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Invoicing for additional charges within 30 hours


Wildflowers
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We provide nappies and spare clothes because it's more practical when in the woods to bring things for all and a bit of extra time every morning to help parents in a hurry. When first considering to offer the 30 hours, I thought that we could get some income through the 'additionals' , but now understand that parents have to choose the services they want and those have to be itemised on the invoices, so parents of a toilet trained child does not pay for nappies and a parent who wants a later start does not take up the extra half hour in the morning.

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We provide nappies and spare clothes because it's more practical when in the woods to bring things for all and a bit of extra time every morning to help parents in a hurry. When first considering to offer the 30 hours, I thought that we could get some income through the 'additionals' , but now understand that parents have to choose the services they want and those have to be itemised on the invoices, so parents of a toilet trained child does not pay for nappies and a parent who wants a later start does not take up the extra half hour in the morning.

 

 

 

I think you may be over thinking this a bit!...you are able to set your own rules so if your session is 8.30 start then a parent choosing to start at 9 would still pay from 8.30...its their choice to be late isn't it???

Also I would say for you that paying for "forest" sessions might require an additional payment....if parents don't want it then they can go elsewhere. Basically as long as you make it clear what you are charging for then its fine....this ruling is to stop facilities from saying people have to pay £30 for a morning session when actually they are only paying £30 for the last half an hour for example.

I would think as your setting has such a unique USP that I wouldn't even be considering offering 30 'Free' hours??

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I think you may be over thinking this a bit!...you are able to set your own rules so if your session is 8.30 start then a parent choosing to start at 9 would still pay from 8.30...its their choice to be late isn't it???

Also I would say for you that paying for "forest" sessions might require an additional payment....if parents don't want it then they can go elsewhere. Basically as long as you make it clear what you are charging for then its fine....this ruling is to stop facilities from saying people have to pay £30 for a morning session when actually they are only paying £30 for the last half an hour for example.

I would think as your setting has such a unique USP that I wouldn't even be considering offering 30 'Free' hours??

We have this with parents who want to pick their child up early than the 3-10 pm finish - we tell them that this will still count as a 3 hour session as it is their decision to do this. They have no problem with this.

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... and then I continued thinking that I could offer if for everyone (to attract more children) because there are 'extras' involved in our provision which I possibly could charge for. However, I'm stuck with not knowing how to go about invoicing for those, as it doesn't seem possible to just write a sum for a general amount.

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I have asked these questions of our County EY Finance department, explaining what I plan to do, and they were perfectly happy. I have not itemised the 'additional services' but have grouped everything we do on top of basic entitlement as 'enhanced provision'. This is clearly itemised in the 'Fee Payment Policy' so that parents are fully aware of what makes up 'enhanced provision'. It is impossible to separate this out (apart from perhaps meals) as enhanced provision is woven into everyday (extra staffing, cooking activities, trips and visitors) so they are not able to pick and choose but need to accept the package or choose a 'fully funded' session which is 1pm-4pm at my setting (as this doesn't include mealtimes and is our quietist time.)

Every parent signs a 'Parental Agreement': There is a 'Fee Paying Agreement' (families who are not in receipt of any funding,) a 'Fully Funded Agreement' (families who only want to use government funded hours without accessing enhanced provision,) and 'Flexible Funded Agreement' (families using government funded hours and accessing enhanced provision, and possibly paying for more sessions than the 570hrs or 1170hrs covers (ie: more than 11hrs or 22.25hrs per week) so that parents are fully aware of all their options and can make choices.

As long as your offer is completely transparent and parents know where their funding has gone and anything they are paying for you should be fine.

Hope that's helped!

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This doesn't need to be so difficult. I have never been given an invoice from my school for dinner monies or trips etc. I am usually given a letter regarding the amount owed for trips or if I forget dinner monies, then usually a text! This might be different from LA to LA of course! Maybe Schools will start to invoice in the future due to this, I don't know?!

 

As long as parents are made aware of the additional charges BEFORE they sign a contract. If an invoice is given, then it would just say "Additional Service Charge" and the amount for this charge. Otherwise it is going to take a lot of admin hours to amend many invoices each week.. if this might be required!!!

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So 'fees for additional services' (or 'enhanced provision') is fine to put on an invoice in settings where these can't be taken or not, provided that the details are explained in the information parents receive when considering enrolling their child?

I know this is not what the government intended with the 30 hours (which turned out to be unrealistic as settings are unable to offer it) but at least it helps parents with childcare costs.

Edited by Wildflowers
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That's right, Wildflowers. Just be clear so they know what they're agreeing to.

 

Cost-wise, it still makes a huge difference to parents which is all my current parents are interested in!

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Thanks JJA.

I now see that my question was unclear. I meant that our setting is unable to offer some hours that are without the 'enhanced provision' (which you do) - it doesn't make sense given the structure of our day. So there can't be an option of taking the additional services or not. (Parents enrol their child at our setting or not. There is plenty of early years provision to choose from in our area.)
I don't see that these optional extras the government suggests that we charge for to compensate for the inadequate funding will work as intended.

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I think we are all tying ourselves up in knots over this - what can we do, what can't we do!!! Logical thinking tells me that those parents already using and paying for meals, forest schools, music lessons, yoga etc will still do that and those children who do not want to access those extras will have to attend when they aren't available as they always have. If a parent wants to use a session when there is an additional charge then I would explain there is a fee for the enhancement of the provision for that morning/afternoon or an alternative day!

 

I do think there is an element of being brave and doing what is best for your business. I would quite simply fit any funded only children in during sessions that were left from those who were paying over and above the thirty hours to remain sustainable and efficient within my ratios. Any additional charges I would list as meals, consumables, the actual activity - music lessons for example. Hours would be shown as funded hours 9-1 shown at zero cost and non funded hours 7.45 - 9am and 1-5pm and the cost. At the bottom of the invoice I would show how much the funded hours have saved the parent each week for example 22.5 hours EYE funded at my own hourly rate (not the rate provided by the government) in a different colour!!

 

When I think of the hours and hours we have all spent trying to get our heads around this it's incredible!!

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I can't offer any non-funded hours (well, 1 and a quarter per week) so will be brave (as you suggest) and go ahead with the 30 hours with additional charges.

At the bottom of the invoice I would show how much the funded hours have saved the parent each week for example 22.5 hours EYE funded at my own hourly rate (not the rate provided by the government) in a different colour!!

That's a new idea!

When I think of the hours and hours we have all spent trying to get our heads around this it's incredible!!

Me, my partner and my parents, who visited over Easter, (and my daughter who has no clue about this) will not want to hear "30 hours" ever again. I even rang our LA from Spain with some questions.

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Working as an independent consultant I see/hear many things and sit with managers trying to find a suitable way forward!!

 

I do think showing how much each parent is saving each week may go some way to softening the blow for consumable charges - perhaps - she says hopefully!!!!

 

Wildflowers I know what you mean - it consumes my thoughts and I don't own a provision!!!

 

Can I ask with the fifteen hours have you also made additional charges?

Edited by PaseyLtd
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I'm sure you've probably already considered it but would you be better offering less than 30 hours? You can choose to offer as many or as few as you like; you would then be able to continue as you have been with the 15 hours - charging for meals and additional hours!

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the idea of asking for additional monies for extra services is an interesting one isn't it...I mean how many of us are qualified to teach yoga...therefore we have to buy in the service and try to sell it to our parents ...not much profit in that! and if half of your parents say "no thanks" then it may be a loss making exercise ...and what do we do with those children whose parents have said no? you could end up with having to employ more staff to cover both areas!!!

so in my own setting we are trying to sort out some C stuff (I didn't say the word!!!) with the 30 hours we have more children who will attend full days so the way we have done it before will not work...if I decided to go to the theatre I would need to charge...what happens IF parents said no? I cannot afford to keep staff at the setting and at the theatre. But as this would be a 'funded session' then they would be entitled to access provision for that day (as a 38 week setting we need to continue to offer the same amount of day)

.....minefield isn't it!

My LEA have still not confirmed whether we will be able to work on the model we have told our parents and I need to confirm September places this week so I am going ahead the way I have said and the lea will just have to accept or ????!!!!!

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I'm sure you've probably already considered it but would you be better offering less than 30 hours? You can choose to offer as many or as few as you like; you would then be able to continue as you have been with the 15 hours - charging for meals and additional hours!

I'm just trying to reduce fees for parents, encourage/enable that more children attend more days and get a few more enrolled.

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I think we have established that we can give parents the choice before signing an agreement of childcare.. even if they are funded only, we ask them to fill out a prospectus and it is the same forms for all parents. We however, do not charge for additional services like meals etc at this time. We just fit lunch in when most funded only are not in for this hour :P

 

When the 30 hours begins, we have decided to not charge for lunches even though we have lost an hour per hour, from our funded rate! The reason is due to high competition in our area and not wanting to lose children. Also we are slowly but surely changing our business model to compensate.

 

Let me explain this £1 per hour loss. In our LA we used to get £1 extra per hour to employ a QTS or EYT.. so for many years we obviously did this. Unfortunately due to the cuts we have had to let her go :( - Although we have needed to replace her with a lower qualified member of staff. We have therefor needed to compromise our quality to stay viable.. and I am sure this is something many provisions have needed to do :( We don't make the rules!!

 

We have also had to reduce our Baby room numbers to increase our toddlers for future continuity.. luckily we have had a large number of toddlers wanting to start with us over the last few months.

 

Although our rate has reduced to just over £4 per hour.. we feel it is workable. Although we can't pay our staff a deserved rate of pay (wouldn't that be amazing?) we can make the £4 per hour work and more so when the 30 hours begins. Although I agree we should get more and be able to increase the quality of our sector, I do not agree with the huge outcry of poverty stricken nurseries seen on some Social Media pages or groups.

 

Anyway, I will leave it there.. this thread is about Invoicing and charges.. sorry :unsure:

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My LEA have still not confirmed whether we will be able to work on the model we have told our parents and I need to confirm September places this week so I am going ahead the way I have said and the lea will just have to accept or ????!!!!!

 

 

Same here. They have only agreed verbally when I described my idea to the finance LEA rep at a recent briefing session, but I asked if I could send them my new structure/agreements/invoices/policies for them to cast their eye over and they won't look at them until September - ridiculous! So I've had to implement it all and let my parents know so that they know what they are going to be charged in September.

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It gets complicated because we have to "itemise" the additional charges. I was/am concerned that your suggested "etc" would not be enough.

I was unsure if we would meet the requirements as our additionals cannot be itemised on the invoice.

 

I wouldn't itemise the additionals on an invoice - this would be far too complicated and you would also have to think of a cost for each individual item and it also raises the 'opting in' of some bots and 'opting out' of others, making everyone's bills a nightmare and tracking who has what who doesn't...OMG! Itemise the additionals on the fee payment policy and parental agreement to sign when parents join, then wrap these additionals up into one cost. Simple.

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