Early Childhood Outcomes Digital Hub

The department is introducing a new centralised system for collecting data, reporting and administering program funding for early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers in NSW.

When it is fully implemented, the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Digital Hub will become the primary platform for interaction between ECEC providers and the department, meaning significant time-savings and improved access to funding for services.

A better system for everyone

The Digital Hub will be used to collect information to support all funding activities by the department. It will make the annual preschool census a lot easier and it will support the delivery of the National Preschool Reform Agreement (PRA) and other department funded ECEC initiatives.

The Digital Hub will:

  • streamline data collection into one location

  • improve services’ access to funding

  • improve reporting of funding outcomes for children and services.

Importantly, the Digital Hub will reduce the administrative burden for services by eliminating the duplication of information (and effort).

The Digital Hub will be a stable, secure, fit-for-purpose platform that will provide a more streamlined and user-friendly experience for everyone.

The ECO Digital Hub will replace ECCMS

Over time, the Digital Hub will replace the Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS) which has been used to manage funding and contracting arrangements between the department and ECEC providers for over a decade.

ECCMS will be phased out when functionality is replaced by the new Digital Hub system and users are progressively onboarded.

The new system is being developed in close consultation with ECEC services and the data collection component is being worked on in partnership with child care management software (CCMS) system providers.

Timeline

An initial pilot will be run with a group of community preschools in 2024. Once the testing is complete, providers will be progressively invited to onboard to the Digital Hub, starting in 2025. The introduction of the Digital Hub will require changes to be made by some ECEC services to enhance their digital capability.

2024 is the year for services to get ready, with support to be provided by the department from the start of the school year, so services can make informed decisions about their technology needs and get the support they need to be ready by 2025.

Support for services to get digitally ready

If your service is using a paper-based enrolment and attendance tracking system, it is time to adopt a digital child care management software (CCMS) solution. If your service is already using a CCMS, it is time to review your system to ensure it meets the right specifications and is being used to capture child information, enrolment, service and attendance data.

The CCMS technology selection guide has been created to help services choose the right software and hardware. Please refer to the essential selection criteria to know what to look for.

One-on-one help is available for ECEC services currently using paper-based solutions or experiencing other challenges with technology by calling the Digital Hub technology helpline.

Digital Hub technology helpline

The helpline will be available from 14 February.

1300 412 367 Monday-Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm.

What will change

Once an ECEC provider has fully transitioned to the new Digital Hub, they will no longer need to manually report information to the department.

Some service data such as staff qualifications will require entry into the Digital Hub periodically, and the new system will reduce the duplication of data entry into multiple systems by enabling information to flow electronically from sources such as the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS).

Providers will enter their regular enrolment, attendance, service and fee information into their CCMS system, and the department will work with CCMS system providers to ensure selected data can be electronically transferred from each system directly to the Digital Hub.

The department will capture data from the CCMS for use in the funding process, and services will benefit from streamlined applications, adjustments and acquittal processes. Providers will be able to verify the information which is captured in the Digital Hub.

Frequently asked questions

ECEC providers who receive funding from the department will be impacted by the changes, but not all at the same time. Services involved in the initial phases from 2025 are:

  • community preschools

  • mobile preschools

  • long day care providers.

Community and mobile preschools will be first, with long day care providers to follow. The Digital Hub will progressively roll out to other provider types over time.

Affected providers will be notified well ahead of any anticipated changes.

It is highly recommended for services that rely on paper records to opt for a CCMS system to manage enrolments and attendance, ideally before 2025.

By selecting a CCMS system, services can prepare to meet the requirements for reporting of existing and future funding and grant programs.

Shifting to a digital system may reduce the amount of manual effort needed for reporting and the annual preschool census, allowing services to focus more time on their core activities of education and care.

The CCMS technology selection guide (PDF 264 KB) has been created to help services choose the right software and hardware. Please refer to the essential selection criteria to know what to look for.

One-on-one help is available for ECEC services currently using paper-based solutions or experiencing other challenges with technology by calling the Digital Hub technology helpline on 1300 412 367 Monday-Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm.

Providers using more than one CCMS for enrolment and attendance information are recommended to review operational procedures and combine activities into one primary CCMS, ideally before 2025.

If your service is using a paper-based enrolment and attendance tracking system, it is time to adopt a digital child care management software (CCMS) solution. If your service is already using a CCMS, it is time to review your system to ensure it meets the right specifications and is being used to capture child information, enrolment, service and attendance data.

The CCMS technology selection guide (PDF 264 KB) has been created to help services choose the right software and hardware. Please refer to the essential selection criteria to know what to look for.

One-on-one help is available for ECEC services currently using paper-based solutions or experiencing other challenges with technology by calling the Digital Hub technology helpline on 1300 412 367 Monday-Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm.

The new Digital Hub will comply with the privacy and cyber security requirements applicable to all NSW Department of Education systems.

Find out more about the department’s privacy commitment for data collection, storage and usage.

Contact us

Stay in touch with new developments in the Digital Hub by signing up for the department’s weekly ECEC Update. (Follow the instructions on that page to subscribe).

You are also welcome to send us your feedback or ask any questions about the Digital Hub. Email digitalhub@det.nsw.edu.au.

Category:

  • School operations

Topics:

  • Web page

Business Unit:

  • Early Childhood Outcomes
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