCC officer will communicate and/or meet with the provider to discuss outcome of initial assessment. If no further action required, the audit to close at this stage. If discrepancies or further investigation required, the Provider will be informed of the next stage of the process.

Audit

SCC will contact parents/legal guardians of children with a funding claim for the specified period(s) and request their consent to the audit. A SCC officer will contact parents/legal guardians who provided authorisation to contact them and carry out the audit. A scripted audit questionnaire will be followed, and the parent's responses recorded. The information provided will be assessed against the Parental Declaration form and the claim made on the Funded Early Education Portal. The auditing officer(s) will collate the information collected during the audit to present findings to EY Commissioning management.

Next steps and further action

If there are no discrepancies identified, SCC will write to the Provider with details of the audit and the outcome. The audit will be closed at this stage. If discrepancies are identified, the auditing officer and EY Commissioning Management will meet to discuss findings and next steps. At this stage, the audit can be extended to include other funded periods and/or other settings within the Providers organisation. The same audit process will be followed to review claims and contact parents and conclusions reached. Throughout the audit process, where deemed necessary the Provider's portal account maybe suspended or restrictions applied.

Audit outcome

Where discrepancies between the funding claimed and the funding delivery have been established, SCC will write to the Provider with the outcome and invoice to reclaim any overpaid hours. The Provider will be given the opportunity to provide any relevant documents to rebut the incorrect claim, this will be reviewed and considered, and the outcome will be communicated with the Provider. If the audit establishes the Provider has underclaimed for the funded entitlement within the audited funded period, SCC will consider whether payment for these hours can be backdated. Where further actions have been indicated the audit findings will be referred to a panel of senior leaders chaired by a director to decide the further action required.

Panel outcome

A panel of SCC senior leaders will be convened to discuss the audit findings and decide the actions, including but not limited to: Issuance of Advisory or Compliance Notices including actions and timeframes, restrictions and suspensions placed upon the Providers Portal Account and removal from the Directory of Providers. The Provider will be informed of the outcome within 10 working days of the panel meeting. Where necessary SCC will make a referral to the relevant regulatory bodies and authorities. If a Provider wishes to appeal against the decision to remove from the Directory of Providers, they can do so by following the Appeals Process detailed in Appendix B.

19. Data protection

Definitions

"Data Controller" has the meaning given to that term in the Data Protection Legislation in force from time to time;

"Data Processor" has the meaning given to that term in the Data Protection Legislation in force from time to time;

"Data Protection Impact Assessment" an assessment carried out pursuant to Article 35 of the General Data Protection Regulation;

"Data Protection Legislation" the Data Protection Act 2018, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 the General Data Protection Regulation and any legislation implemented in connection with the General Data Protection Regulation and any replacement legislation coming into effect from time to time and all applicable laws and regulations relating to the processing of personal data and privacy, including where applicable the guidance and codes of practice issued by the Information Commissioner;

"Data Security Breach" any breach of security or confidentiality leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, Personal Data;

"Data Subject" has the meaning given to that term in the Data Protection Legislation in force from time to time;

"General Data Protection Regulation "or "GDPR" Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data;

"Information Commissioner's Office" the office of the Information Commissioner, being the regulator appointed in the UK as the data protection supervisory authority;

"Personal Data" has the meaning given to that term in the Data Protection Legislation in force from time to time;

Data protection

Both Parties shall procure that its representatives shall, duly observe all their obligations under the Data Protection Legislation, which arise in connection with the performance of this Provider Agreement. The Service Provider shall perform its obligations under this Provider Agreement in such a way as to ensure that it does not cause the Council to breach any of its applicable obligations under the Data Protection Legislation. The Service Provider shall be liable for and shall indemnify (and keep indemnified) the Council against each and every action, proceeding, liability, cost, claim, loss, expense (including reasonable legal fees and disbursements on a solicitor and client basis) and demands incurred by the Council which arise directly from a breach by the Service Provider of its obligations under the Data Protection Legislation, including without limitation those arising out of any third party demand, claim or action, or any breach of Provider Agreement, negligence, fraud, wilful misconduct, breach of statutory duty or non-compliance Funded Early Education - Provider Agreement Sept 23 – Mar 24 Page 30 with any part of the Data Protection Legislation by the Service Provider or its employees, servants, agents or sub-contractors.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Council shall provide documentary evidence to the Service Provider before it can make a claim under this clause in relation to any third party action. The Service Provider agrees that it shall enter into a data sharing agreement with the Council if required to do so at the Council's absolute discretion so as to set out the Parties obligations in relation to any Personal Data which may be shared between the Parties. The provisions of this clause 19 shall apply during the continuance of the Provider Agreement and indefinitely after its expiry or termination.

Data processor obligations

With respect to the Parties' rights and obligations under this Provider Agreement, the Parties agree that the Council is the Data Controller and that the Service Provider is the Data Processor. A description of the Personal Data processed by the Service Provider and the processing activities undertaken by the Service Provider is set out in the Data Processing Activities set out in clause 19.1.

In respect of Personal Data that the Service Provider processes on behalf of the Council in connection with this Provider Agreement, the Service Provider shall and shall procure that its representatives shall:

  • solely process the Personal Data for the purposes of fulfilling its obligations under this Provider Agreement and in compliance with the Council's written instructions as set out in this Provider Agreement and as may be specified from time to time in writing by the Council;
  • notify the Council immediately if any instructions of the Council relating to the processing of Personal Data are unlawful;
  • not transfer to or access any Personal Data from a country outside of the United Kingdom without the prior written consent of the Council; 19.3.4
  • comply with the Council's instructions in relation to transfers of Personal Data to a country outside of the United Kingdom unless the Service Provider is required pursuant to applicable laws to transfer Personal Data outside the United Kingdom, in which case the Service Provider shall inform the Council in writing of the relevant legal requirement before any such transfer occurs unless the relevant law prohibits such notification on important grounds of public interest;
  • take reasonable steps to ensure the reliability of any Staff who have access to the Personal Data and ensure that all Staff used by the Service Provider to process Personal Data are subject to legally binding obligations of confidentiality in relation to the Personal Data;
  • ensure that none of the Service Provider's Staff publish, disclose or divulge any of the Personal Data to any third party unless directed in writing to do so by the Council;
  • not engage any sub-contractor to carry out any processing of Personal Data without the prior written consent of the Council provided that notwithstanding any such consent the Service Provider shall remain liable for compliance with all the requirements of this Provider Agreement including in relation to the processing of Personal Data;
  • ensure that obligations equivalent to the obligations set out in this clause 19 are included in all Provider Agreements between the Service Provider and permitted sub-contractor who will be processing Personal Data and who have been approved in accordance with clause;
  • take appropriate technical and organisational measures against unauthorised or unlawful processing of Personal Data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, Personal Data taking into account the harm that might result from such unauthorised or unlawful processing, loss, destruction or Funded Early Education - Provider Agreement September 2023 to March 2024 Page 31 damage and the nature of the Personal Data to be protected including without limitation, all such measures that may be required to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Legislation;
  • upon request provide a written description of the technical and organisational measures employed by the Service Provider (within the timescales required by the Council) and if the Council does not consider that such measures are adequate to enable compliance with the Data Protection Legislation, implement such additional measures as may be specified by the Council (acting reasonably) to ensure compliance;
  • taking into account the nature of the data processing activities undertaken by the Service Provider, provide, at no cost to the Council, all possible assistance and co-operation (including without limitation putting in place appropriate technical and organisational measures) to enable the Council to fulfil its obligations to respond to requests from individuals exercising their rights under the Data Protection Legislation, including (without limitation):
  • notifying the Council within two (2) Working Days, of receiving any request from a Data Subject exercising their rights under the Data Protection Legislation;
  • complying with the Council's instructions in relation to complying with the Data Subject's rights under the Data Protection Legislation, which may include (without limitation) providing notices to Data Subjects in a format specified by the Council, rectifying inaccurate Personal Data, ceasing or restricting processing of Personal Data, providing access to Personal Data, permanently deleting or securely destroying Personal Data and providing copies of Personal Data in a format specified by the Council;
  • maintain a record of the Service Provider's processing activities in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Legislation;
  • assist the Council, at no cost to the Council, in ensuring compliance with the obligations set out in Articles 32 to 36 (inclusive) of the GDPR (or any equivalent legislation in the UK or any subsequent legislation) taking into account the nature of the data processing undertaken by the Service Provider and the information available to the Service Provider, including (without limitation):
  • providing information and assistance upon request to enable the Council to notify Data Security Breaches to the Information Commissioner's and/or to affected individuals and/or to any other regulators to whom the Council is required to notify any Data Security Breaches; and
  • providing input into and carrying out Data Protection Impact Assessments in relation to the Service Provider's data processing activities;
  • ensure that it has in place appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure that processing of Personal Data carried out by the Service Provider in connection with this Provider Agreement meets the requirements of the Data Protection Legislation and ensures protection of the rights of individuals under the Data Protection Legislation;
  • notify the Council immediately and in any event within twenty-four (24) hours in writing if:
  • the Service Provider or any sub-contractor engaged by or on behalf of the Service Provider suffers a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, Personal Data; or
  • the Service Provider or any sub-contractor engaged by or on behalf of the Service Provider receives any Data Security Breach notification, complaint, notice or communication which relates directly or indirectly to the processing of the Personal Data or to either party's compliance with the Data Protection Legislation, and in each case the Service Provider shall provide full co-operation, information and assistance to the Council in relation to any such Data Security Breach, complaint, notice or communication at no cost to the Council;
  • upon termination of this Provider Agreement, at the discretion of and at no cost to the Council, delete securely or return all Personal Data to the Council and delete all existing copies of the Personal Data unless and to the extent that the Service Provider is required to retain copies of the Personal Data in accordance with applicable laws.
  • make available to the Council at no cost to the Council all information necessary to demonstrate compliance with the obligations set out in this clause and, upon request, allow the Council, the Information Commissioner's Office and its representatives access to the Service Provider's Premises, records and Personnel for the purposes of assessing the Service Provider's compliance with its obligations under clause; and
  • indemnify the Council from and against all costs, expenses (including legal and other professional fees and expenses), losses, damages and other liabilities or whatever nature (whether contractual, tortious or otherwise) suffered or incurred by the Council and arising out of or in connection with any breach by the Service Provider or any sub-contractor of this clause. For the avoidance of doubt, the Council shall provide documentary evidence to the Service Provider before it can make a claim under this clause in relation to any third-party action.

The provisions of this clause shall apply during the continuance of the Provider Agreement and indefinitely after its expiry or termination.

Council data on service provider's IT system(s)

The Service Provider shall:

  • take all reasonable precautions and use all reasonable endeavours to preserve the integrity of any Council Data or other data which it stores and/or processes on behalf of the Council and to prevent any corruption or loss of such data and to have in place an appropriate archiving and back-up policy;
  • follow its detailed archiving procedures (as appropriate);
  • in the event of any corruption of or loss or damage to the Council Data, use all reasonable endeavours to restore the lost or damaged Council Data, at its own expense, from the latest back-up of such Council Data maintained by the Service Provider in accordance with the archiving procedure described in its archiving and back-up policy or, where the Council Data has not been restored by the Service Provider within ten (10) Working Days, at the Council's option, promptly reimburse the Council for any reasonable expenses it incurs in having the Council Data restored by a third party;
  • be responsible for any loss, destruction, alteration or disclosure of Council Data caused by itself and any of its sub-contractor, including (but not limited to) any third Parties sub-contractor by the Service Provider to perform services related to Council Data maintenance and back-up; and
  • in providing the Services, have in place and comply with its privacy and security policy relating to the privacy and security of the Council Data, such policy to include measures equal to or broadly comparable with the relevant provisions of the Council's Data in Transit Policy. The Service Provider shall provide a copy of its privacy and security policy to the Council upon request and wherever such policy is updated by the Service Provider from time to time and shall take into account any comments the Council has on such policy.

The Council has completed the information below and the Service Provider shall only process Personal Data in accordance with this clause 19:

Category of Data-Name, age, DOB, Address, Family Composition, Medical Information, GP address, School, Education reports, Child Looked After placement history, Legal Status, Child Protection History, Behaviour, Interests and Strengths, Allegations/Complaints, Risk Assessments, Placement History. Equalities data will also be collected to monitor the new service against the protected characteristics, age, disability, race. Key contacts information for Looked After Children At times Special Data such as Ethnic Origin and Health details may need to be shared. In some instances, sensitive data regarding safeguarding concerns may need to be shared.

Category of Data Subject- Children and Young People and Parent/Carers

Processing Operations- Initial referral data, including Name, Age, DOB, Address, Family Composition, Medical Information, GP address, School, Education reports, Child Looked After placement history, Legal Status, Child Protection History, Behaviour, Interests and Strengths, Allegations/Complaints, Risk Assessments, Placement History. Provider will hold data on Case Files (electronic and paper) Data shared as appropriate with other professionals Information may be shared over the telephone, via secure e-mail (Egress) and by letter.

Location of Processing Operations-United Kingdom

Identity of sub-contractors- Not applicable

Purposes- Student data will need to be shared for Education, Health and Care Plans, for planning and placing in schools and colleges in future and in some instances to share with Health and Social Care departments.

Duration

The Parties shall enter into a Data Processing Agreement.

20. Safeguarding in employment

The Service Provider shall maintain and keep up to date appropriate policies on child protection. These policies shall comply with any legislative and registration/regulatory requirements, Department of Health guidelines and also with policies, procedures and guidelines issued by the Council. The Service Provider shall ensure that these policies, procedures and guidelines are communicated to staff and that appropriate training is provided to staff in relation to them.

The Service Provider must have in place comprehensive procedures for reporting of and managing allegations against staff which demonstrates the promotion of the safety and welfare of children and are compliant with statutory requirements. The Service Provider must be able to evidence safe and robust recruitment procedures and practice for all staff working with children and/or adults at risk. The Service Provider shall ensure that staff know about and comply with the requirements to make accurate, factual and contemporaneous records to ensure compliance with this clause 20.2. The Service Provider shall comply with the Council Safeguarding procedures in relation to this clause 20.2 details of which are available using the following links and may be amended from time to time and notified to the Service Provider:

The Service Provider should fulfil its legal obligations in relation to carrying out Criminal Records Checks and checking Staff through the DBS or Disclosure Scotland (as appropriate) and the relevant national or local safeguarding authority, where necessary and appropriate and complete a risk assessment form in respect of each Staff member when making decisions in relation to convictions revealed by the Criminal Records Check.

The Service Provider is required to pay the full cost of any such registration and related costs. The Service Provider acknowledges that the Council has legal responsibilities under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) ("SVG") and that the Service Provider must check the Protection of Children Act list and comply with all other relevant Law in relation to safeguarding children and shall provide such evidence of compliance with this clause as the Council shall reasonably require. If it is a requirement of the Provider Agreement for the staff member to be registered with the DBS Update Service, the Service Provider shall be responsible for ensuring that the staff member maintains their annual subscription of the DBS Update Service.

The Service Provider shall nominate and name a designated safeguarding lead and make arrangements during the provision of the Services under this Provider Agreement to ensure that it complies with the provisions of the SVG.

The designated senior officer or manager referred to in clause 20.5 above shall comply with the provisions of "Working together" for safeguarding children, in dealing with allegations of abuse made against the Service Provider's employees who work with children. The Service Provider shall have in place a safeguarding policy.

The Service Provider shall be entirely responsible for the employment and conditions of service of its staff and all obligations relating thereto. In addition to the pre-employment checks to be carried out under this clause, the Service Provider shall ensure that suitable references reflecting the staff member's suitability to work with children and/or vulnerable adults are taken up as part of the recruitment process. All staff members proposed for the Service shall be subject to an appropriate Criminal Records Check, which should be carried out and results obtained prior to the staff member being employed in connection with the Service. Should an adverse entry be revealed as a result of the Criminal Records Check and/or should any convictions including those that would otherwise be spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 be revealed, the Service Provider shall notify the Council's Manager of these immediately. The Council shall have a right to veto the employment or engagement of any staff member proposed for the Service as a result of the adverse entry/convictions, but not unreasonably or vexatiously.

The Service Provider shall use one of the following methods for the advice, processing and storage of each Criminal Records Check:

  • by the Service Provider directly (if DBS registered); or
  • through an external DBS umbrella body; or
  • through the Council's DBS Umbrella Body.

The Service Provider shall comply with and observe all relevant Law in relation to Criminal Records Checks and follow all recommendations and general guidance issued including by any Central Government Department on Criminal Records Checks and carrying out Criminal Records Checks in relation to any person engaged in a role that meet the previous definition of Regulated Activity as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, and in Police Act Regulations, when deciding whether the outcome of the Criminal Records Check is satisfactory and whether the individual concerned is suitable to carry out the role in connection with the Services.

The Service Provider shall store the record of the disclosure securely within the Service Provider's organisation in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and DBS Code of Practice.

If visits are taking place as part of the recruitment process, potential staff of the Service Provider must be accompanied by a member of staff at all times.

The Service Provider must have a robust system which evidences that when staff are suspended or dismissed and safeguarding children and/or vulnerable adults guidance including government guidance is followed and relevant professional bodies informed in the event of non-compliance. The Service Provider will ensure that it has appropriate procedures in place that support:

  • the immediate reporting to the Local Authority Designated Officer of concerns and details of any incidents and/or convictions in relation to staff members; and
  • other action necessary to support the Council's policies, including the possible mandatory participation in child protection meetings and actions.
  • The Service Provider shall have codes of conduct in place for all staff.
  • The Service Provider must provide evidence of robust and effective complaints and whistle-blowing policies including a guarantee to staff (and parents where applicable) that using these complaints and/or whistle blowing procedures appropriately will not prejudice their own position and prospects.

If abuse of an individual is taking or has taken place or is suspected the Service Provider must comply with the "duty to refer" by immediately notifying the Council Manager as well as the Service Provider's representative and should consider suspension of the staff member(s) and take emergency measures (for example, inform police/seek medical assessment/treatment (as appropriate)). The Service Provider must, as far as is practicable, preserve any evidence but may not commence any investigation until authorised to do so by the Council Manager. The Service Provider must also notify the DBS and/or Disclosure Scotland (as appropriate) if a staff member is dismissed or removed from working in connection with the Services for the reasons described in the "Duty to Refer" section of the DBS website.

Requests for Information from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The Council shall be entitled under its duty to the DBS to respond to requests from the DBS for further information already held by the Council in relation to the staff.

The Service Provider shall respond to requests from the Council within a reasonable time about Criminal Records Checks in relation to the staff and shall cooperate with the Council to enable the Council to comply with its duty to the DBS.

Failure by the Service Provider to comply with the safeguarding provisions of this clause shall entitle the Council to terminate the Provider Agreement and claw back the early years entitlement funding.

21. General

No person who is not a Party to this Provider Agreement shall have any right to enforce any term of this Provider Agreement, which expressly or by implication, confers a benefit on him without the prior consent in writing of both Parties. This clause does not affect any right or remedy of any person which exists or is available otherwise than pursuant to the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

The Service Provider acknowledges that the Council is subject to the requirements under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the "Act") and the Environment Information Regulations 2004 (the "Regulations") and shall cooperate with the Council (at the Service Provider's expense) to enable the Council to comply with these information disclosure requirements.

The Courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with this Provider Agreement.

22. Contact details

Local Authority Ombudsman

Appendix 1: Inadequate process

Process and support for withdrawal of funded early education

The purpose of the panel is to set a timeframe to withdraw the Provider from the Surrey Directory of Providers.

Inadequate or 2nd ineffective inspection/ quality report published.

Provider advised not to offer places to new funded children when notification is made to SCC either by Ofsted, the Provider or Childminder Agency (CMA). This can be prior to published report. A Team Around The setting (TATs) meeting is arranged and the offer of support process implemented.

Provider invited to panel within 6 weeks of report publication

A letter is sent advising the Provider of time, date and venue of the panel. The Provider is given the opportunity to submit evidence including progression against Ofsted/ CMA outcomes, action plans, information given to parents and training plans. Submission is required two working days before panel.

Early Years Advisor/CMA and EY Commissioning Officer prepare evidence

The Senior Early Years Advisor (SEYA) or CMA prepares evidence of engagement, support provided and actions taken by Provider. SCC Early Years (EY) Commissioning Team prepare a sufficiency assessment for immediate area. Submission required two working days before panel.

Panel convened at least 10 working days after issue of letter

Panel to include a minimum of three senior managers taken from the EY Educational Effectiveness and Commissioning teams. The Head of Commissioning or Service Manager for Educational Effectiveness to chair.

Panel process

  1. Chair introduces panel members.
  2. SEYA or CMA presents evidence.
  3. Provider presents evidence.
  4. Panel, SEYA and/or CMA and Provider discussion.
  5. SEYA/CMA & Provider leave.
  6. Panel reviews evidence and makes decision re timeframe.
  7. Provider informed of decision in two working days. A letter follows within five working days

Appeal to include panel of three senior managers and one representative from original panel

Provider advised of right to appeal within 10 working days. Appeals procedure followed. Provider advised outcome within three days of appeal panel.

Funding withdrawn

Provider informed of funding withdrawal date. Provider informs parents of funded children of the intention to withdraw funding. Funded Early Education team and Family Information team informed of decision to ensure parents are supported and no further payments are made beyond the agreed timeframe.

Procedure for withdrawal of funded early education from inadequate Providers

The purpose of this document is to describe how Surrey County Council will fulfil its statutory duty to withdrawal funding for early education from settings that are judged by Ofsted to be inadequate, for childminder agencies deemed ineffective and for childminders registered with a childminding agency assessed as not offering a suitable quality of childcare.

Our statutory responsibilities in this regard are clear, as set in Section A3.13 of the Early Education and childcare statutory guidance for local authorities. This states that local authorities should:

Secure alternative provision and withdraw funding from a Provider (other than a local authority maintained school), as soon as is practicable, when Ofsted publish an inspection judgement of the Provider of 'inadequate' or when Ofsted publish a second consecutive inspection judgement of a childminder agency of 'ineffective'. Following a second consecutive 'ineffective' inspection judgement, local authorities should continue to fund the childminder agency's Providers if the childminder agency has assessed them as being of acceptable quality and Ofsted has not identified any concerns about the childminder agency's assessment arrangements, and should endeavour to treat all of the childminder agency's other Providers in a comparable way to Ofsted-registered providers with equivalent judgements. Subject to this, it is for local authorities to determine an appropriate timeframe for withdrawing funding. When withdrawing funding, local authorities should take into account the continuity of care for children who are already receiving their funded hours at a Provider or with an agency registered childminder and Ofsted monitoring information about the Provider or agency.

Surrey County Council is committed to ensuring that children in Surrey are able to access the highest standards of early education and childcare provision. This means that we will take action to support Providers when a judgement of inadequate or ineffective is issued by Ofsted, but we will also withdraw funding in line with our statutory responsibilities.

As per the statutory guidance, SCC will follow the same process for withdrawal of funding for childminders registered with an agency who are deemed not to meet appropriate quality standards through the agency quality assurance process.

When an Ofsted judgement of inadequate is received by a Surrey setting or a childminder operating in Surrey registered with an agency is deemed by the agency not to be meeting acceptable quality standards, the Early Years Educational Effectiveness Team and Early Years Commissioning Team will write to a Provider with an offer of support. Initially support will take the form of a team around the setting meeting. In this meeting a support plan will be developed to address the issues highlighted by Ofsted or the agency, which could include developing an action plan and implementing a Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements audit. This will depend upon the actions required by Ofsted or the agency.

The SCC Early Years Commissioning and Early Years Educational Effectiveness Teams will work collaboratively with childminder agencies who have assessed a Surrey childminder as not being of an acceptable quality.

The formal process to decide the timeframe to deregister the Provider from the Surrey Directory of Providers and withdraw funded entitlement funding will begin after the Ofsted or childminder agency quality assurance report is published. For childminder agencies, the process will begin after the publication of a second ineffective Ofsted report, as per DfE guidance. Please note that Surrey County Council does not waive its statutory responsibility to withdraw funding, as required by statutory guidance, if it does not act immediately or in line with the timeframes and process set out in this document.

Process

Once notification is received by Surrey County Council from Ofsted, the Provider or a CMA, the Provider will be advised against offering a place to any additional funded children until after the formal process to withdraw funding is complete. This is to ensure that new children do not have to go through a settling in procedure to be then moved once funding is withdrawn.

A panel to decide the timeframe in which to withdraw funding will be convened at least 10 working days after the Provider is sent a letter inviting them to the panel meeting. The Provider is given the opportunity, prior to the panel meeting to submit any evidence they wish to relate to areas such as:

  • progress they feel they have made in responding to their Ofsted outcomes;
  • action plans, including time frames, for addressing the issues in their Ofsted report; and
  • training to support improvement.

The Provider must also provide a copy of the information given to current and perspective parents regarding the inspection outcome. If no evidence is received to demonstrate that parents have been informed of the Ofsted or CMA inspection outcome, Surrey County Council will write directly to parents and carers claiming funded early education hours at the setting.

For Providers registered directly with Ofsted, the Senior Early Years Advisor responsible for the area will also collate the following information to present at the panel:

  • evidence of engagement by the Provider;
  • support provided by Surrey County Council; and
  • action taken by the Provider

For childminders registered with a CMA, the agency will be responsible for collating this information and will be asked to share this at panel.

A sufficiency assessment of funded childcare places within the immediate area of the setting will also be carried out by the Early Years Commissioning Team for the panel to consider at the meeting.

The Provider should confirm attendance at the panel and submit all evidence at least two working days before the panel date.

The panel will consist of a minimum of three senior managers from Early Years Educational Effectiveness Team, Early Years Commissioning Team and SEND Team, including either the Head of Commissioning or Service Manager for Educational Effectiveness who will chair the meeting. The panel will consider the evidence and make the decision as to the timeframe for withdrawal of funding.

There are three options for withdrawal of funding available to the panel as follows:

  • Withdraw funding with immediate effect.
  • Withdraw funding at the end of the current funded period (or the following half-term, should there be insufficient time to give parents due notice); or
  • Withdraw funding following notification of the outcome of the next Ofsted inspection, should the setting receive a second inadequate.

The outcome of the panel will be conveyed to the Provider within two working days and a formal letter sent to the Provider within five working days. The Provider should inform parents of the intention to withdraw funding and associated timescales.

The Provider will have 10 working days from the issue of the letter to appeal the decision about the timescale for funding withdrawal. Please note that there is no option to appeal against the Local Authority's statutory duty to withdraw funding from inadequate settings. Any appeal should clearly set out the grounds for contesting the decision about when funding would be withdrawn and be made in writing to the Director of Commissioning at Surrey County Council.

A panel to include the Director of Commissioning as Chair and two other senior managers will be convened. One member of the original panel will be present to explain the process followed and rationale behind the decision taken by the Withdrawal of Funding Panel. The appeal will be considered, and the Provider will be notified of the appeals panel decision within three working days.

Should the Provider choose not to appeal, or if the decision is upheld by the Appeal Panel, the Provider must write to the parents of the children claiming their funded early education hours at the setting to advise them that funding is being withdrawn and the related timescales.

If the Provider receives an Ofsted inspection or a repeat quality assurance visit from a CMA before the funding is withdrawn and the inspection outcome is no longer inadequate or of the equivalent quality standard of the CMA, then the Provider will continue to receive funding and will remain on the Surrey Directory of Providers.

If the Provider receives an Ofsted inspection before the funding is withdrawn and the inspection outcome remains inadequate, the Provider and parents of children whose children are claiming their funded entitlement with the Provider will be written to, informing them that funding will be removed with immediate effect. This also applies where a CMA completes a second quality assurance visit and the quality continues not to be deemed acceptable.

If an Ofsted inspection outcome of effective, requires improvement or above is received after the funding has been withdrawn, the Provider will need to re-register on the Surrey Directory of Providers following the standard process. This also applies where an agency childminder receives a quality assurance report of an acceptable level of quality, following the withdrawal of funding.

Where two or more settings belonging to a chain receive an inadequate outcome in short succession, this will be taken into consideration as part of the withdrawal of funding process and SCC reserve the right to withdraw funding immediately where this occurs.

Where a childminding agency receive two consecutive ineffective Ofsted judgements, where the quality assurance process is also deemed not to be acceptable, SCC reserve the right to withdraw funding from any childminder registered with the agency based on the information available.

Appendix 2: Appeals process

Process for appeal following withdrawal of funded early education

Provider informed of panel outcome

Provider informed of panel decision within two working days. Letter follows within 5 working days. Provider advised of right to appeal within 10 working days in writing to the Director of Commissioning. Provider given opportunity to submit relevant information and state the grounds for appeal.

Appeal panel arranged to include Director of Commissioning and two senior managers

Director of Commissioning (Chair) and two senior managers appointed to hear the appeal who were not members of the original panel. Provider informed of the appeal panel date but does not attend the meeting.

Provider submits grounds for appeal and panel information reviewed

Information submitted that outlines response to outstanding points and grounds for appeal within the 10 working day period. One manager from the original panel invited to provide information regarding original decision and answer questions regarding process followed.

Panel process

  1. Chair outlines original panel outcome.
  2. Information provided by original panel member.
  3. Decision process reviewed.
  4. Grounds for appeal reviewed.
  5. Appeal panel decision recorded.

Appeal decision

Summary of decision and minutes of original panel and appeals panel reviewed. Provider informed of appeal panel decision by letter within five working days.

Decision is upheld

Provider informed of funding withdrawal date. Provider informs parents of funded children of date when funding will be withdrawn. Funded Early Education Team and Family Information team informed of decision to ensure parents are supported and no further payments are made beyond agreed date. Provider is offered support from the SCC Commissioning team.

Decision is not upheld

Provider is offered support package dependant on need. Continue working with SCC on action plan (for settings with an Ofsted Inadequate outcome.)

Appeals procedure for withdrawal of funded early education from inadequate Providers

It is a legal requirement under Section A3.13 of the "Early Education and Childcare Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities" that local authorities should:

"Secure alternative provision and withdraw funding from a Provider (other than a local authority maintained school), as soon as is practicable, when Ofsted publish an inspection judgement of the provider of 'inadequate' or an inspection judgement of a childminder agency of 'not effective'. It is for local authorities to determine an appropriate timeframe for withdrawing funding. When withdrawing funding local authorities should take into account the continuity of care for children who are already receiving their funded hours at a Provider or with an agency registered childminder and Ofsted monitoring information about the Provider or agency.''

Whilst the statutory duty on local authorities to withdraw funding from provision that is judged to be inadequate is clear and cannot be changed, the local authority does have discretion in relation to the timing of when funding will be withdrawn, taking into consideration continuity of care for children who are already receiving funded hours at the setting. This document sets out the grounds on which a Provider may appeal the decision, related to the time frame for withdrawal of funding, taken by Surrey County Council's Withdrawal of Funding Panel and the procedure that will be followed in conducting the appeal.

All Providers will be informed of the decision that has been made regarding the timing of withdrawal of funding within two working days of the Withdrawal of Funding Panel and have this formally confirmed by letter within 5 working days. This letter will inform notify them of their right to appeal the decision should they wish to.

Grounds for an appeal

An appeal can be made in relation to the decision about the timing of withdrawal of funding on one or both of the following grounds:

  • On the merits of the panel's decision. For example, the panel did not act reasonably or failed to take into account relevant information presented
  • That the Council did not follow its published procedure in conducting the Withdrawal of Funding Panel process.

Exercising the right to appeal

Appeals must be submitted within 10 working days of notification of the Council's decision to withdraw funding to the Director of Commissioning.

They can be contacted in writing to: Director of Commissioning, Surrey County Council, Quadrant Court, 35 Guildford Road, Woking, GU22 7QQ

The appeal must state the grounds for the appeal and give as much information as possible to assist the panel in their decision whether or not to uphold the appeal.

Consideration of appeals

Once the notification of the appeal is received by the Director of Commissioning the following process applies:

  • An appeals panel composed of the Director of Commissioning (Chair) and two senior managers will consider all appeals. These managers must not have been involved in the original Withdrawal of Funding Panel.
  • One manager from the original withdrawal of funding panel will be invited to attend the appeal panel meeting to provide information regarding the original decision and answer questions regarding the process followed by the panel. This manager will not participate in deciding the outcome of the appeal.
  • The appeal panel members will consider information provided by the panel member, the formal correspondence sent to the Provider and the minutes of the original panel and review the decision process and grounds for appeal.
  • The appeal panel members will then record whether the appeal is upheld or not upheld.
  • The appeals panel will inform the Provider of its decision and findings in writing within five working days following the appeal meeting.
  • If the decision about the timing of withdrawal of funding is upheld Surrey County Council will write to the parents of the children claiming their funded early education hours at the setting to advise them that funding is being withdrawn and the related timescales. These letters will be sent out within 5 working days of the appeal panel.
  • If a Provider receives an Ofsted inspection before the funding is withdrawn and the inspection outcome is no longer inadequate then the funding will continue with the Provider.
  • If the decision on timing of withdrawal of funding is not upheld, the Appeal will set an alternative timeframe for withdrawal of funding – this will either be at the end of the current term or at the point when the Provider's next Ofsted inspection judgement is published, assuming that this remains an inadequate outcome. Surrey County Council will continue to offer a support package dependant on need and the Provider will continue working with Surrey County Council to deliver their improvement action plan.

Appendix 3: failure to comply with a compliance notice

Process for withdrawal of funded early education

The purpose of the panel is to set a timeframe to withdraw the Provider from the Surrey Directory of Providers.

Deadline date for action passed from the compliance notice

Provider advised not to offer places to new funded children.

Provider invited to panel within 6 weeks of the compliance deadline date

Letter sent advising Provider of time date of the panel. Provider given opportunity to submit evidence including progress towards actions set and/or why action could not be met within the timeframe. Submission required two working days before panel.

EY Senior Commissioning Officer prepare evidence

Senior Commissioning Officer (SCO) prepares evidence of communication, meetings, following Compliance process. SCC Early Years (EY) Commissioning Team prepare sufficiency assessment for immediate area. Submission required two working days before panel.

Panel convened at least 10 working days after issue of letter

Panel to include a minimum of three senior managers taken from the EY support teams and Head of Commissioning or Service Manager

Panel process

  1. Chair introduces panel members.
  2. SCO presents evidence.
  3. Providers evidence is presented.
  4. Panel reviews evidence and makes decision regarding timeframe for compliance and/or withdrawal of funding.
  5. Provider informed of decision in two working days. Letter follows within 5 working days.

Appeal to include panel of three senior managers and one representative from original panel

Provider advised of right to appeal within 10 working days. Appeals procedure followed. Provider advised outcome within 5 days of appeal panel.

Funding withdrawn

Provider informed of funding withdrawal date. Provider informs parents of funded children of intention to withdraw funding. Funded Early Education team and Family Information Service informed of decision to ensure parents are supported and no further payments are made beyond the agreed timeframe.

Appendix 4: frequently asked questions

What happens to funding when a child starts school?

A child reaches statutory school age at the beginning of the first term after their fifth birthday (1 January, 1 April or 1 September). At this age they no longer qualify for any of the funded entitlements. SCC offers most children the opportunity of starting reception class in the maintained sector before the child is of statutory school age.

If the child has a delayed start to their school place during autumn term, they cannot claim their funded entitlement as the school will be funded from the beginning of the term for the child, even if they are part-time, by Schools Finance.

Children going to a non-maintained (independent) school are able to claim the universal and working parent entitlement from us until they are of statutory school age, which is the term after their fifth birthday.

What if a child lives outside of Surrey or attends another setting outside of the county?

Funded Early Education is not linked to where the child lives. It is the Local Authority where the child is educated that pays the funding. If a child goes to another setting that is not in Surrey, please make sure that no more than the maximum hours are claimed between the two local authorities. It is the setting's responsibility to check the SCC Child Declaration Form to make sure this is not happening.

We have just moved to England and my child is not a British citizen, will they be entitled to claim funded early education?

Yes, a child moving to England from another country is entitled to the universal 15 hours of funded early education on the same basis as any other child, regardless of whether they have British citizenship or you have been told you have no recourse to public funds. Two year old children with no recourse to public funds may also be entitled to Funded Early Education for 2 Year Olds (FEET), our funded early education for two year olds webpage has further information.

Can I offer funded early education during school holidays?

Surrey Providers can now only claim funding on a term-time basis, however, funded early education can be offered throughout the year including at weekends rather than just during maintained school term times if as a Provider you choose to stretch the funding yourself. For example,10.96 hours per week for 52 weeks per year for a universal 15 hour offer or 21.92 hours per week for 52 weeks per year for a 30 hour offer. This is called a stretched offer. If your stretched offer is for less than 50 weeks each year, you should inform your parents that it is unlikely that they will be able to take their full entitlement.

The total annual number of hours claimed cannot exceed 570 hours or 1140 hours per child. The maximum number of hours a child can have in a week will be dependent on how many weeks in a year you are open but can be no more than 15 hours or 30 hours per week.

Examples of stretched offers:

Universal 15 hour offer

Number of weeks Number of hours

52 weeks

10.96 hours

51 weeks

11.17 hours

50 weeks

11.40 hours

Extended 30 hour offer

Number of weeksHours

52 weeks

21.92 hours

51 weeks

22.35 hours

50 weeks

22.80 hours

Due to Surrey's term-time claiming system, if you are stretching the funding yourself and a child leaves your setting part way through their child year, you may have claimed for more hours than you have delivered, or delivered more hours than you can claim for. You should have clear information in your terms and conditions as to what happens in both scenarios, for example that the hours are forfeited or there being some chargeable hours at the end of a term.

Can I open in the school holidays if I have a term time only Provider agreement?

As of the 2023 Autumn Term, all Providers will have a term-time only provider agreement as Surrey have changed how Providers can claim for funding. Providers can choose to stretch the funding themselves locally and therefore can open in the school holidays with their term-time only agreement. Providers will still be asked to provide details of their opening hours during Census to ensure SCC have accurate records of opening hours.

How do I calculate my offer if I want to continue to offer stretched funding?

Our stretched term funding guidance webpage provides all of the resources and information that you will need in order to continue to deliver a stretched funded entitlement offer. You can also contact the Early Years Commissioning team on eycommissioningteam@surreycc.gov.uk with any queries relating to stretched funding.

What if I can't offer 15 hours a week?

If you are unable to open for 15 hours a week, for example, because the premises are unavailable, the parent can choose to use their child's remaining funded hours at another Provider.

What if I can't offer 38 weeks a year or 30 hours each week?

There is no requirement that Providers must open for at least 38 weeks of the year or that Providers must offer 30 hours each week in order to deliver funded entitlement. However even if you only offer 15 hours of funded early education a week to three and four year olds, you may still be part of a 30 hour offer for a parent. For example, a parent may take their universal (first) 15 hours with a full day care setting and then their extended (second) 15 hours with you.

This means that if you're offering a place to a parent and they've given you their 30 hour eligibility code, even if you're not delivering more than 15 hours of funded early education, you should check this code in the Early Education Portal before offering them a place to make sure you'll get funded.

If I can't open for 38 weeks a year, do I have to tell parents?

Yes, you must tell parents in writing that you are offering less than they are entitled to. Your letter should explain the full entitlement, give the Surrey Family Information Service contact details (surrey.fis@surreycc.gov.uk) and explain the potential drawbacks of going to a setting offering less than 38 weeks per year.

Can a child go to more than one Provider?

Yes, but the total claim must not be more than 15 hours or 30 hours a week (if eligible for the extended entitlement). If you are choosing to stretch the funding yourself over more than 30 weeks, the maximum number of hours delivered each week will be less and you will need to calculate what hours you should be claiming term-time in the portal.

Parents must make it clear on the Declaration Form at the beginning of each funded period where they want to claim the funded hours.

If a child goes to both your setting and a maintained nursery class or school, you will only be able to claim for the funded hours that the parent is not using at the maintained nursery class or school.

For example:

  • If a child with a universal 15 hour offer goes to a maintained nursery class for three hours every morning and your setting for two afternoons a week, all the universal funding will go to the school and you will have to charge the parent.
  • If a child with an extended 30 hour offer goes to a maintained nursery class for 15 hours a week and your setting for 25 hours a week, we will be able to fund you for 15 hours and the school will also get funding for 15 hours. You will charge the parent for the additional 10 hours.

When a child is accessing their Funded Entitlement at more than one Provider, Providers should work in partnership with other providers and parents to ensure continuity of care and effective transitional arrangements to support the child's learning, development and well-being (for example, sharing child development records, the two year progress check and details of hours attending).

The Family and Childcare Trust have created a toolkit exploring different ways of responding to the extended funded entitlement through a partnership approach.

What if a child goes to my setting for more than their funded hours?

If a child goes to your setting for more than the maximum funded entitlement, or for hours outside your funded sessions as detailed in your information for parents or terms and conditions the parent must pay you for the additional time. Please note that children funded by FEET should be able to access their entitlement with no additional charge. A session length for the delivery of FEET should not be set so that a parent has to pay for any additional time unless they wish to. Children moving from FEET to the universal 3 and 4 year old entitlement should be able to continue to access the same hours, terms and conditions they were accessing under FEET. Where a child is due to move from FEET to the universal 3 and 4 year old entitlement, Providers should speak with the parent(s) and explain that they can remain on the same offer or choose to access something different. Where a parent opts for a different offer at the stage of transition, the previous FEET conditions no longer apply.

It is your responsibility as the Provider to make arrangements with the parent to pay for any additional services. You should make parents aware in writing of any charges for additional services before they take up their funded place. Your offer for delivery and charging should be clear and transparent so that parents understand what they will be charged for and how much this will be.

You must give parents information on your funded offer and run a clear and transparent invoice system, which does not show a charge for the funded entitlement. The invoice should include the number of funded hours and detail of what the charges apply to. Providers should require parents to sign to confirm that they have read and understood the charging arrangements.

Where a child is only accessing only their funded entitlement at your setting there is no need to send parents an invoice, unless there is a consumables charge being paid.

Can a child change from stretched hours to term time hours or term time hours to stretched hours once a claim for funding has been made?

Once a child starts at a childcare Provider, they will have to continue claiming either term time or stretched hours until the funded period after their next birthday (not linked to academic year) to ensure they do not exceed the maximum number of hours. You should make parents aware of this before they take up their funding. This will apply even if the child changes Providers mid-way through the child's funded period before their next birthday.

All Surrey Providers will now be claiming on a term-time only basis, Providers can still choose to stretch the funded entitlement themselves, however, will need to keep a record of delivery so that parents can be informed of any over or underclaims should they make the decision to leave part way through a funded period. Where this occurs, Providers will need to enter a leavers date on the portal and can access support with reconciliation of hours from the funded early education team.

What happens once my setting is registered to deliver funded entitlements?

SCC will issue you with a Department for Education unique reference number (DFE URN) in addition to your Ofsted URN.

Once your application has been approved and you have secure access to the Early Education Portal, you will be able to claim the funding immediately. You will find all the forms you need to claim funding on our Providing funded early education webpage.

What happens if I am already claiming for FEET children and receive an Ofsted outcome of requires improvement or inadequate?

If you receive a requires improvement Ofsted inspection outcome we will contact you to discuss whether your setting will be able to remain in the Directory of Providers and what support we might be able to offer.

If you receive an inadequate Ofsted inspection outcome, Ofsted will notify us before the inspection report is published. At the point of notification, we will not agree to provide funding for any further children at your setting.

In exceptional circumstances, we may continue to fund children in a setting with an Ofsted inspection outcome of inadequate.

How do I withdraw from the Surrey 'Directory of Providers?

If you choose to withdraw, you must tell the Funded Early Education Team in writing. If you withdraw part way through a funded period, you will need to repay any funding already paid to you for that funded period.

You should write to individual parents giving at least a funded period or three months' notice to allow them to make alternative arrangements.

How do I access the Early Education Portal to make my claims for funding?

As part of the registration process, you will need to complete a Login Request form. You can request up to three logins if you are a group setting and two logins if you are a childminder.

Each person must have their own mobile number to be able to receive a code to enter into the log in screen to access the portal. Where an owner or manager needs to access multiple accounts these can be linked together so that only one mobile phone needs to be used to access all accounts. At least one person in each setting has to have 'manager' rights to be able to complete and electronically sign the Provider agreement.

If a member of staff leaves the setting and has access to a portal account, you must inform the Funded Early Education Team immediately. They will then remove this log in from the account. This is important as it ensures staff members who no longer are employed at a setting do not have access to children's information.

How many hours is each child entitled to in a school or private, voluntary or independent setting?

3 and 4 year olds:

All 3 and 4 years olds are entitled to 570 hours per year through the universal entitlement. Where families are also eligible for the working parent entitlement, this means they are eligible for an additional 570 hours, totalling a maximum of 1,140 hours per year.

2 year olds:

Children eligible for FEET funding, can access a maximum of 570 hours per year.

Children eligible for the working parent entitlement are eligible for 570 hours from 1 April 2024 to 31 August 2025. From September 2025 eligible children will be able to a maximum access 1,140 hours per year.

9 month olds:

Children eligible for the working parent entitlement are eligible for 570 hours from 1 September 2024 to 31 August 2025. From September 2025 eligible children will be able to a maximum access 1,140 hours per year.

The entitlements are either delivered over 15 hours or 30 hours per week for a maximum of 38 weeks a year or for fewer hours for more weeks in the year although the total number of hours will remain 570 or 1140 per year.

Please note: A place in a specialist nursery equates to a 15 hours per week universal offer. To access additional hours, families will need to have a valid eligibility code to access an additional 15 hours per week.

What is a funded period?

Each financial year is divided into three funded periods as set out below:

Term

Maximum number of hours

Maximum number of days if open five days a week

Maximum number of weeks

Autumn 2023

210

70

14

Spring 2024

165

55

11

Summer 2024

195

65

13

Please be aware of the following:

  • All new children starting at your setting in the summer funded period but after the Easter Holidays should have a start date of 15 April or later dependant on your Provider Agreement opening dates.
  • For children that attend 5 days each week under a term time offer, we would suggest you claim 3 hours funding each day of the week to ensure that children receive their full entitlement across the period.

You can choose when you open but you cannot exceed the maximum number of days allowed for each funded period. If you want to follow Surrey school term dates, they can be found on the SCC website. You are able to take inset days, but these should be shown as closed days and you will not be funded for those days. You will be funded for the May Day Bank Holiday but not for any other Bank Holidays.

Providers should not enter the Early May Bank Holiday as a closed date when completing their Provider agreement in the Funded Early Education Portal as Surrey County Council funds Providers for this bank holiday.

Providers should be aware that the number of funded days in each period is not necessarily the same as a school term and there may be days within the period where parents will need to be charged for the sessions they attend.

How much is the funding worth?

The funded early education has no monetary value for parents. The funded early education is a guarantee of a funded place. It is not a voucher and it is not a subsidy for parents. It is worth something to the Provider, but not to the parent.

The funded rates are published on the SCC website, on our providing funded early education for two year olds and providing funded early education for three and four year olds webpages.

What happens when a child starts at my setting?

At the beginning of each funded period every parent must fill in and sign a SCC Declaration Form (this can be found on the Providing funded early education webpages. Providers can choose to ask parents to complete a new form each term, or to use the annual declaration which parents will add to and re-sign each funded period. Parents must either complete a new form or update the annual form every funded period. This must be signed by the parent or carer and the child must have attended their first session before making your claim for funding.

When making the first claim for a FEET funded child you can only claim from the date the FEET application was received and agreed by the Funded Early Education Team. If you are unsure of this date, please contact the Funded Early Education Team.

What is headcount date?

Headcount date will always be the Tuesday after your first full week in the funded period so will vary from setting to setting. The headcount date for the current funded period is shown on your homepage of the Early Education Portal.

We will fund eligible 2, 3 and 4 year olds who are at your setting on or before headcount day for the whole funded period as long as they didn't start the funded period at another setting or give notice before the start of the funded period that the child will be leaving, or falls into one of the categories below.

If a child joins your setting after the headcount date, we will pay you from the day that the child starts with you unless the child had been going to another setting within the same funded period. In this case we will not fund the child and you will need to charge the parents your usual fees for this funded period.

What happens if a child leaves my setting during the funded period?

If a child leaves during the funded period and you are not able to fill their place we will not generally reclaim funding unless:

  • You receive an inadequate outcome following an Ofsted inspection
  • the child moves to a new house
  • there is a change in a parent's employment circumstances
  • where a child has special educational needs or a disability and a different setting would be more appropriate
  • where there has been social worker involvement
  • and in some cases where the parent has raised a complaint about the Provider to Ofsted.

You must tell us if another child uses those hours, otherwise we'll be paying you twice for the hours.

If you are choosing the stretch the funded entitlement yourself, you should keep a record of delivery so that you can inform parents of any over or underclaims should they make the decision to leave part way through a funded period. Where this occurs, you will need to enter a leavers date on the portal and can access support with reconciliation of hours from the funded early education team.

What happens if a child does not return at the beginning of the new funded period?

If a child does not return at the beginning of a funded period, the hours will move with the child and you cannot charge a notice period for these funded hours. Any charges relating to a notice period for hours paid by the parent or carer is a matter between the parent or carer and the Provider.

In rare circumstances where a child is due to return, but not until part-way through a funded period, the Provider should ensure that they have a clear policy on whether the child can maintain their place with them or whether the place may be offered to another child.

What happens if a parent wishes to change their child's funded hours?

If a parent wishes to change their child's number of funded hours at your setting, you must ask them to fill in a change of hours request form (you keep this form). You can download these forms from our Providing funded early education webpage. You will then amend the hours in the Early Education Portal.

What if a child takes up their funded place part way through the year?

If a child takes up their funded place part way through the year, the number of hours will be adjusted to reflect the portion of the year remaining.

How will you know when I am open each funded period?

You will need to complete this information in the Early Education Portal.

You must let the Funded Early Education Team know if for any reason you need to make any changes to the dates you have entered in the Early Education Portal by sending us a Data Correction Form. This can be downloaded from our Providing funded early education webpage.

This is important as it could affect the number of hours you are able to offer a child each week.

What if I sell the setting or move the setting to different premises?

As soon as you know the registered person for your setting is going to change you must email the Funded Early Education Team to ask for a re-registration pack. The new registered person must re-register with SCC in order to offer funded early education places. You may also have to re-register with Ofsted.

Committee run groups that have a change of chairperson do not need to re-register with Ofsted but should tell the Funded Early Education Team in writing of the change. They will not need to re-register on the 'Directory of Providers'.

What if I am closed unexpectedly?

If your setting is closed for example due to snow, or other unplanned incidences, you need to advise us by contacting 01372 833811 or fundedearlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk. In most cases we will not remove the funding for these days. If you are a childminder and unable to work due to short term illness you will need to advise your parents and ourselves. Depending on the circumstances we may remove the funding for the period of closure. When this occurs the child's claim in the Early Education Portal must be amended with a Leavers Date to allow another Provider to claim the balance of funding.

What happens if I am changing the address of my setting?

As soon as you know that you will be moving to new premises the registered person must email the Funded Early Education Team to inform them of the new address. You may also have to re-register with Ofsted.

What records do I need to keep and for how long?

As a person or organisation holding personal data, your setting must be listed on the Public Register of Data Controllers held by the Information Commissioner's Office. For more details call the Information Commissioners Office on 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number or visit the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Your setting must keep all SCC Declaration Forms, Change of Hours Forms, Data Correction Forms and Registers for a minimum of seven years in case of an audit. If not kept on site, records must be stored locally. You do not need to keep copies of birth certificates or passports.

Why is the annual early years' census important?

Central government bases the funding SCC gets on the number of children reported in the Department for Education annual Census each January. All Providers must complete full and accurate Census data in the Early Education Portal by the given date, to make sure we are given the right amount of funding each year. If you do not return the data on time, we may remove you from the 'Directory of Providers'. This would mean that you could not offer any of the funded entitlements.

Providers should ensure that they keep their contact details up to date and accurate on the Funded Early Education Portal, informing the Funded Early Education Team via email (fundedearlyeducation@surreycc.gov.uk) of any changes using the 'change of contact or owner details' form from the Providing funded early education webpage. We need to have up to date contact details should we need to get in touch with you regarding any aspect of Census.

What information do I have to give parents?

Before parents take up a funded place you must tell them in writing:

  • about charges for any extra time
  • the charges for extra services including snacks and/or lunch
  • the payment and invoicing processes for extra services, including timescales
  • the Provider Agreement contractual arrangements to relating notice periods
  • the implications for the parent if you do not offer 38 weeks a year
  • how the funded early education is arranged in the setting (core Funded Early Education for two, three and four year olds hours, optional extra services such as music or French lessons)
  • charging policy for unexpected closures (for example the weather or flu)
  • any implications where you stretch the funded early education throughout the year and a child leaves your setting during a funded period. Parents are not able to change the type of funding offer (stretched or term time) until the funded period after the child's next birthday).

You should also make a copy of the Provider Agreement available to parents.

Surrey Family Information Service has information for parents on funded entitlements which are also available online in the new academic year.

How does the claim system work?

Before we can pay you, you must have completed your Provider Agreement in the Early Education Portal. You can only claim for the number of hours for which the child's parent has asked you to claim.

You must keep a daily register and:

  • If your register is completed on paper you should fill it in using a pen
  • clearly indicate who is present on any given day
  • use consistent codes for non-attendance with an explanation. You may like to use the following Surrey schools codes, not all will be relevant to you:
  • / morning attendance
  • \ afternoon attendance
  • H holiday of 10 days or less
  • F holiday of more than 10 days
  • I illness
  • N no reason supplied for absence
  • L Late
  • R Religious observance
  • Y Setting is unable to open (for example due to poor weather or damage to building).
  • You may also need to record additional information in line with the Statutory Framework for the EYFS.

If a child is registered to go to your setting on set days but is regularly absent you will need to be able to show an audit or the reasons that you have claimed for that child for those days. You may be asked to show, for example, what steps you have taken to make sure that the parents are aware of their entitlement and the attendance requirements at your setting.

Where you know that a child is likely to be absent for more than two consecutive weeks within a funded period you may claim the funded entitlement only if the parent has given you a date when the child will return to your setting.

Early years Declaration Forms are available to download from the Providing funded early education webpage. Please make sure you use 2023 to 2024 forms.

What do I do if a parent changes their mind after the headcount?

If a parent wishes to reduce or increase the amount of their child's FEET or FEE hours with you after the headcount date you will need to change the hours in the Early Education Portal. Please refer to the user guide in the Early Education Portal for instructions on how to claim funding.

The parent will also need to fill in a change of hours form. You will need to keep the change of hours form for seven years. You can download the form from our Providing funded early education webpage.

Remember that a child who goes to more than one setting may already be getting the maximum funding and we may not be able to pay you for the increase in hours at your setting. Also, if a child has been to another setting you may not get funding as it will have been paid to the other setting.

What do I do if a child moves settings within a funded period?

Once a parent has filled in a SCC Declaration Form, they will know that their child will not be funded if they move to another setting, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The new setting will be entitled to charge the parents their normal fees.

What do I do if a child starts at my setting after the headcount?

As long as the parent did not fill in a SCC Declaration Form for another setting and the child did not start at the other setting or school, we will pay you from their first day with you.

Can I backdate claims?

No, claims have to be made during the funded period in which the child takes up or uses their funded early education place. If a parent has given you the relevant forms on time but due to an administrative error the child has not been funded, you can contact the Funded Early Education Team, who may, in exceptional circumstances, add a late claim to the Early Education Portal for you.

Late claims will only be accepted up to 6 weeks into the new funded period.

What happens if you pay me too much money?

There may be times when we pay you too much money. This can happen if you receive an estimate payment for more children than you actually claim for, or children leave or reduce their sessions during the funded period. When this happens, we will send you an invoice at the end of the funded period. Further changes can be made to claims 6 weeks following the end of the funded period, but the funded early education team.

There may be some circumstances where we will need to offset overpaid amounts from a previous funded period against payments for future funding periods. This might be for example, where larger amounts of monies are owed. Failure to pay invoices for money owed to SCC will result in deductions from future payments. Where this is not possible SCC will take necessary action to recover any outstanding monies owed.

Audit of records

The Funded Early Education Team and SCC's auditors visit a sample of settings to look at records kept relating to funded entitlement claims. If we are going to visit you, we will usually contact you to arrange a mutually convenient date and to tell you what documents you will need to show us.

Under Section 9 of the Childcare Act 2006, local authorities have the power to place conditions of funding on Providers of childcare. If a Provider fails to meet the conditions set by SCC (in this Provider Agreement), you may need to repay us all or part of the funding you have been paid and you may be removed from the Surrey Directory of Providers. We may also contact parents directly if necessary.

Will I still be able to claim funding if

  • The setting receives an Ofsted inspection grading of Inadequate
  • The setting's registration is suspended by Ofsted
  • We do not meet the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements Statutory Framework for the EYFS 2024
  • We do not comply with other legal requirements, for example - health and safety, disqualification, data protection
  • We commit fraud or misappropriate funds or grants
  • We are not able to produce SCC Declaration Form signed and dated by the parent or carer when requested
  • We do not return the Spring headcount and early years Census Form by the given date
  • We do not safeguard children from abuse as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2022
  • We are in clear breach of the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) procedures manual to safeguard children from abuse and neglect
  • We do not comply with the fundamental British values as set out in HM Government Prevent

No. Being in breach of any of the conditions set out in this Provider Agreement 2023 to 2024 may result in the Provider be withdrawn from the Surrey Directory of Providers. Withdrawal means you will not be able to claim funded early education for two, three and four year olds until you are compliant again. If you are withdrawn from the list you will need to re-register, following the standard process.

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