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Data collection

Personal data

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), early years settings must inform parents about the data they hold and how it is used. Data covers personal information such as names, addresses, date of birth, etc., and should also include information about whether the data is passed to any third parties, for example the local authority. If parents have any questions about how data is being used or stored within an early years setting, they should contact the childcare provider directly.  

The 'Your Personal Data' section on the free early education entitlement (FEEE) parent agreement forms explains how Essex County Council holds and uses this data. Information on how the Department for Education (DfE) holds and uses this data can be found on its website.

Important! You may need to register as a data controller, find out on the Information Commissioner's Office website

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applied in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK's decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.

The GDPR applies to personal data and sensitive personal data. We advise all our settings in Essex to read the ICO Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Reasons why we collect data

Essex County Council (ECC) has a duty to collect essential data from our early years providers.  We do this via our online provider portal. We collect data at differing times and for different reasons, explained below:

Provider self-update - at least every term in the provider portal

Setting contact and service description information: The provider can opt to be on the public list where the information is used by the family information service to answer enquiries from parents looking for childcare. This information is also published through the online Family Information Service childcare search.

Termly return form - second half of each term

Place and occupancy data: Essex County Council, as the local authority has a statutory duty to ensure, as far as is practicable, that there is sufficient childcare to meet parental demand. This data is important in building a picture of childcare provision across Essex.

Workforce information: This information informs the type and amount of training we provide to support settings in being both Ofsted-compliant and in meeting the safeguarding and welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

Headcount data - each term

All providers who offer the free entitlement are required to submit headcount data each term, this includes details of the children they will claim for and the hours and weeks the child will access in that term. Headcount days are set for each term and these are published in the free entitlement contract and in the provider portal. You can also download a PDF document of the headcount data collection dates from the relevant resources section below.

Early years census - each year

Each year, early years private, voluntary and independent (PVI) settings who offer the free entitlement are required to complete an early years census. This information is collected via the early years provider portal and then passed by Essex County Council to the Department for Education.

Deadline dates

The deadline dates are published on the announcement page as you log into the provider portal. These are subject to change and may differ from those shown in the provider handbook.

You can also read any messages and extra guidance on the 'headcount task page' within the portal.

We are unable to extend deadlines. Please ensure you submit your headcount data by the expected date, otherwise your payment will be delayed until the end of term.

Relevant resources

All the documents below open in new windows.