Taking the hassle out of managing your childcare voucher account

How many accounts do you manage online? Nowadays we all have so many passwords to remember and online accounts to keep on top of, and, as a busy parent, managing a family’s finances and lifestyle is an ongoing challenge.

This is why we are committed to helping the parents that use our scheme to manage their childcare vouchers more efficiently. We’ve recently made some improvements to our online accounts, based on feedback from our customers.

The top three new features for parents:

1. Dashboard - we’ve created a new Dashboard to allow parents to see their balance, upcoming orders, account details and other options – all in one place. They’ll also find quick links to make transactions and update your settings – saving valuable time!

2. Refreshed interface and improved navigation – if you’re new to our scheme, you may notice that we’ve updated the look and feel of our Registration page to match the style of our main website, offering a more intuitive experience for you. Our new menu offers quick links around the site when you’re not logged in to your account, helping you find the information you need, faster!

Feedback from parents has helped us to make paying a carer a quicker process. We’ve restructured our drop-down menus so that carer transactions are all in one place and placed a quick ‘make a payment’ link on the carer menu to reduce the time parents spend managing their account.

3. e-Voucher Balance Display - as well as displaying on the Dashboard, parents’ available account balance is now displayed throughout the online payment process, without having to go back and double-check.

We provide a free online account where parents can edit their voucher order, pay carers, and keep personal details up to date. If you are a parent who currently receives paper vouchers, it’s easy to start managing your order online!

We hope these new features will help parents manage their vouchers quickly and easily. We’re keen to hear what you think so please send your feedback to customerfeedback@computershare.co.uk

Are you ready to start school?

Getting ready to start school can be a big step for both you and your child, whether or not they've been going to a nursery or playgroup.

For parents in England and Wales, the deadline for submitting an application for Reception Year admissions is in January* each year.

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Preparing for school 

You’ll have so much to think about in the run-up to the first day of school in September! Here are my three top tips:

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Establish a routine - This includes getting dressed, doing the school run, getting to know the school grounds and getting used to being apart from your child. The more you practice a routine, the easier it will be when term begins!

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Keep your paperwork - Keep all your correspondence with the school and local council filed together, and mark important dates on your calendar. This will come in handy for remembering school holidays and procedures.

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Organise childcare - Your child may have access to school-run activities. ‘Wrap around’ care may also help you to cover the gap between the beginning and end of your working day and the school day. With 14 weeks of school holidays each year, you can use a variety of child-minders, holiday clubs and activity holiday providers. You can usually use childcare vouchers to pay for all of these!

A parent’s experience

For our latest video, one parent shared her experience of preparing her daughter for school with us. You can watch the video on our YouTube channel.

If you have a child in school, we’d love to hear what the process was like for you- why not let us know in the comments section?

 

Rising childcare costs

The rising cost of childcare is a factor in the recent Government consultation on childcare vouchers, and I’ll be keeping you up to date with its progress.

According to Family and Childcare Trust research, parents are paying nearly £4,000 per year for two children to be looked after before and after school! What’s more, childcare in the school holidays can account for almost 20% of your wages during those weeks.

To cover your working hours, extra-curricular activities can help to extend the school day. Our Parent Survey in 2013 revealed that of the parents whose children do an extra-curricular activity, 51% don’t use vouchers to pay for it, and haven’t checked if their provider accepts them! Have you?

Good luck with getting your child into your preferred school – if you’re in England and Wales you should get your allocation confirmation in April*.

With kind regards

Julian

 

*Find out more about admissions in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

 

 

Childcare costs exceed mortgage repayments

Paying for childcare remains a huge, and in some cases, crippling burden on family budgets - which is no surprise when you look at the figures.

Families are now spending more on part-time childcare per year than the average person pays towards a mortgage, according to the Family and Childcare Trust. In their annual report the charity reveals part-time childcare costs for a family with two children have overtaken the average UK mortgage bill by 4.7%. 

The cost to have one child in part-time nursery care and another at an after school club adds up to an eye-watering £7,549 a year, while a full-time nursery place for a child under two now costs around £9,850 a year.

So it is little wonder that many of the parents we speak to are having to seriously consider whether it is worth going to work.

While in the short-term employers can help working parents by offering childcare voucher schemes and flexible working, long-term we believe the system simply has to change.

Additional support for working parents to help them manage spiralling childcare costs is something we have long been campaigning for at CVS and we will continue to fight in the corner of working parents on this issue.

We agree with the Family and Childcare Trust that more support for parents is essential and call on Government to take immediate action to do more to help working parents.

You can view the full Family and Childcare Trust survey here. If you’re a parent, childcare provider or employer and would like to find out more about childcare vouchers, then please visit our website.

Julian

Come and see us at The Work & Family Show 2014

This Friday 21st February, some of the Relationship Managers here at CVS will be making their way to ExCeL in London to attend The Work & Family Show 2014. 

We’re really excited to attend this new event, which is organised by MyFamilyCare and will be running alongside The Baby Show. The aim of the event is to promote family-friendly working practices and there’ll be plenty of advice on offer including how parents can strike the right work/home balance. Many employers will also be present as an opportunity to showcase their family-friendly ethos. 

Obviously families are at the heart of what we do so we’re looking forward to showing our support and meeting both the employers and parents who benefit from our scheme. 

One of the highlights of the show for business delegates will be a special one-day event for HR and diversity professionals. Advice will be available on getting to grips with the important issues around work and family, supported by a series of workshops from guest speakers. 

We’re proud to be sponsoring The Trade Workshops and Business Networking Area. If you’re an employer, come and say hello! You can visit the workshops, or join us for the free lunch we’ll be providing to all business delegates. 

We’ll also be tweeting news throughout the day, so look out for updates from @CCVouchers. 

We hope you enjoy the event!

 

Julian 

Find out more about the show or book tickets at www.theworkandfamilyshow.co.uk

Our popular Win Your Child’s Height in Books competition is back for the third year!

Over the last couple of years we have been promoting the benefits of reading for children of all ages.           

This year we are again encouraging children to read more by giving parents another chance to win their child’s height in books! The competition is open to parents whose children are between 0 and 16 years of age and who are UK residents.

The competition will open on the 3rd February and close at 11:59pm on the 6th March 2014.

To enter, simply visit our dedicated Facebook page, ‘like’ us (if you haven’t already), and comment on at least one of our posts during the time the competition is open – it’s that simple!

You only need to comment on one of the posts for your entry to be counted – but feel free to get involved in all the book related conversations. We’ll be asking questions on our page about all things literary, from your child’s favourite author, to your favourite book when you were growing up! 

You can find out more about the competition by visiting www.computersharevoucherservices.co.uk

Kidsunlimited

By CVS managing director Julian Foster

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I’m delighted to announce that we’ve acquired the Kidsunlimited voucher business, one of the UK’s top 10 voucher providers.

For both of us it’s a natural move. We’re always looking for ways to grow our business. In the last five years we’ve strengthened our operational core, further increased our customer service abilities and expanded products and services to our 13,500 clients.

It’s now our job to make sure Kidsunlimited customers find a happy home here at Computershare Voucher Services, and we’re confident we can meet and exceed that expectation.

Finally, if you are a Kidsunlimited customer we‘re delighted to be your new voucher provider, and may I take this opportunity to welcome you to our service.

If you’re with Kidsunlimited then in time we will be in contact to update you on the additional benefits we bring as your new provider.

And, of course, if you do have any questions, do feel free to contact us.

With kind regards

Julian