FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Below are lists of questions that we get asked regularly. Click on the question to display the answer. If you are unable to find an answer to your query please do not hesitate to contact your community development advisor.

Q. What happens of we do not have any financial management systems in place?
A. An organisation that does not operate in a transparent and accountable way will eventually fail an investigation that may be carried out by a funder in the course of assessing a new grant application or in the assessment of how an existing grant was managed. Such a failure would have serious consequences for an organisation because future funding from any funder would be brought into question.

However, although accountability and transparency are essential, a management committee should be aware that they will not satisfy the demands of good practice by merely being able to demonstrate how they have already spent monies. Instead, they should also be able to demonstrate that they have the capacity to manage current and future monies.
Q. What are the time scales of the new pension reform scheme?
A. October 2012, starting with the largest employers and moving down to the smallest. The bulk of employers will be required to comply sometime in 2013 and 2014. The first tranche in October 2012 is expected to be mainly the mega employers, while 2014 and 2015 are likely to be the long trail of very small employers. However, a few randomly selected small employers will be brought in earlier to test the system.
Q. How do we assess the need in the area for a new childcare facility?
  • Questionnaires
  • Face to face interviews with prospective parents
  • Contact your local SureStart
  • Contact Social Services
  • NINES statistics
  • Research what other services there are in the area
Q. What are the requirements for new childcare premises?
A. Information on the requirements for new childcare premises can be accessed through the following links: Or contact your local council for further assistance.
Q. How do we finance the running of our setting?
A. Becoming familiar with grant applications could prove vital to the long term sustainability of your setting. Throughout the year there will be various opportunities for your setting to apply for funding. Early Years Advisors will endeavour to ensure that this information is regularly updated on the Early Years Website or you can follow the links to contact details and one of our advisors will assist you with your queries.

Additionally follow the links below:
You can keep in touch with NICVA on current opportunities www.nicva.org
Invest NI- Go For It Porgramme www.goforitni.com
Q. Funding for our setting -when, where & how?
A. Early Years will regularly update opportunities for funding throughout the year.
NICVA also provide excellent guidance on fundraising.
Q. How is a management committee formed?
A. Electing a management committee is the most practical way to deal with the management of setting. Things to think about include:
  1. What Office Bearers will you need? A Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary are usually essential
  2. Will you need any sub-committees now or in the future?
  3. Should the organisation limit the amount of time someone can serve on the committee?
  4. Can membership of the management committee be removed? What would the procedure be?
  • The Committee has the responsibility for the overall running and administration of the group.
  • All responsibilities are shared equally among all members of the Committee-
    not just Office Bearers.
A management committee is formed in line with procedures set out in the constitution or Memorandum and Articles of Association. Early Years recommends that committee members stay in place for at least two years. The make up of the committee should reflect a balance of age, gender, race and disability where possible. In cases where grants have been allocated, funders may request that two members of the committee remain in office for the duration of the award.

Members elect the management committee at an AGM held once a year. Members are generally either family members (parents/carers) of children in the setting or associate members (those who have the best interest of the group at heart with skills that can support the effective management of the group. Key points for consideration:
  • There must be a minimum of 5 on the committee and it is recommended that at least two should be parents/carers of children within your setting
  • The management Committee is ruled by the Constitution/Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • Responsible for the management of the setting.
  • Management committee' employ staff where applicable.
  • The staff of the setting (including volunteers/temporary staff) report to the management committee.
  • A period for "handover" should be incorporated when new members of the management committee come on board.
Q. How frequently should the management committee meet?
A. Early years would advise that in accordance with promoting good governance in your setting, committee members should meet on a monthly basis to discuss relevant business. These meetings should be at a time and place convenient to the majority of the committee members and provide all in attendance with the opportunity to voice their opinions, ideas and concerns.
Q. Do staff attend management committee meetings?
A. Usually the leader in charge is the main point of contact within Management Committee meetings. They will present reports and answer any questions regarding the daily operations of the setting. All staff should be given the opportunity to address any issues they feel need to be presented at these meetings through their line manager. Any specific changes/developments made by the management committee should be brought to the attention of all staff members after a meeting has taken place. The regularity of meetings should be reflected in your constitution.
Q. Which committee members need to be vetted?
A. It is not a legal requirement for all management committee staff to be vetted. Vetting procedures are recommended only for those members who:
  • are actively engaged in the setting
  • have regular contact within the setting
  • volunteers within the setting
  • people involved in recruitment and selection process
More information can be gained through Access NI www.accessni.gov.uk
Q. What is the procedure for recruitment?
A. Recruitment is a big investment and a key responsibility of the management committee. It is important as a management committee that you get the process right – that you are fair and consistent in your approach while meeting the needs of your organisation to recruit the right person for the job. You will need to take into consideration;
  • Preparation of Job Description and Personnel specification
  • Drawing up and using Application forms
  • Advertising the vacancy
  • Short-listing
  • Interviewing
  • Selecting
  • References
For further assistance with relevant legislation, codes of practice and practical guidance in the various stages of recruitment and selection, use the links below
Q. What are current salary scales?
A. Click here to download the NJC pay scales 2009-10

National minimum pay rate is £5.95 per hr for workers aged 21 and over. This is the hourly rate for leaders & assistants and is only a ball park for groups but it does give them some idea of what you might be able to pay.

No rates have been agreed for NJC scales this year as the government wants a pay freeze and these are the most up to date figures.
Q. How many hours do staff work?
A. Normal working hours should be set out in an employee's contract of employment. Employers should not expect employees to have to work more than an average of 48 hours a week. It is your duty as management committee to ensure that employees have their terms of employment including what hours and working patterns are involved in their job. They might not have a written contract, but employees must be given written particulars of their main terms and conditions - including the working hours - within two months of starting. For further information on hours of work, breaks and rest periods view NI Direct government services

The Labour Relations Agency will be able to clarify any queries you may have regarding staff working hours.
Q. What are the limits to our work as a management committee?
A. The management committee has certain powers that are clearly laid out in the organisations governing document (constitution). The management committee can only act within these powers. Members do not have the power to do whatever they wish.
Q. What are the expectations of a committee member?
A. The roles and responsibilities of all committee members should be clearly laid out in the organisations governing document (constitution). This document should cover areas such as attendance at meetings and so forth.

A good committee member:
  • Commits to preparing for and attending meetings
  • Has a good understanding of the organisation, what it does and how it does it
  • Is not afraid to ask questions
  • Agrees to stick to the majority decision
  • Supports fellow committee members and staff
  • Acts as an advocate for the organisation
Q. Where can we get copies of policies and procedures?
A. Policies and procedures are individual to every setting and should be drawn up using the expertise of staff and the management committee together. For example; staff will be more aware of what is required as part of the settling in policy.
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