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We have just been informed that the LA is going to audit every setting. I'm sure I have seen a thread on here somewhere but can't find it.

I have not been audited before and wondered if any of you have and if you could give any advice etc. On the letter I received it says they will want to see registration forms, registers, birth certs and invoices to parents. Is this standard? TBH I don't actually send invoices to parents, so think I may come unstuck there!

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Have been audited a couple of times but not for a while!! Basically went through registers to check that the children where actually attending for the hours that we were claiming!! The invoices, registration docs will all tie in with that too I suppose.

 

If you don't invoice, what do you do instead - how do you indicate to your parents which are funded sessions and which aren't in a nut shell?

 

Not so sure about the birth certificates - always understood that we do not keep a copy and only request to see proof of date of birth (a tick and date box on registration docs). To be honest it's a painful process for them - I merely handed over the relevant files and left them to it - two hours later she left saying all was ok!!

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Thanks, have heard that about the birth certs before but they seem to want a copy now, probably just our LA being picky.

About the invoices, to be honest as we don't do any different types of sessions, lunch etc it's very straight forward and I just write down on a pad what each parent owes and they just come and pay. When they start we verbally tell them how much it will be for each session which they agree to. Sometimes they ask for a payment plan, so they pay a standard weekly amount whether it's holidays or term time. But with this I just write it down exactly as I work it out, how many sessions need to be paid for over the term or year and divide the amount by how many weeks. I don't ever mention the free funding as it's free. It works ok for us but now wondering if that will be acceptable for the LA, although I don't see how I do charge should come into it, as long as i'm not charging for the free sessions, but I can be a bit stubborn sometimes which is bound to get me into trouble one day!!

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We all had to submit an example of our invoice to our LA. They were quite specific about it showing funded and non funded hours. The year before it was a Charging / Fees Policy.

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Our audit was very thorough. They looked through a year's registers and picked a random week from each term to check fundiing claimed was accurate. This was a couple of years ago and we hadn't a robust trail for absences in the first term and they queried some of the funding claimed as there were some absences not detailed. They also checked birth certificates (we have to keep a copy) and funding forms. Initially we were told they would reclaim around £500 but we provided enough proof - other register pages had to be copied and sent in to get this rescinded. We had 2 from the LA (one was being trained) and they were with us for about 4 hours then went back to the office and checked aginst their info. At the time we had about 53 on roll all attending on a variety of days and only a few claiming the full 15 hours. Since then we have tightened up procedures for recording absences. We write in register if we have had call or text and get carer to sign our absence book to confirm reasons for absences. Just another load of paperwork!

korkycat

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Thanks for the replies everyone, looks like i may be in trouble with them over invoices then! Think we should be ok for the other stuff, we do have all the forms signed etc and we have a register where we mark attendance and reason for absence so hopefully that will be ok, although we do have a couple of birth certs missing as parents have lost them, another thing i'll be in trouble for! oh well, what will be, will be!

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I totally agree - how you do things should be up to you - have a quick look at your EYE contract to check that there's nothing stated in there!! Worse case scenario is they may ask you to change the way you do things I would imagine!!! Good luck with it!!

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We've never kept a copy of passports, just sign to say it has been seen. Which LEA are you with?

 

Blackpool, in an old agreement (2013) it says we needed a copy of birth certs but then when they told us they were going to come and audit they sent a different version which didn't state that, so i'm not overly confident they know what they're doing themselves.

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I thought according to ICO (data protection) you cant keep copy of birth certificates?! We just request to see original or passport and tick on registration form that we have seen it.

Again we invoice all parents even if they are only using the 15 hrs funding so that we can prove the hours are free as the bill sattes £0. We have to make it clear on the invoice the number of hours that are funded, the number of hours charged for, also the charge for hot dinners and any ad-hoc sessions. We invoice every half term.

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I'm in Suffolk where we still have to keep a copy of the child's DOB evidence.

 

We now aim to not have a child start even on paid spaces if we don't have valid DOB ID - I ended up not claiming for a child for 1 term a couple of years ago as a colleague had copied the birth certificate and not got the number at the top, so it wasn't valid, and I couldn't put the b/c number on the back of the parent authorisation form, so couldn't sign it and therefore couldn't claim. (I'd asked mum to bring it in again so I could get the number but the child was ill & her priority rightly was caring for her child, not my paperwork.)

 

We do a letter each term or when a child starts or changes hours, something along the lines of :

 

"Dear Parent,

 

(Little Johnny) will come to preschool (every morning from 8.30 to 11.30). This will be free as you are using (Little Johnny's) funded hours. "

 

Or

 

"Dear Parent,

 

(Little Janet) will come to preschool (all day from Monday to Thursday from 8.30 to 3.30pm). The first 15 hours will be free as you are using (Little Janet's) funded hours, and you will pay (£X per week for the remaining 13 hours (£Y per hour times 13 hours)). Please note fees must be paid each week even if your child is not in."

 

We've got the letters set up as blanks for each term, so the spaces just get filled in by hand - doesn't take long, and meets County's need for invoices.

 

Then, as parents pay, we fill in a small receipt book & give them a copy, & keep a record of how much each fee paying child should pay each week & when it is paid.

 

If anyone is using stretched funding, they get a letter each term with the funding form:

 

"Dear Parent,

 

Little Freddy will come to preschool all day on Thursdays and Fridays, 8.30 to 3.30. This will be free as you are using Freddy's funded hours. You are stretching Freddy's hours over the term. This term, Freddy is using 182 hours (14 hours a week over the 13 week term) out of his 195 hours (15 hours a week over the 13 week term), so you have 11 hours to use when you choose. This could be 1 extra day of 7 hours and 1 morning session and lunch session of 4 hours."

 

I then keep the copy with the funded form and write on it as Freddy uses up his extra hours.

 

Where I had trouble last audit and will next audit is that parents do not use block capitals to write their names. I can't help it, as 90% of my families have English as their Second or Other Language, and making sure the form is filled in correctly apart from that when County aren't giving us examples in other languages any more is hard enough! The ladies from County did appreciate that though, and though it went in my letter as an action, it was more of "Do your best" than "You're in big trouble".

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just as a matter of interest ..what happens if children have birth certificates from abroad? ....if you can't get birth certificate do you use passport (as you need BC to get it????) or ID cards?

 

That is exactly the problem i have with one missing birth certificate as they are from Poland, our LA hasn't said anything about being able to use passports etc, a question i'll have to ask them!

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I thought according to ICO (data protection) you cant keep copy of birth certificates?! We just request to see original or passport and tick on registration form that we have seen it.

Again we invoice all parents even if they are only using the 15 hrs funding so that we can prove the hours are free as the bill sattes £0. We have to make it clear on the invoice the number of hours that are funded, the number of hours charged for, also the charge for hot dinners and any ad-hoc sessions. We invoice every half term.

 

This did cross my mind too, something to look into.

 

Quick update: i've emailed the ICO to clarify whether we are allowed to copy birth certificates. Will let you know when i get a reply.

Edited by AliceinWonderland
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I was told in no uncertain terms that it was unlawful for us to have copies of birth certificates as these remain the property of the individual, something like not being allowed to keep copies of DBS checks etc.

 

I wrote down the number of the certificate and the correct spelling of name and the date of birth shown, in the register

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I was told in no uncertain terms that it was unlawful for us to have copies of birth certificates as these remain the property of the individual, something like not being allowed to keep copies of DBS checks etc.

 

I wrote down the number of the certificate and the correct spelling of name and the date of birth shown, in the register

 

Yes i've been told about not keeping copies of DBS certs so i thought it would be the same for birth certs too but our LA is insistent, hopefully i will get a reply from the ICO before they come to audit us, then i will know for certain.

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aha ...just read a really handy tip about this ....write in large letters over one corner COPY that way if the worst came to it and it was stolen then it is not useable by anyone else...this should also be done for copies of passports kept to prove right to work. It appears that you are able to keep copies but they become your responsibility when it comes to security

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We have an audit every 2 years....lucky us.

 

It's very thorough checking registers and looking that if a child is absent you have a reason, also checking that children are attending what hours they claim.

 

Checked all parent agreements and new funded children. No birth certificates to be kept but we must of signed parent agreement to say they've been seen and checked.

 

Had to give a copy of fees policy and 3 invoices, one for funded only child, one for child not yet funded and finally one for child who attends more than 15 hours per week.

 

Received email after 3 weeks to say policy and invoices are suitable so nothing needed doing.

 

Hope that helps

Edited by Thumper
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just as a matter of interest ..what happens if children have birth certificates from abroad? ....if you can't get birth certificate do you use passport (as you need BC to get it????) or ID cards?

We use birth certificates from overseas (fortunately, most use the same alphabet we do or have a translation on the original form, such as Indian birth certs. Though our new Bulgarian child came with birth cert & passport which is lucky as the Bulgarian birth certificate is only in Bulgarian.

 

That sentence looks like this in Bulgarian (according to google translate, which is not the most accurate translation tool available): Въпреки, че нашата нова българска дете дойде с раждането серт и паспорт , който е щастлив като удостоверение за български произход е само на български език . I can't read Bulgarian.

 

We can use birth certificate, passport or European ID card.

 

The funding forms this term also said we could use the red book again, but I'm sceptical of red books, as the health visitors seem to put what they think the child's name is. Younger son's red book, for example, states his name to be Firstname MyMaidenName, whereas his birth certificate gives his actual and legal name - Firstname TwoMiddleNames HisFather'sSurname.

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Thanks everyone for your replies. We were audited this morning and they were happy with everything. ::1a

 

I ended up phoning the ICO as hadn't received a reply and then they emailed this to me:

 

Further to our conversation and your email of 7 May 2016.

As discussed, the retention of the birth certificates if there is no legal obligation to retain this information this may breach principle three. This principle is about the adequacy of the personal data. Also this may breach principle seven, which covers the security of personal data.

Basically on the phone, they said we should not make copies unless there is some legislation from government that states that we have to, as then it would be law and data protection would not be an issue. I asked the funding person about it and she said the birth certs weren't anything to do with the funding but that it was to do with something from the framework, that they just check it when they visit and to ask the Lead person from the Early years team as they would have a better idea where it came from. I will be trying to contact her next week! I have looked through the EYFS and the only thing i can find is this:

 

3.72. Providers must record the following information for each child in their care: full name; date of birth; name and address of every parent and/or carer who is known to the provider (and information about any other person who has parental responsibility for the child); which parent(s) and/or carer(s) the child normally lives with; and emergency contact details for parents and/or carers.

 

The way i read this is that we have to write down date of birth etc, it doesn't say anything about seeing a birth cert or making a copy. So will be interesting to see what the LA say!

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3.72. Providers must record the following information for each child in their care: full name; date of birth; name and address of every parent and/or carer who is known to the provider (and information about any other person who has parental responsibility for the child); which parent(s) and/or carer(s) the child normally lives with; and emergency contact details for parents and/or carers.

 

The way i read this is that we have to write down date of birth etc, it doesn't say anything about seeing a birth cert or making a copy. So will be interesting to see what the LA say!

 

I remember having this conversation a few years ago when this subject came up on here before. I asked my Advisor she told me it was nothing to do with them it was to do with making sure that the child you were collecting funding for was who the family said it was and therefore it was the funding departments requirement and speak to them. I spoke to the funding department who told me it was nothing to do with them and suggested I spoke with our Advisor :P I stopped taking copies after that point!

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I remember having this conversation a few years ago when this subject came up on here before. I asked my Advisor she told me it was nothing to do with them it was to do with making sure that the child you were collecting funding for was who the family said it was and therefore it was the funding departments requirement and speak to them. I spoke to the funding department who told me it was nothing to do with them and suggested I spoke with our Advisor :P I stopped taking copies after that point!

 

I have a funny feeling that i may be getting the same response from our advisor!

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We need to make sure that we have only seen the birth certificate and to write down the name exactly as it is, so when it comes to headcount day we have entered the name/s as on the birth certificate as this is a requirment our Nef Nef team

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Finally had a reply from our Early Years Lead which directed me to a government document which states:

 

2.4.Providing evidence of an event (birth, marriage, death)

Certified copies (certificates or ‘extract’ in Scotland)) are produced on forms which contain a number of security features and are uniquely serially numbered. Reproduction of certificates potentially removes these security features from the copy. It is therefore government policy not to authorise the copying of certificates for cases where the intention is to prove evidence of the event – birth, marriage, death.

You should not provide a photocopy of a certificate as evidence of the event, even where this has been endorsed by a solicitor, notary or other organisation.

For organisations which request sight of a certificate as evidence of an event, it is acceptable, once the certificate has been seen and with the permission of the person who has supplied it, for that organisation to keep a photocopy of the certificate in their files and return the certificate.

 

Also had a visit note delivered after the audit which said that we have a duty to check that the details are correct as the parents say and therefore eligible for the grant and that 'lots of settings say that they would take copies anyway due to safeguarding and checking who has parental responsibility'

 

Not sure what everyones views on this are but mine (right or wrong) are as follows:

 

The ICO told me that there must be specific legislation that states that we have to take copies and although the document quoted is from the national archives and therefore a government document, it does not, in my opinion, state that we have to take copies. It just says that we can if we have permission from the owner.

 

I can understand the need for checking certificates to make sure spelling of names and dates of birth are correct, but feel that this can be done by asking to see the certificate without having to take a copy, and we can easily take down the certificate number etc and keep on file which will prove we have seen them.

 

As for checking who has PR, only the long certs show this, not the short ones and not all parents have the long one. If i'm remembering correctly when i registered my own children, we got the short one free and had to pay extra if we wanted the long one. Considering that the funding is meant to be completely free to parents and not incur any extra costs, why make the parents pay extra to go and get a long cert. Also even if it does show parents names, things can change very quickly and PR may be different by the time the child starts nursery.

 

I've decided to make a new form to put in children's files, with essential details on and then shred all copies of certs that i already have. I know the LA won't be happy with me but i don't want to risk having the ICO on my back for breaching data protection. (low risk i know but best to be sure).

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This is is just an LA variation. Ours just says that we must have seen proof of date of birth. Presumably ( although I have never had to ask for one) a passport would do just as well.

I'm pretty sure ALL birth cents are now the long format. But however they are you are right, just because they had PR at birth doesn't mean it would be the same person at registration of nursery. We just have a box we tick on our reg forms to say we have seen it. I can't think of a more useless excessive paper pile then copies of BC's. Do you have to provide them for school?

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This is is just an LA variation. Ours just says that we must have seen proof of date of birth. Presumably ( although I have never had to ask for one) a passport would do just as well.

I'm pretty sure ALL birth cents are now the long format. But however they are you are right, just because they had PR at birth doesn't mean it would be the same person at registration of nursery. We just have a box we tick on our reg forms to say we have seen it. I can't think of a more useless excessive paper pile then copies of BC's. Do you have to provide them for school?

 

Yes definitely down to individual LA's. I think i spooked them by asking these questions, our LA lead advisor is very knowledgeable but also very awkward whenever we question anything. She usually answers very quickly but seemed to take quite a while with this, so don't think she actually realised that there was a potential for breaking data protection and had to search to find something to back her up. (i know she was in work from other communication from her.)

Not sure if our local schools request BC's or not.

I'm definitely not going to take copies any more, i have enough paper in my filing cabinet and my office is the size of a postage stamp as it is!

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We scan the BCs and keep them in a computer file. Our auditors check that we have deleted all the leavers every year. No-one can access the file. We inform parents in their agreement that the BC will be retained on a computer file and it will be deleted when they leave - both parties sign the file.

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