Defence Children's Services image of a Serving mother picking up her children from school.

Thursday 18th November 2021

The process of how to apply for ONA and UIFSM is changing in the new year. ONA and UIFSM budgets for all three Services and Civil Servants have historically been held by the Army. For ONA, Army Res in Andover has processed applications and payments. For UIFSM, Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS), then part of the Directorate Children and Young People (DCYP) screened applications and refunds were made using local arrangements (IMPREST).

With the disbandment of DCYP and the creation of Armed Forces Families and Safeguarding (AFFS) and Defence Children Services (DCS) on 1 April 2021, the budget for ONA and UIFSM transferred to the Head Office and Army Res and CEAS support will cease in January 2022. This transfer presents the perfect opportunity to update the somewhat clunky and outdated refund process currently in place. A new JPA solution has been sought which will be implemented from February 2022.

ONA and UIFSM DINs will be updated accordingly and republished nearer the time. Single Services and Civ HR colleagues will also be briefed separately.

The new process

Under the new process, it will be up to unit admin staff to carry out eligibility checks for both ONA and UIFSM applications and then, once application paperwork has been signed off by the relevant Command, Service personnel will be able to use JPA’s i-Expense for reimbursements. This will make the whole process quicker and easier. Regular audit checks initiated by JPA authorisers will ensure only correct claims are processed.

Those eligible to claim but without access to JPA (including Civil Servants) will need to go through their admin unit to identify alternative payment options (using local arrangements, MyHR etc).

All refunds will be charged to Head Office owned UINs. These will be communicated within the updated DINs.

More Comms will be published nearer the “go live” date.

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See also: Education and childcare

Story image: ©Crown Copyright (Defence Children’s Services)

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