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Easy method of informing Children\\\'s Tax Credits about childcare changes

FROM: Rowan Fothergill

What NEED does this meet?
The database design for the storage of childcare details was badly designed (IMHO); in particular it doesn't allow for different childcare arrangements in term time vs. school holidays / half-terms. This means that I have to ring up the helpline just before each holiday period, cancel off the term-time arrangements, add the holiday arrangements & restart the term-time arrangements. This 6-times-annually misery is compounded by the fact that their database won't accept childcare start dates more than three weeks in the future (so sorting out summer holidays at 6 weeks is a real pain).

I would like a simple, easy to use web form that allows me to inform the Children's Tax Credit staff of changes in childcare arrangements for holiday periods only (all other changes probably being too complex to deal with using this approach).

I think this would aid the thousands (millions?) of working parents with children of school age. It would also ease congestion on the Tax Credit helpline, and should speed up processing of claims as changes are submitted in a standard, uniform way.

What is the APPROACH?
I would design a web-site that asks users to enter: 1) Which term-time childcare is stopping & when; and when it is restarting 2) Which holiday-time childcare is starting (& start/end dates if different to term-time end/start dates)

To make things even more user-friendly I would: A) Allow user to enter dates as "Start of summer term, 2003" or "End of autumn term, 2004" B) Store existing child-care details on cookies (or similar) on the user's computer. These would have to be entered once when first using the service but thereafter can be selected from a drop-down list on the main web form.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
People won't have to ring the Children's Tax Credit line just to change childcare dates.

What is the COMPETITION?
No similar services at all.

It's a great idea!

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Developing a simple web form that just sends an email to the Children's Tax Credit with all the relevant data should be fairly straight-forward. Aside from the user's reference number no strictly personal data is sent on-line (name of childcare provider & some dates shouldn't cause privacy problems??)

Linking to D.of Ed. to get term dates can't be too hard - it's on their website (somewhere!).

The icing on the cake would be to auto-link into the CTC database & batch update all records before they are sent to the Processing Teams for checking & recalculating. As this doesn't directly benefit the end-user (who only cares that the data is sent & CTC updates (eventually)) it's not strictly relevant to this proposal.

October 31, 2003 in Children, Perhaps Government Remit? | Permalink


You are doing a wonderful job, just love the site!!!
There is always more information out there.
Thanks for the good informationen.

Posted by: goerge fild at Jun 27, 2004 4:34:38 PM