County council team wins award for innovation

Eve Sinclair and Michelle Dyson.
Eve Sinclair and Michelle Dyson.

Eve Sinclair and Michelle Dyson, from Northumberland County Council’s early years team, were presented with the Childcare Works Innovation award in recognition of their bespoke digital system, called The Wizard.

It is a secure cloud-based application, created in partnership with Information Services, that enables paperless communication for parents and childcare providers. It was set up to help deliver 30 hours’ free childcare.

The programme streamlines and reduces the administrative burden and processes needed to secure the rapid expansion of places within a complex childcare market, with large pockets of rurality. It is being further developed to encompass all early years funding.

Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services said: “Congratulations to the early years team and their deserved recognition of the development of ‘The Wizard’.

“As an early implementer of the 30 hours free childcare, we have worked hard to provide families throughout Northumberland with support to receive this additional childcare.

“The Wizard platform has not only greatly benefited the Early Years team but also the Local Authority to ensure a smooth transition and implementation of the scheme throughout the county.”