Dear Service Provider,
As it is coming up to the Christmas holidays and the end of 2020, it may be necessary to make important changes on your Early Years Hive portal for NCS.
As such, the following points are covered in this announcement:
We advise making any necessary changes as soon as possible to ensure payments under NCS are not affected.
Early Years Team
NCS Service Calendar
If your service is closed over the Christmas and New Year’s period, you must mark the closures on your NCS service calendar on the Hive accordingly. You must also note whether it is a subsidised (paid) closure or not. Services are entitled to up to 10 subsidised closures per programme year if open 50+ weeks, and pro rata downward if open less than this.
For guidance on adding closures to your NCS service calendar, please see the ‘Adding closures’ heading of the Service Calendar section on the Hive.
Note: If your closure is a paid closure, you must add each day of the closure individually, as there is no option on the Hive portal to mark the closure as paid if you enter it as a period, the option is present when adding single days.
Non-Term hours can be used to cover the Christmas period for childcare needs when schools are closed. To add Non-Term hours to NCS claims, log into the Hive and follow the below steps:
For more information on NCS registrations, please see the Registrations section of Resources on the Hive. There is also a Quick Guide on Adding Non-Term Hours available and a number of videos available on our YouTube channel to offer step-by-step guides.
Remember: if you are using the attendance tracker available on the Hive, for non-term weeks you will need to enter a child’s non-term hours into the ‘NCS hours claimed’ column. This will ensure that the tracker will generate alerts correctly against their attendance. You will need to revert to their term hours when term resumes.
Important: Changes cannot be made to service calendar opening hours or claim hours once a return for that week has been submitted on the Early Years Hive.
Bridging payments are made available to services to avail of on the Early Years Hive when submitting a return. Two weeks in advance, the system recognises when a service has a subsidised closure coming up and asks the following: “You have an upcoming closure, do you want to request a Bridging Payment for the dates from “X” to “Z”? (Yes/No)”
This is paid during the week the service is closed i.e. unable to submit their returns. Service must then submit “Fast returns” for this period when they return after the closure.
Ending and re-registering 52-week CHICKs/awards
Most CHICKs/awards last for 52 weeks and many of these will have ended or be ending over the coming weeks. To ensure that payment under NCS is not affected as a result of an expired CHICK, you are encouraged to contact the parents of any children with awards ending soon to discuss their continued childcare needs. In this case, parents will receive a notification on their applicant portal, please remind them of this and see if they need to apply for a new CHICK. This should be done as soon as possible.
To check the end date of your NCS registrations’ CHICK/award, log into the Early Years Hive portal and follow the below steps:
Note: When a new CHICK is received for a child and you are completing their new claim, the start date of the new claim must be after the “Claim end date” of the old claim. In cases where an NCS award is cancelled or terminated prematurely/prior to its original end date, the old claim should be ended on the last week the award was valid for and the new chick registered from its “Subsidy start date”.
In the case of Sponsor CHICKs: the Sponsor will need to complete a new referral, having assessed the continuing need. When Pobal receives a new referral, a new Sponsor CHICK will issue. The parent of the Sponsored child cannot renew the CHICK.
For more information on NCS registrations, please the Registrations section of Resources on the Hive or raise a Request. Parents can contact the Parent Support Centre at 01 906 8530.
An end-of-year webinar covering the above issues with NCS on the Early Years Hive and more was hosted this week. A full list of the topics covered is below:
A recording of this webinar can be viewed here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/3929182179178706177
The slides used in this webinar can also be viewed here.