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Early years audits

Early years providers receiving free early education funding must have a routine audit carried out by the council. These audits are needed so we can make sure that funding has been claimed correctly and that appropriate records are being kept by registered providers.

The audit

If you have been selected for a routine audit, you will be given at least four weeks' notice of the visit. You can change the date and time if this is not suitable for you. You will then receive an email telling you what needs to be made available for checking. 

Our Early Years Funding Team will complete the audit and produce a report which will identify any major findings and recommendations. This will help you to make sure that your systems in place ensure you receive the correct level of funding per child. We can also offer any financial guidance and Provider Portal training while we are conducting the audit.

What we check

During the audit we will check the following:


  • The attendance of the funded children across a nominated term or funding period and that it has matched the funding provided by the council by checking the Early Years Providers register (or other method of recording attendance) for that term or funding period.

Parent declaration forms

  • That the funded child has a completed parental declaration form for their first funded term and that it includes parental consent to do eligibility checks for:
    • funding for two year olds
    • early years pupil premium
    • extended entitlement (30 hours) for three and four year olds 
  • That the parental declaration forms contain proof of eligibility for their child to access:
    • funding for a two year old by a six-digit code or Golden Ticket reference
    • extended entitlement (30 hours) 11-digit codes for three and four year olds
    • early years pupil premium by a parental national insurance
    • confirmation of parents' date of birth
  • You have verified the child's date of birth by witnessing a birth certificate or passport.
  • The parent has confirmed the ethnicity of the child.
  • Any shared provision with another registered setting has been declared.
  • The form has been signed by the parent.


  • You are aware of the "no notice" rule on 15 and 30 funded hours children that move on to another registered setting to receive their free or extended entitlement.
  • For those parents who purchase additional hours or services in excess of the free or extended entitlement (if eligible), we will check that the invoices they receive from you shows the funding received from the council as being free of charge and listed as a deduction on their invoice. This ensures that the funding received from the council is not used as a subsidy against the overall total being invoiced.
  • Proof that any additional funding received for early years pupil premium and/or Disability Access Fund has been used in an appropriate manner for the qualifying children. We also require proof of purchases (receipts or invoices) to verify the use of this additional resources.
  • Is the free entitlement (15 and/or 30 hours) free at the point of delivery, i.e. no fees should be paid up front to reserve a place at a registered setting.


  • You have the correct level of Public Liability Insurance displayed on your premises (currently £5,000,000).

Staff qualifications

  • You are funded at the correct level for three and four year old funded children by producing proof of staff's early years qualifications.

Funding adjustments

You should be aware that funding adjustments can be made both to or from settings depending upon the results of the attendance checks of the funded children, and, also staff qualifications (which would have been declared previously on the most up to date provider agreement for the academic year).