Dear Early Learning Care and School Aged Childcare Providers,
We are writing to you today with a number of important announcements.
As you will have seen in the press release circulated earlier this morning, the Employment Regulation Orders for the sector will come into effect next Thursday, 15 September- see below for full details. This is also the day that the Core Funding Partner Service Funding Agreement will come into effect.
Key Dates for Accepting Funding Agreements
As communicated last week, an extension has been made to the date that providers can accept the funding agreements and still receive backdated Interim Funding payments from 1 September. All providers who have accepted the funding agreements before midnight on Friday, 9 September will receive payment in respect of two full weeks of Interim Funding (1-14 September) and will receive Core Funding payments from the start of Core Funding on 15 September. Funding agreements activated after 9 September will receive payment from that point onwards but will not be backdated.
Core Funding Payments
The first Core Funding payments will issue next week for services who have completed the contracting process by accepting the funding agreements. Payments in respect of the first two weeks of Core Funding (15-28 September) should reach providers’ accounts on Friday, 16 September for providers who have completed their Core Funding application module and accepted the funding agreements by close of business on Monday, 12 September. Future Core Funding payments, from 29 September onwards, will be in respect of four or five weekly allocations.
Making Changes to Core Funding Applications
Some providers and representative groups have enquired about the provision to make changes to their Core Funding application, for example due to an increase in capacity arising from a Tusla register update, an increase in the service’s operating hours or because of an error. We are advised also that some providers in the process of a Change in Circumstance application with Tusla have delayed their Core Funding application until the Change in Circumstance is approved.
While it is currently not possible to make these changes, this functionality is under development by Pobal and we expect that it will be available in a number of weeks’ time. When this functionality is in effect, it will permit applicants to make changes to their Core Funding application. Further notifications will issue to providers once this is available.
Whereas previously, the FAQ for Core Funding specified that base rate (capacity) allocations would be capped for the duration of the 2022/2023 programme at the amount calculated at the point of the initial application submission year, this is now being revised.
Providers will be able to update their application up until 1 December 2022 with changes that have an impact of their Core Funding base rate (capacity) value (within the upper limit determined by the Tusla register) becoming effective from the point at which the change is submitted.
When the changes functionality initially becomes available, a window will be available to providers to record any changes, with changes to values backdated to the date on which they became effective. We hope this development will be of benefit to providers who are in the process of a Change in Circumstance application with Tusla that has yet to be approved and allow them to proceed to complete the application module, accept the funding agreements and update their capacity at a future date.
Once the changes functionality is available, changes in respect of graduate Lead Educators and graduate Managers can be submitted at any point during the year and the graduate premium values will be adjusted accordingly.
We would also likely to clarify for providers that there are different categories of ‘status’ that apply to different stages of the application process.
Core Funding Partner Service Funding Agreement: once the funding agreement has been activated the status will change to ‘Submitted’.
Core Funding Application Module: the status of your application module will also update to reflect either a ‘Contracted’ or ‘Approved’ status.
Contracted: Core Funding Application Module has been submitted, funding agreements have been activated and are awaiting appraisal. Initial Core Funding payments will be made without appraisals. Appraisals are due to commence later this month.
Approved: Core Funding Application Module has been submitted, funding agreements have been activated and the Core Funding Application Module has been approved.
We hope the information provided is helpful.
With every good wish for the coming programme year,
Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare Division