Early Years Funding – Monthly Payments

Dear Early Years Funded Providers,

We are writing to advise that Devon Early Years will not be able to implement monthly payments from September 2018.

We have been investigating the options of moving to monthly payments and what administrative tasks maybe required for providers and the Early Years Funding team.  With the roll-out of the new extended entitlement (30 hours funding) last September and the associated administration, we do not wish to introduce any additional portal tasks to providers.

We are aware that there is a requirement in the DfE Statutory Guidance and some Local Authorities have already moved to monthly payments but some are much smaller than Devon.  They may use different systems and retain a higher percentage of Early Years funding for central administrative staff.  Any changes required for monthly payments will need to be implemented, utilising the current finance and funding systems and resources we have available to us.  At this time, our software provider does not have a suitable solution and we are awaiting further developments.

Unlike other Local Authorities, our current payment method ensures providers receive a good proportion of funding at the start of each funding period.  Childminders email their hours to the Helpdesk so an accurate forecast can be made and group providers also have that option if their numbers are changing significantly.  The percentage calculation reflects the Headcount dates, the length of term and when the balancing payment is expected to be processed.  We therefore do not feel Devon providers are financially disadvantaged by the current payment arrangements although providers will need to budget until the Headcount payment is received.

We can advise that any change to our payment method will apply to all settings and we will not be able to agree to provider requests to continue with the existing arrangement.

We have had very few enquiries on the Helpdesk regarding monthly payments and at a recent training event, the feedback was mixed.  However, we value all our Early Years settings in Devon and are keen to hear the views of providers from the various sectors (not DCC schools as they are not affected).  We will therefore be conducting a survey early July to collect provider feedback on the payment process and encourage you to respond at that time.

Kind regards,

Marie Stone

Early Years Funding Team