Checking eligibility for a free childcare place for a two year old, the Early Years Pupil Premium for three and four year olds, and a 30 hours childcare place for three and four year olds

Darlington Borough Council ‘links in’ to the Department for Education’s checking system for two year olds and Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) for three and four year olds and the HMRC checking system for 30 Hours Childcare for three and four year olds. This enables local parents to check on-line on the Darlington Borough Council web pages to see if there child is eligible for a free childcare place for a two year old or whether their childcare provider or school is eligible for the EYPP on behalf of their child and also enables local childcare providers and schools to validate a child’s 30 Hours Childcare unique eligibility code. 

Before the two year olds check can be carried out the parent/carer must complete a form requesting some personal details including the parent/carer’s name, their date of birth and their National Insurance Number or their National Asylum Support Service Number – the on-line check cannot be carried out without this information. The form also asks for the parent/carer’s contact details so that the system can issue a response to the eligibility check and the name and date of birth of the child for whom the check is being  carried out and where applicable, the name of the childcare provider currently being attended by this child. This enables the local authority to follow up on cases, ensuring that an eligible child already attending childcare is accessing their entitlement free of charge or that a parent/carer with an eligible child who is not already attending a setting is provided with support, where necessary, to find an appropriate childcare place.

Registered childcare providers or schools can use this system to check a child’s eligibility on behalf of a parent/carer but they must receive the prior consent of the parent/carer to do this and they must ensure that the parent/carer is aware of the outcome of the eligibility check. Before the check is carried out we also require the name and contact details of the person carrying out the check on behalf of the parent/carer, to ensure that eligibility checks are bona fide. We may also collect anonymous information, such as your computer’s IP address to enable us to identify and report any suspicious eligibility checks. An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the numeric address of a computer and is determined by your internet service provider. It is different to your house address and although we can determine a rough geographic location from it, we cannot use it to identify you personally. We use the IP address to identify individual computers.   In the event of serious criminal misuse of the internet, your internet service provider and the police may be able to use your IP address to identify you.

If HMRC have assessed your child as being eligible for 30 Hours Childcare for three and four year olds, before funding can be allocated to your child, your chosen childcare provider or school will need to validate your child’s 30 Hour Childcare unique eligibility code which is awarded by HMRC. The childcare provider or school will use Darlington Borough Council’s 30 Hours Childcare secure provider portal in order to do this. Before the code can be checked the provider/school will need to enter the following information on to the system:

  • Child’s 30 Hour Childcare Unique Eligibility Code
  • Parent’s/ partner’s full name
  • Parent’s/ partner’s contact details
  • Child’s full name
  • Child’s date of birth
  • Parent’s/ partner’s National Insurance Number

This data is also used to run an audit six times a year which enables the local authority to identify which children may no longer be eligible for 30 Hours Childcare funding. This information will be passed to the school or childcare provider(s) which the child is attending and it will also be shared amongst relevant departments within the Council. If the HMRC system validates the child’s unique eligibility code, the childcare provider or school is asked to input the following additional information:

  • Child’s Full Address including Postcode
  • Child’s Gender
  • If applicable, the no. of funded hours per week the child is currently at the provider
  • If applicable, the no. of hours per week in total the child is currently at the provider
  • Confirmation of whether the child is eligible for the Early Years Pupil Premium
  • For those children not already attending provision, confirmation of the number of funded hours per week the child will access the provision
  • Details of any other settings where the child may be accessing their funded entitlement
  • Questions about how you would like to access the 30 hours free childcare eg would you like to access the full 30 hours a week or less, would you like to use the offer during school holidays, at weekends or outside of normal working hours, do you plan to increase your working hours as a result of the offer?

This information is required to enable grant funding to be paid to the school or provider for your child. It is also used by the local authority to ensure that there is a sufficiency of the correct type of childcare places in the borough. When validating a child’s 30 Hour Childcare Unique Eligibility Code a school or childcare provider must receive the prior consent of the parent/partner to do this, they must have obtained the consent of the parent/partner to receive the response of this validation and regular code audits and they must ensure that the parent/partner is aware of the outcome of the validation. If you decide, as the child’s parent/partner, you no longer wish your personal data to be used to validate 30 Hours Childcare eligibility, an e-form is provided on the system to enable this consent to be withdrawn.    

Whilst running the 30 Hours Childcare validation checks we may also collect anonymous information, such as the computer’s IP address to enable us to identify and report any suspicious validation checks. An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the numeric address of a computer and is determined by your internet service provider. It is different to a house address and although we can determine a rough geographic location from it, we cannot use it to identify you personally. We use the IP address to identify individual computers. In the event of serious criminal misuse of the internet, the internet service provider and the police may be able to use this IP address to identify you.

Darlington Borough Council may use the data captured on these systems to ensure the accuracy of records across the Local Authority and to check against fraud. Darlington Borough Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. We may share information given to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public money to help prevent and detect fraud. Regarding Free Childcare for Two Year Olds and the Early Years Pupil Premium, the data collected from the on-line form is stored by Darlington’s People and Families’ Information Support Service in a restricted, internal e-mail folder.  As well as passing this data on to registered childcare providers and schools, they may also share this data with staff from other parts of the Council, for example, Children’s Centre staff, to enable them to support parents to access childcare provision whilst meeting the legal requirements of the Data Protection Act. To keep this information safe, we have policies and procedures in place.

If you require further information regarding Darlington Borough Council’s Data Protection Policy then please visit the Data Protection webpages. Darlington Borough Council’s nominated representative for the purposes of the Data Protection Act and the named Data Protection Officer is the Head of Corporate Assurance.

If you have any further questions about data protection, you can talk with the Complaints and Information Governance Team on telephone number (01325) 405449.