Treasury Committee wants answers to issues with Childcare Service website

07 August 2017

Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee, has written to HMRC requesting answers about the disappointing performance of its Childcare Service website.

It has been reported widely in the media that many parents have experienced issues with HMRC’s Childcare Service website since it went live in April. Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare are two separate government schemes to help parents with the cost of childcare and both can be applied for through the Childcare Service website.

The policy team has also been hearing from members at our National Forums that early experiences of using the Childcare Service have thrown up many challenges and frustrations. As with any new digital service the Childcare Service has been launched in Beta mode (trial mode) and is being updated with system fixes, solutions and improvements on a regular basis.

The MP's letter has been referred to by many organisations including Nursery World who have apparently learnt that HMRC is sending letters to some parents using the Childcare Service inviting them to participate in research into their experiences of using the service. Parents will be paid £20 for their time and the letter states that findings from the study, which will be carried out by the IFF, will ‘help HMRC to continue to improve the quality of its service and to help them to better understand its customers’ needs’.

HMRC issued a statement to the media when Nicky Morgan’s letter was first publicised, saying:

Government childcare support will cut thousands of pounds off bills for millions of households, supporting parents to return to or remain in work.

More than 180,000 parents have successfully applied for a childcare account. We know that some parents and childcare providers have experienced difficulties accessing the service and we are sorry about the inconvenience.

We’ve now made significant improvements based on customer feedback and on average more than 2,000 parents are applying successfully every single day. We continue to make updates to improve the customer experience and ensure everyone can easily access their account.

Parents and providers experiencing difficulties or needing technical support can phone the childcare service helpline on 0300 123 4097.”

The CIPP policy team would value hearing about your experience with the delivery of this new policy; please do email us at policy with your feedback.