Development of a 'Click and Book' system for Emergency Childcare Hubs in Powys
While essential workers have provided the backbone of the frontline services during the pandemic, for many of these vital employees their valuable work has been made possible by the provision of good quality childcare, available where and when it is needed.
Childcare has also been required to support the most vulnerable children within the County.
In order to co-ordinate and monitor the provision of childcare across the 14 Emergency Childcare Hubs and two Emergency Childcare Specialist Hubs set up across Powys, the Authority's Digital Access (web) Team were called on to swiftly develop a 'Click and Book' system to facilitate the efficient management of this mammoth task.
A web-based facility was swiftly developed by one of the more junior team members and they have delivered a quick and easy booking process that is comprised of two user-friendly paths. The first, allowing the booking of childcare for school-aged children, collects the submitted booking requests into a spreadsheet that allows the service providers to download the collated records as required. Since the system became live on 30th March, it has proved to be efficient and labour-saving with 2677 forms having been submitted via this process up to 11th June.
The second path, facilitating bookings for pre-school aged children, takes a different approach with each submitted form generating an email that is forwarded directly to the Early Years' Service for action by their team. This adaptation allows parents and carers to upload the required evidence of their employment status prior to making the booking. This form is still in use but between 30th March and the end of June, 2,354 forms had already been submitted.
The online process has provided much-needed utility to an undertaking that could have proved time consuming and expensive without digitalisation. For the critical emergency workers, NHS staff and social care workers who have needed to access childcare it has offered a straightforward way of ensuring that their children will receive the necessary care while they are at work.This has provided peace of mind that can be accessed from anywhere and without added stress.
In allowing parents and carers to complete the forms for themselves online, the system has lessened the workload for the staff administrating for the Childcare Hubs and has greatly reduced the need for individual customer contact. Without paper forms to be completed, the system has also proved to be more environmentally responsible while avoiding unnecessary face-to-face interaction.
Further information regarding our work may be viewed at Digital Powys.