Pobal Compliance Visits

Pobal is contracted, on behalf of the Department of Children, Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) to conduct compliance visits with each participating childcare service who operates one or more of the Childcare Funding Programmes: 

Compliance visits will involve checks on records held on site in respect of the following Early Years programmes: 

  • National Childcare Scheme (NCS) (checks likely to commence in 2021)
  • Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme

The purpose of the Compliance Visit is to verify that:

  • The children who have been registered with the DCEDIY under one of the Childcare Funding Programmes are actually enrolled in and attending the service. 
  • The service is implementing the correct Fee Payment Policy. 
  • The Fee Payment Policy, Parent Letters (where applicable) and Calendars (where applicable) are displayed in the service and that a copy signed by the parent/guardian of each child is on file. 
  • records are maintained of optional extra charges, deposits, voluntary donation and/or fees for additional hours and in accordance with the Fee Payment Policy of the service.
  • The service can show the qualifications of all staff working directly with children.

Since the 2016/17 cycle, there have been some revisions to the Compliance function, which may have implications for services i.e.

  • Service outcomes are not categorised as one of four categories: Compliant, Minor Non-Compliant, Moderate non-compliant, or Major Non-Compliant. Services will still be required to sign-off on the compliance findings on the day of the visit with format categorisation notification forwarded in due course to the designated primary contact e-mail address on the PIP system.
  • Attendance records must now contain the following information: Child’s name; Date of attendance; Arrival time; Departure time. 
  • If a service receives a major non-compliant outcome, they can be subject to a 2nd visit with a view to establishing if the issue identified has been rectified. 

For more information on Pobal Compliance visits Pobal’s website www.pobal.ie which includes:

  • Compliance Forms
  • An Overview of the Compliance Process
  • Frequently Asked Questions including what a Pobal Officer will look for when conducting compliance visits. 
  • A Compliance Checklist  

Please note: Temporary changes to administrative procedures from Funding Package for ELC & SAD Aug 24-Dec 31 2020

In response to COVID-19, the DCYA has introduced, on a temporary basis, added flexibility on attendance rules due to the likelihood in greater variability in patterns of usage (see below). This will assist providers to maximize income and reduce costs,

  • That NCS will allow for 2 hours variation in attendance against registration per week without triggering a report. This is not 2 extra hours per week in terms of registrations, it is a fluctuation against normal attendance patterns which is exceptional to the current environment. This means that as soon as they deem the emergency measure to no longer be required, providers will revert to actual attendance levels.
  •  Nor non NCS: A 30 minute variance tolerance per day per child e.g. If the child is being picked up at 4 hours 45 minutes attendance, this will enable the crèche retain the full-time rate. The purpose of this is to facilitate staggered drop-ins/pick-ups necessary to avoid clustering of parents/children at those times. This is expected to apply to non-ECCE services only.

Both these measures are exceptional and will last until end 2020. This situation would be reviewed at that time Record Keeping, attendance tracking reporting arrangements and compliance facilitation remains in place for the duration. 

DESK BASED CHECKS Announcement

PIP ANNOUNCEMENT 12th November 2020/2021 Compliance Announcement - Desk based checks

On the direction of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) formerly DCYA, the Pobal Compliance team are commencing compliance activity on programme funding currently administered to Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) services.

Compliance checks will be undertaken in respect of some or all of the following Programmes i.e.

  • Free Pre-school Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme
  • For the 2020/2021 cycle, the ECCE programme is administered on the Hive on the Early Years Platform (EYP). The CCSP/CCSU/CCSR & TEC Saver programmes are administered through the Programme Implementation Platform (PIP). To assist in meeting compliance requirements, it is important that participating services on any of the above programmes familiarise themselves with the following:
  • Relevant programme funding agreements
  • Relevant rules documents
  • “How to Guides”
  • Quick Guides
  • Information contained in PIP announcements and resources on PIP and the Hive.

Compliance approach during COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the country, the compliance process has been temporarily revised to take account of the current public health situation and guidance available. As compliance activity recommences, the safety of children and ELC/SAC/Pobal staff in settings remains paramount.

Therefore, the following approach will apply to compliance activity until further notice:

  • On- site compliance visits to services will be postponed temporarily (However, Pobal reserve the right to conduct an on-site visit at its discretion, but in keeping with public health guidelines).
  • Compliance desk based checks will be undertaken by Pobal compliance staff to verify the accuracy of registrations on PIP and the Hive.
  • For each service, a sample of PIP Portal or the Hive Registration IDs will be selected for review.
  • Copies of original service attendance records will be reviewed as a priority.

For each service provider selected for compliance desk based checks, the compliance team will issue an email to the primary authorised user (PAU) as per the Hive outlining the DCEDIY programme/s selected for review.

The email will include an attached Compliance Requirements List (CRL) for submission. The CRL will outline the detail of the selected PIP Portal/Hive Registration ID’s. The service provider will be required to submit copies of original attendance records, showing the selected children, for the period of the children’s complete attendance. (A generic CRL template is available on PIP/the Hive and contains further detail of the information requirements. Please note this will be modified and issued to the services selected for desk based checks).

The service provider should not redact/delete the records/information that relate to other DCEDIY funded children that are not within the initial selection requested. Pobal reserves the right to review the attendance patterns of DCEDIY funded children recorded within the attendance records submitted for compliance purposes.

To meet GDPR legislation, the service will however be requested to redact the names of any non- DCEDIY funded children from the attendance records for rooms/sessions being submitted.

The CRL contains a self-declaration that is required to be signed by the provider (PAU) to confirm that all of the attendance records submitted are copies of the original records completed by staff in each room/session.

A timescale for submission of the information will be outlined in the initial email.

A follow up email will be issued to the service which will contain a secure link to a Pobal OneDrive folder. Once the link is opened the service will be able to save and upload the attendance records and signed declaration to the folder within a specified timeframe.

The service provider (PAU) will be contacted by phone following the issuing of emails to confirm that the emails have been received and to discuss the process and provide any required clarifications.

Once the deadline for submission of information expires the link will be closed.

The desk based checks undertaken on records submitted will take account of any flexibility of DCEDIY programme rules notified to providers through announcements on PIP and the Hive.

The procedure for reviewing registrations and attendance records will be the same as per on-site visits to ensure adherence with DCEDIY requirements.

Following receipt of the document submission, the visit officer will endeavour to minimise disruption to the service operation. However, the service may receive a further phone call(s) and/or e-mail if clarifications are required on the chosen sample of registrations and the format of records submitted.

Following a review of the format of attendance records and the accuracy of PIP/Hive registrations for the selected sample, a compliant/ non- compliant outcome will be applied. In line with communicating outcomes to services following an onsite visit, the compliance team will continue to issue 1) an email notification of outcomes and 2) where applicable, an additional email identifying PIP /the Hive registration updating requirements.

Please note that being selected for a desk based compliance check does not preclude a service from being selected for an onsite visit at a later date. There will be a further PIP announcement to advise when unannounced site visits will recommence.

The Compliance Guides for Service Providers relating to standard onsite compliance visits have been revised for this cycle and are being finalised for publication. A further announcement on these documents will follow shortly at which time the documents will be uploaded to PIP and the Hive systems for information purposes.