Hampshire Family Information Service
Hampshire Family Information Service provides free, impartial information and guidance to families regarding types and availability of Ofsted registered early years education and childcare services across Hampshire, covering ages 0-16.
Who to contact
Where to go
- Hampshire Family Information Service
Services for Young Children, Children's Services Department,
Hampshire County Council, 4th Floor, Elizabeth II Court North
- SO23 8UG
- Age Ranges
- 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
- Local Offer Age Bands
Secondary (11-16 years)
Early Years (0-4 years)
Primary (4-10 years)
- Needs Level
- SEN Provision Type
- What does your service do?
The Hampshire Family Information Service key purpose is to provide free, impartial information and guidance to families regarding the types and availability of Ofsted registered early years education and childcare services that are inclusive in their delivery to children and young people. We also provide details of how families can access support in paying for these services. By providing details of services the Hampshire Family Information Service enables parents and carers to be able to work, study, attend appointments, care for other family members or have respite.
The Hampshire Family Information Service provide information and guidance via:
• The Hampshire County Council contact centre Children’s Services helpline (telephone and email)
• The Services for Young Children website
You can contact us as many times as you need with regards to telephone and email support. Where no options have been presented we will try to signpost families to other services for support.
- Who does your service provide for?
The Hampshire Family Information Service supports Hampshire Local Authority area families that have children aged 0 – 5 years requiring early years education, or children and young people aged 0 – 16 years needing childcare or care services.
Information and guidance is also available to professionals, organisations and agencies from the public, private and voluntary sectors who are working with families in the Hampshire Local Authority area.
The information and guidance includes services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. You will be able to discuss with service providers regarding the specific needs for your child or young person.
- How can I start using the service?
Parent carers (and professionals, organisations and agencies from the public, private and voluntary sectors who are working with families in the Hampshire Local Authority area) can start using our service now. For telephone and email enquiries contact the Hampshire Family Information Service on 0300 555 1384 or email@example.com, between the hours of 8.30am until 5.00pm, Monday to Thursday, or 8.30am until 4.30pm on Fridays. There is a charge for calls made.
All information and guidance provided is free and impartial. You will only be responsible for paying costs attached to the services that you wish to access.
Some families may be able to have support from Government schemes to pay towards the cost of some services depending on eligibility criteria. Parent carers and professionals can access free information and guidance from the Hampshire Family Information and Services Hub and the Services for Young Children website.
- Where is it located and what areas does it cover?
Hampshire Family Information Service supports families who reside or who are moving into the Hampshire Local Authority area. Hampshire’s Local Authority area excludes Southampton and Portsmouth cities, which will have their own Local Offers. You can check Hampshire County Council’s area here.
Free information and guidance via the telephone, email and website can be accessed by families (and professionals supporting them) across the Hampshire Local Authority area. Here are the contact details for Services for Young Children local offices and headquarters should further help be needed.
- How are decisions made about who can use your service?
Hampshire County Council’s ‘Family Information Service’ was developed in response to The Childcare Act 2006, section 12. The service provides information, advice and assistance to all parents or prospective parents, and with regards to the needs of the parents of disabled children or young persons http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/21/contents.The Childcare Act clearly states who can use the service.
Services for Young Children personnel are responsible for maintaining the service on behalf of Hampshire County Council, and operational decisions are made by senior management.
- How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making?
The Hampshire Family Information Service communicates with service users via telephone, email and the internet. We can arrange for resources to support service access such as translators for those whose first language is not English. For sensory impaired service users hearing loops, Braille and large print documents can be arranged. Makaton communicators (language programme using speech, sign and symbols) can be made available on request.
Our website has ‘accessibility options’ at the bottom of each web page in order to help service users.
It is important that we continue to develop our service in partnership with you so we ask for feedback by telephone, email, intranet, online surveys, post and face to face. The service officer is responsible for examining and responding to feedback, which may result in further service development. Where significant changes are made to service delivery this will be communicated to you through the range of channels available.
- Is your service fully accessible?
The Hampshire Family Information Service does not have a ‘shop front’ for service users to access. However, parents and carers can speak directly to colleagues who work in Children's Services or at one of the local Services for Young Children offices for help.
Please feel free to contact us in advance to discuss your specific needs and we will work with you to resolve any access issues as far as possible. Otherwise the service can be accessed using the Hampshire Family Information Service helpline or website.
- What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEN and Disabilities had or are having?
Children’s Services helpline advisors who respond to Family Information Service enquiries are either qualified, or working towards, NVQ Level 2 in Customer Services or Information and Advice. The Services for Young Children Childcare Information and Communications Officer is qualified to NVQ Level 4, Information, Advice and Guidance, specific to their role. One of the mandatory units relates to Equality and Diversity and requires personnel to review and adapt where necessary their service and individual approach and practices to gathering, processing and delivering information and guidance. Personnel also are required to work with due regard to the legislation that is in place.
Hampshire County Council require that all staff are actively engaged with continuous professional development and that they undertake training, work shadowing and project work to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding. The Hampshire Family Information Service personnel have all undertaken mandatory training including Child Protection and Safeguarding and are required to update their knowledge inline with legislation changes and Hampshire County Council procedures.
- How will I know my child is safe?
If your child (or young person) does make contact with our service through using one of the communication channels available we will respond by working with other Hampshire County Council staff to ensure that your child is safeguarded, by following established protocols and procedures that are in place. The information and guidance that is provided by the Hampshire Family Information Service is subject to legislation (e.g. Data Protection Act 1998, Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and statutory requirements from Government bodies (e.g. Office for Standards in Education, Department for Work and Pensions).
You will be supported by the Hampshire Family Information Service as to what to consider when looking for a suitable early years education or childcare service; including meeting the welfare needs of your child. Respecting and understanding that it is the parent carer who knows their child best; it will be your decision as to what service you will use for their child.
As a Hampshire County Council information service we are impartial and therefore we do not recommend or endorse any particular service or provider.
- Who can I contact for further information?
In most cases your first point of contact for an enquiry about early years education and childcare services, or to discuss something about your child would be the Hampshire Family Information Service helpline on 0300 555 1384 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The same applies if you have worries about your child, or another child or young person who lives in Hampshire.
If you have concerns about your child who is attending an early years education or childcare service then you should contact the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) using their helpline 0300 123 4666. Further details regarding contacting Ofsted are found on http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/information-for-parents-about-ofsteds-role-regulating-childcare. Alternatively you may prefer to contact Services for Young Children.