Pobal is contracted, on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), to conduct compliance visits with each participating childcare service under the three DCYA funding programmes:
- Free Pre-School year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)
- Training & Employment Childcare (TEC)
- Community Childcare Subvention (CCS and CCSPlus)
Private providers can be approved under three programmes - ECCE, CCSP and TEC
Community-based providers can be approved under four programmes - CCS, CCSP, ECCE & TEC.
Each service will receive a compliance visit to verify that conditions of the programme(s) under which they are approved for are being complied with as detailed in the signed funding agreement(s). These may be scheduled or unannounced visits.
What is Compliance?
It is a process to verify, through an on-site visit, that the conditions of DCYA’s three funding programmes are being complied with as detailed in the grant funding agreements. Failure to comply with the on-site compliance visit and provide information on the day of the visit, may result in the service being deemed non-compliant and in breach of contractual requirements under the grant funding agreement(s).
What is the purpose of a Compliance Visit?
The purpose of the on-site compliance visit is to verify compliance against agreed measures under each childcare programme as follows:-
Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE) Compliance
ECCE Service Provision
- Verify that the actual number of DCYA approved ECCE childcare places in the service corresponds with the number of childcare places enrolled and in attendance on the day of the visit. Absences, transfers and service level reductions will also be reviewed. The latest listing of approved ECCE child places issued by DCYA will be used to verify places. You are required to make this listing available to the Compliance Visit Officer.
- Verify that the ECCE Fees Policy approved by the local County/City Childcare Committee (CCC) is being implemented.
- Verify that signed parent/guardian fee payment letters/statements (on calendars) are on site to confirm any additional fees charged to ECCE parents/guardians, optional extras or discounts, where applicable.
- Verify that parents/guardians are in receipt of the appropriate capitation.
- Verify that there are records available for the amounts paid by those ECCE parents who have agreed to avail of optional extras/extra time and provide a voluntary donation.
- Verify qualifications of staff working directly with ECCE children. Services in receipt of the Standard Capitation and qualifications of the Room Leader will be checked. Services in receipt of the Higher Capitation and qualifications of both the Room Leader and Assistant will be checked.
Training & Employment Childcare Programme (TEC) Compliance
- Verify that the actual number of DCYA approved TEC childcare places in the service corresponds with the number of childcare places enrolled and in attendance on the day of the visit. Absences, transfers and service level reductions will also be reviewed;
- Verify that the TEC fees policy approved by the local County/City Childcare Committee (CCC) is being implemented;
- Verify that signed parent/guardian fee payment letters are on site to confirm any additional fees charged to TEC parents/guardians, optional extras or discounts, where applicable;
- Verify that receipts are provided to parents/guardians;
- Verify that the provider has received a letter from Solas/ETB/DSP detailing the parents/guardians’ eligibility to a place under the TEC programme and that they have written confirmation that the parent has commenced the educational course/training programme;
- Verify that parents/guardians are in receipt of the appropriate capitation.
Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) Compliance
CCS Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)
- Verify that the DCYA approved CCS Full-time Equivalent (FTE) childcare places in the service correspond with the FTE childcare places enrolled and in attendance for a given sample week. The listing of approved CCS child places issued by DCYA will be used to verify places. You are required to retain this listing and are encouraged to complete the Pobal FTE calculator in advance of visit.
- Verify that the CCS fees policy approved by the local County/City Childcare Committee and agreed with DCYA is being implemented. We will require access to fees records.
- Verify that signed parent/guardian fee payment letters or statements are on site to confirm any additional fees charged to CCS parents, optional extras or discounts, where applicable.
- Verify that parents/guardians are in receipt of the appropriate subvention.
- Verify that there are records available for the amounts paid by those parents/guardians who have agreed to avail of optional extras/extra time and provide a voluntary donation.
Preparing for the on-site Compliance Visit
Unannounced Visits: As directed by DCYA, on-site compliance visits will be conducted without prior notice. No notification email or telephone contact will be made in advance of Pobal arriving at the service to conduct the on-site compliance checks. Please note all Pobal Visiting Officers hold official Pobal photographic identification.
It is recommended that Information/documentation to be available to Pobal on the day should be kept in a Compliance file.
During the on-site Compliance Visit
The visit will be conducted by going through a series of questions outlined in the Compliance Form. Please familiarise yourself with the related sections of the Compliance Form to each of the three funding programmes. The on-site visit will conduct a compliance check on four fundamental elements:
- Service provision/attendance (ECCE/TEC/CCS/CCSP) – verify by comparing DCYA’s data of approved numbers of childcare places under each programme with the actual number of children under each programme enrolled and in attendance on the day of the visit. This is done by reviewing the attendance records which you must make available during the visit. Information/records to be made available by the service: Attendance Records and DCYA’s listing of approved places for either or both ECCE and CCS.
- Fees Policy (ECCE/TEC/CCS/CCSP) – verify that the fees policy approved by the local County/City Childcare Committee is being implemented and that parents are in receipt of the appropriate capitation/subvention. This is done by reviewing fees records. We will also review documentation such as:- parent/guardians’ handbook and/or letter(s)/calendars (if applicable) used by the service to advise parents/guardians of fees and optional extra charges (that is, for activities that are optional for parents/guardians to avail of). For ECCE & CCS only visits, records will also need to be maintained where parents/guardians have agreed to pay voluntary contributions. Information/records to be made available by the service: Fees records, letters/documentation advising of optional extras/services.
- Qualifications of ECCE staff (ECCE only) – check the qualifications of the Room Leader working directly with ECCE children. Where services are in receipt of the Higher Capitation, qualifications of both the Room Leader and Assistant will be checked. This is done by reviewing copies of the staff’s qualifications and recording the details of the staff member(s) and applicable qualifications. Information/records to be made available by the service: Certificates of qualifications
- Solas/Education Training Board (ETB)/Department of Social Protection (DSP) letters (TEC only) – verify that the number and type of DCYA approved TEC places correspond with confirmation letters received from Solas, ETB and DSP. This is done by reviewing letters which are to be available during the site visit. Verify numbers of TEC places occupied and evidenced attending the service. Information/records to be made available by the service: Solas/ETB/DSP letters confirming eligibility and commencement/duration dates of courses.
Please Note: For services which have approved funding under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000 – 2006 (EOCP), the visit will also facilitate a compliance check in relation to EOCP publicity requirements.
The duration of the visit will range from 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes depending on the number of programmes that your service participates in and that are being verified during the compliance visit.
You will be required to sign-off on the information collected in the course of the visit. If there are any discrepancies between the information gathered during the visit and the data supplied to Pobal by the DCYA and/or the City and County Childcare Committees (CCCS’s), this will be noted on the visit report(s). The Visiting Officer will indicate, based on the information provided and assessed during the visit, whether the service is deemed compliant or non-compliant. They will note with you any minor or major recommendations. As a quality control measure and to ensure consistency of the process, all non-compliant services and a proportion of compliant services will undergo an independent internal review by Pobal. The review, undertaken in collaboration with the Visiting Officer, will conclude the compliance outcome for notification to DCYA. Subsequent to DCYA review, Pobal will then write to your service notifying you of the final outcome of the compliance visit
A note will be made of any follow-up/further supports identified by the service or by Pobal. Where a Visiting Officer has recommended that a service should revert back to the CCC on any matter, you should do so immediately.
After the on-site Compliance Visit
Pobal will provide a copy of its report to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). Reports will issue to DCYA quarterly. A subsequent e-mail will issue from Pobal to the service formally confirming the final outcome of the compliance visit. DCYA will follow-up directly with any services deemed to be non-compliant with major recommendations.