Parents could miss out on 30 hours because of IT glitch

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A number of parents are experiencing difficulties applying for the 30 hours because the system incorrectly says they are ineligible or their child does not exist.

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'Computer says no': Parents eligible for the 30 hours are reporting not being able to apply because the system doesn't recognise them or their child

Comments from childcare providers on the Champagne Nurseries, Lemonade Funding (CNLF) Facebook page reveal a number of parents are unable to apply for the 30 hours as the computer system – managed by HMRC, is unable to verify their or their child’s details and/or salary.

Parents must apply for the 30 hours through the Childcare Service, the same system as Tax-Free Childcare, which has suffered countless technical glitches since it went live on 24 April.

Writing on the CNLF Facebook page, Mary Parker said, 'I have a mum trying to get her 30-hour code who has been told she isn't the parent!'

Laura Hurst, manager of Kimble's Day Nursery in Sawtry, Cambridgeshire, said, 'I have one that said the child didn't exist.'

Anita Harper said, 'We have had a parent who has been told he doesn't qualify as he doesn't live here and only earns £4,000, however he does live here and earns much more than that. He has been told it will take 10 days to double check he does qualify. Totally crazy set-up I have to say.'

With just weeks until the 31 August deadine when childcare settings are required to pass on parents' 30-hour eligibility codes to their local authorities for validation, concern has been expressed by members of the CNLF group that affected parents will miss out on the extended entitlement from September.

Only when a local authority verifies a parents' eligibility code can a provider offer a 30-hours place.

Posting on the CNLF Facebook page, Andrea Parker said, ‘We have many families, including several members of staff, who are being told they are not eligible for the 30 hours yet and will receive an email when they are. All of these parents are already in receipt of the 15 hours and work 3/4/5 days a week.

‘Our local authority has informed us, that this is down to failings with the HMRC website.

‘Yet the closing date for us as a provider is to use the Eligibility Code by the 31st Aug, otherwise the parent loses this term’s entitlement. How on earth they can legitimately do this is beyond me.’

She added, ‘Your local authority will know this and should be prepared to honour late application due to system failings.’

A spokesperson from HMRC said, 'Sometimes we need to undertake further checks to verify a child but we aren’t aware of cases of parents being told their children don’t exist. Any parents encountering issues with the childcare service can phone the dedicated childcare helpline on 0300 123 4097.'

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