Will the Minister detail how much it costs local authorities in Wales to administer and distribute childcare vouchers under the Childcare Offer?
The Welsh Government allocated £3.18m in 22/23 to local authorities for the administration of the Childcare Offer, this includes undertaking eligibility assessments, promoting the Offer to maximise the take-up by eligible parents and managing the payments to providers.
Local authorities currently reimburse childcare providers directly for hours claimed under the Childcare Offer, using Welsh Government grant funding. Local authorities do not issue vouchers on our behalf.
On 31 October, I issued a written statement regarding the launch of the Childcare Offer National Digital Service. The new service will streamline administration of the Childcare Offer for local authorities, bringing efficiencies of scale and the opportunity for centralised data monitoring to better understand the impact of the Offer. The current system will be operational for legacy placements, alongside the National Digital Service, until September 2023.