At Caterpillars we believe every child should be able to access a preschool place regardless of economic background, and that the preschool is a valuable resource to the local community.AimTo provide a suitable method of financing the running of a quality early years setting, whilst acknowledging that the first years of a child’s life are the most financially draining on a family.MethodUnder the constitution adopted by the Preschool Committee, the Committee has responsibility for setting the levels of charges for a session of attendance at the Preschool. As far as possible the fees to be charged will be kept to a minimum, whilst remaining competitive within the local area.Early Years Education [EYE] funded places are available part time from the term after the child’s third birthday. Some parents are eligible to claim 2 year old funding for their child.The funding which is available is equivalent to 15 hours per week, and a session must last for 2.5 hours. Sessions can only be claimed for when the Preschool is open, which will be for a minimum of 38 weeks in a (financial) year. It is possible to split the funded hours between two preschool provisions.Parents may be entitled to ‘extended funding’. If both parents earn the equivalent of minimum wage for 16 hours a week, or lone parent fulfils requirement, they may be able to claim extended hours, up to 30 hours a week. Parents need to apply for code to shown they are entitled. Entitlement has to be rechecked every 3 months. This extended funding can be spread across a number of settings.Caterpillars Pre School is a Charity and, as such, relies on prompt payments from its service users in order to operate effectively and be able to offer its services to the community. A debt collection policy ensures that collection methods are fair to everyone.It is recognised that people do not pay their debts for a variety of reasons; some have genuine difficulties, some forget and some make a deliberate decision to avoid paying.The need to get in touch is central to this policy. Where a person makes contact, their circumstances will be considered with a view to agreeing a reasonable payment arrangement, minimising recovery action and helping to alleviate hardship. Where people fail to make contact or maintain arrangements, recovery action will continue.This policy covers the collection of registration fees, pre-school session fees, uniform fees and any other fees that Caterpillars may levy, from time to time. It consists of a statement of principles and a code of practice/procedure.The aims of this policy are to:•take positive action to prevent arrears occurring by providing a range of payment methods and being available and approachable•ensure prompt billing and to remind people quickly if they do not pay •encourage people to make early contact to avoid the build-up of debt•help to identify deliberate non-payers or people who delay payment •take enforcement action against deliberate non-payers or those who delay payment •enable people who fall into arrears to come to payment agreements appropriate to their circumstances •make sure that when we take enforcement action it is appropriate and likely to be effective.Caterpillars:•considers that people have a responsibility to pay •aims to identify those who can pay but do not pay or who delay payment, so that recovery action can be taken accordingly •actively encourages contact at every stage of the collection and recovery process acknowledges its responsibility to collect revenue effectively.
Dealing with Arrears
If an individual gets into arrears, Caterpillars will:ensure that payment arrangements reflect the ability to pay as well as the level of debt owedacknowledge and respect a person’s obligations to their dependants and recognise the need for a person to maintain a reasonable standard of living acknowledge the role of the recognised advice agencies and will work with such agencies whenever possible.
Caterpillars will provide clear and prompt information about bills. The information provided will show •what the bill is for•the amount due•the date the bill is due•how to make payment•a contact point for all enquiries.When an individual makes no contact with Caterpillars in order to agree an instalment plan 14 days after the due date and when an individual fails to maintain payments of a previously agreed payment plan, the Pre School Manager or the Administrative Assistant will inform the Treasurer, who will then decide the next course of action.The normal course of action will be:the administrator will write to the debtor to remind them of their responsibility to pay, asking them to contact the Pre School Supervisor or Administrative Assistant with an offer of an instalment plan to clear the debtafter 7 days, if no contact has been made and the amount due has not been paid in full, the Treasurer will write to the debtor again informing them that their debt will be referred to a 3rd party debt collection agency (debt collector) if full paymentis not made within 7 daysafter a further 7 days, if payment has not been made in full, the Treasurer will inform the Chairperson who will decide on the most cost effective enforcement action, and will refer the matter to the relevant 3rd party debt collection agency.
Monitoring Payment Arrangements
•all payment arrangements will be closely monitored •prompt recovery action will be taken in respect of missed payments •the responsibility for making sure that payment reaches the account by the due date remains with the individual •the individual should be reminded that the date on which instalments are to be paid is the final date on which money should reach Caterpillars. This means that individuals must allow sufficient time for the payment to reach Caterpillars by the due date. When payment arrangements are not maintained, it is important to ensure that prompt action is taken (by the individual) to try and bring the arrangement back up to date. Although Caterpillars ideally will require the original agreement to be brought up to date within a short timescale, if there has been a significant change in circumstances, it may be possible to negotiate a new arrangement. References to other relevant policies: Safeguarding Children & Child Protection, Confidentiality & Client Access to records, Information Sharing, Valuing Diversity & Promoting Equality , Achieving Positive Behaviour, The Role of the Key Person, Children’s Records Policy Monitoring and Evaluation InformationThis policy will be monitored and evaluated as per our rolling programme at staff meetings. It will be reviewed annually by the Chairperson in conjunction with the staff team and Committee unless new legislation or an incident occurs which requires an immediate review of the policyThis policy was adopted on:July 2017