Childcare Service Trial -Guidance for Childcare Providers

Childcare Service Trial -Guidance for Childcare Providers

Childcare Service Trial -Guidance for childcare providers


Parents will be able to apply for both Tax-Free Childcare and the 30 hours’ free childcare through the Childcare Service being developed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This joint online application system will provide a simple and straightforward way for working parents to access the schemes and will avoid the need to provide the same information twice.

The Department for Education (DfE) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have invited a small number of parents taking part in the Early Implementation of 30 hours to participate in a trial of the childcare service from mid-November 2016. These parents will be invited to test the Childcare Service. Parents who apply and are eligible for 30 hours will receive an eligibility code. This will allow the four participating local authorities to test and refine local arrangements for checking validity of these eligibility codes using DfE’s Eligibility Checking Service, which will be required during the full rollout of the service.

This guidance sets out what you, the provider, will need to do as part of the trial.


Thank you for taking part in the trial by DfEand HMRC to test the process for checking and verifying parent and child eligibility for 30 hours’ childcare for working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds.

The Childcare Service Trial will enable DfE and HMRC to determine what works well and what, if any, changes are needed to improve systems and processes.

The trial will start in mid-November 2016 and run to early 2017. DfE and HMRC will also be asking childcare providers to test and give feedback on their involvement in the end-to-end business process (from parental application to validation of the eligibility code by your local authority).

This is a great opportunity to get an early view on how well the business process works and understand the parental experience of using the childcare service to claim Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours’ free childcare.

Responsibilities of childcare providers in the trial

  • You will be presented with a code from a parent to claim the 30 hours’ free childcare
  • You will need to check the validity of the code with City of York Council (details below).
  • We will then inform you of the validity of the code and the earliest start date and the end date the child can receive 30 hours childcare.
  • At a later date (to be confirmed) we are hoping that you will be able to use our Provider Portal to check the validity of the eligibility code online. We will inform you when this service is available and provide guidance on how to use the portal.

This trial is purely to test systems and business processes - it is not linked to a parent’s eligibility to receive 30 hours’ free childcare through the Early Implementer programme - and a parent’s free childcare place should not be removed if the check finds the parent ineligible.

Parents taking part in the trial may also be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare. Registered childcare providers across the UK will have received a letter in October from HM Government which will provide further information on Tax-Free Childcare and how you can sign up to receive Tax-Free Childcare payments from this autumn.

Process for checking validity of eligibility code

  1. Provider to complete the attached “Childcare Service Trial code pro-forma” will the following details:

 Parents National Insurance (NI) number

Childs Date of Birth

Eligibility code

  1. Provider to email the completed pro-forma to the 30 hours inbox at
  2. The funding team will check validity of the eligibility code and then reply by email to the provider to notify them of whether the code is valid. The email will also state the earliest start date and the end date the child can receive 30 hours childcare. The funding team will respond to all emails within a 10working day period.

Please note that if the check produces a ‘non valid return’ this will not affect the parent’s actual eligibilityas part of the Early Implementer programme. It is purely to test the systems and processes).