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Non Payment of Fees


taffygirl
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Sorry know it's not to do with EYFS etc but thought I would post on here.

I have a parent who had not paid any fees since they started - when I discovered it £2811 outstanding. To say that I now have a comprehensive accounting system is an understatement. She has asked me not to discuss it with her husband. She has now made payment of £700 but I had to email her yesterday to chase up part of that payment!

I spoke to her in the office today and said that unless I see above the monthly invoice being paid so I can see she is trying to pay the debt off then I wouldn't be able to take the child anymore. She says she is depressed and I feel really guilty now, as we should have picked up on it sooner. What would you do?

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Hi Taffygirl and welcome.

 

Without wanting to sound too judgemental, how did it get to that amount before being noticed by someone, are you committee run ? Does your fees policy set out the course of action to be followed in these circumstances ? Like you,ve said we try and sort out a payment , but that is a large amount, we send out invoices during first week, if not paid by end of 4th week, a reminder is sent out, still no payment asked to speak to myself or treasurer, but that isn't going to help you now, have you sent a formal letter asking for payment owed and by when (include policy). I don't think you can afford to let her emotionally blackmail you either. Hope you get it resolved, sure someone will be along soon who can offer more help.

Edited by mouse63
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In reality , it should have been picked up much sooner and I am sure you will now ensure that protocols are in place so this kind of debt will not happen again.

 

The fact that she does not want husband informed does ring a few alarm bells, wondering if she was given the money but did not use it for the purpose it was intended... but that would be second guessing...

 

but with such a huge bill outstanding, regardless of her medical issues , I would still insist on payment for any sessions in advance, and if that meant daily payment then that would be arranged... but it would be at least weekly, not monthly.. and would be a payment to include some of the money outstanding.. no payment and the child would not be able to attend..

 

I always hated doing it as it was always seeming to punish the child for the parents actions, but any amount of money outstanding is too much , and if everyone did the same no one would be paid .we had a 2 week non payment policy , and one week to pay in full or no place.

 

You do not say age of child but if they were in receipt of the funding they would be allowed those hours and I would ask for a payment to cover the back fees each week.

Edited by Inge
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I thInk you willl need to negoitiate with her a regular payment which includes arrears, as I would imagine that finding that amount of money in one go would be quite difficult for her. Firm but reasonable and not allowing her an inch over what you negotiate. Although she is at fault for not paying you also hold some responsibility for allowing the situation to get to this point. It may be that she has other debts and I think you might gently suggest to her that if she is in financial difficulties she goes to Citizens Advice to help her sort herself out. At least you have learnt from this experience and have acted on what you have learnt so onwards and upwards.

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firstly you cannot allow this to continue as the debt will only be getting bigger, it worries me that she is asking you not to tell her husband...why? has she spent the money on something else or is she worried about what he might do??

i would try to seperate the two issues. try to come up with a payment plan that she is able to follow, break it down into manageble chunks (can she access childcare vouchers/working family tax credit etc) tell her how serious this is and that you need to see her working towards it or you will have to start debt collecting procedures.(which od course will be sent to the home address....so you need to ensure her husband isn't going to be REALLY cross about this!)

secondly if she is really feeling depressed what has she done about it? doctors?? She may well need support and you can be helpful to sort this out (or it may be an excuse!)

I guess you need more info and to come up with a plan that you all stick to and decide what the consequences will be. You could offer a discount for payment within a certain amount of time if that meant that you got some of the money rather than none of it?

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Thank you all, yes you are right, it should have been picked up much sooner, My accounting processes prior to this were abit lack and I have said that to her, and I said that if she was struggling she should have come and spoken to me. Apparently her and her husband aren't getting on very well, which is why she doesn't want me to tell him, but I said to her today that she probably does need to tell him as potentially he could be the one being told we can't take the child. I don't want to refuse the child as they have thrived since they've been with us. I'm going to draw up an agreement which states that she must pay at least £100 extra per month - it's still going to take 2 1/2 years to pay it off. I was more annoyed today that she hadn't made any payment this week off her own back without me having to chase her. I can ensure you that I have learnt from this lesson and won't allow it to happen again. Our accounting procedure has now become quite robust and systems are in place to ensure that it doesn't occur again. It's a very expensive lesson!

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I think she has PND and her husband isn't very understanding about it. She went away in tears this morning, and I wasn't horrible but I was firm that she needed to start paying it off. She's under care as I offered to help find support when I first contacted her about it and she refused my help :(. I think she understands how serious it is and I will get a formal agreement done today and get it signed by her. I don't want to make her life worse but people seem to think that we don't count when it comes to paying money back - almost as if we are not important enough. I think and would be interested to hear what everyone else thinks - but I think her monthly invoice plus £100?

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We learn from our mistakes dont we taffygirl?

Be prepared though to just say goodbye to this money or to a fair proportion of it, sometimes the stress and frustration of chasing it can get out of hand.

I'd keep an eye on mom for other reasons than the money though, telling your husband something like this is probably something we'd all baulk at, but there could be underlying reasons.

:1b

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2yr old funding has to fit certain criteria depending on where you are it may differ but doubt it and the turn around is usually a week for confirmation - the child has to do all allocated hours at one setting only and parents are exempt from a registration fee or being charged for meals - they have to be given option to bring packed lunch- if someone tells me how to download from my documents i will attach :D

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That may not apply to her LA though. Reading it through it's different to where I am. We get £6 per hour and parents have to be on some sort of benefits to qualify for it. We have only ever had one child in over a year that met the criteria for it.

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That may not apply to her LA though. Reading it through it's different to where I am. We get £6 per hour and parents have to be on some sort of benefits to qualify for it. We have only ever had one child in over a year that met the criteria for it.

 

I agree Lynn but our parents have to be in receipt of benefits too or though there are exceptions in some cases, i did say it may vary depending on area could not see where taf was- have to say I am fortunate that our funding people are very very helpful and it has not only helped us but also a couple of parents who otherwise could not access childcare. Lucky you you get an extra £1

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