Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (609)

Matt Carthy


609. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration his views on the reported difficulties that some childcare providers have in operating the IT system pertaining to the schemes provided by his Department and Pobal; the number of complaints received regarding same; and his plans for remedial action. [26466/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The National Childcare Scheme was launched in November 2019 on the new Early Years Platform. This platform was designed to meet the current and future needs of all childcare schemes under the remit of the Department. The Service Provider portal, the HIVE, has been in use since the NCS opened for applications and has been designed with future proofing in mind for the users.

The ECCE scheme went live on the HIVE/Early Years Platform (EYP) on the 17th August 2020.

For this programme year (September 20th-August 21st) there are almost 130,000 children registered on the platform for the NCS and ECCE. Pobal’s customer services have received 60 complaints since services reopened in late June.

Notwithstanding this, we are very aware that some providers have faced challenges in using the new system and it is taking time for some providers to become familiar with the new requirements. The following training and supports were provided:

-Briefing sessions with City & County Childcare Committees in July & August 2020.

- Service provider training sessions delivered via webinars.

- Recordings of the Webinars sent to all 2973 Providers and CCC’s.

- A series of training guides developed over the past few weeks in relation to contracting, registrations and submitting applications for Higher Capitation & AIM Level 1.

DCYA has already met with a number of representative groups to identify where our systems might work better or target where further support may be required. Pobal will also be looking to engage with users based on their experience to see where further enhancement, training or support may be required.

Pobal continues to provide support and assistance directly to early years providers through their dedicated Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) and will endeavour to respond to providers as quickly as possible.

If the Deputy is aware of specific issues being experienced by individual providers I would encourage him to refer those providers to Pobal’s Early Years Provider Centre by contacting eypc@pobal.ie or calling 01 511 7222.