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CSSIW online Self Assessment of Service Statement (SASS) in Wales

CSSIW have now confirmed the move to an online system and information on dates for the annual data collection for registered childcare settings in Wales for 2016 through the Self-Assessment of Service Statement (SASS) and associated Quality of Care report. This blog gives further information and guidance on the changes and processes including timescales, how to prepare and submit a SASS form online and what further help and support is available. CSSIW have published an update on the SASS on their website.

What is happening?

This is an extremely important development for providers in Wales. The submission of a SASS and Quality of Care report for each setting is a regulatory requirement and supports CSSIW to have an understanding of the services provided. CSSIW inspectors will also use the information within the SASS to plan for inspection and influence and inform the direction of these inspections.

From this year CSSIW are moving the submission of the SASS completely online, there will not be an option for providers to choose to submit this to CSSIW on a paper copy. This brings CSSIW and providers in Wales in line with regulators across the UK.

For this year only the Quality of Care report will be separated out from the SASS with the Quality of Care Report not needing to be submitted until the autumn. This should support providers in not being overburdened at this time while becoming familiar with the new system. It is proposed however that in following years the SASS and Quality of Care report will happen at the same point.

Why is this moving online?

Registered childminders were chosen to be the group to pilot the online services and systems during the regulation changes earlier this year and this was very successful with 30% of registered childminders choosing to take up the option of using the online services. This move to online services brings CSSIW in line with regulators in England and Scotland and supports a wider move to digital services nationally.

What are the benefits of using an online system?

The benefits of using an online system for providers are as follows;

  • Reduces the number of questions that have to be completed by providers as they will only see the questions relevant to your setting.  The system has been developed to be clear and easy to navigate.
  • Incorporates some of the requirements of Local Authority Childcare Sufficiency Assessments reducing the burden and duplication of information needed to be submitted by providers.  It will also improve the integrity and consistency of the data collected.  This relevant information will then be shared by CSSIW with Local Authorities.
  • There will be a number of associated guidance document s produced and guidance will also be visible on the online system as the SASS is completed making it easier to cross reference and check.
  • There are options to save and come back later within the system supporting work being completed over a number of weeks.
  • Is supporting the wider move to a digital service across the sector and will support providers to grow confidence in using IT skills.
  • You will automatically be sent a PDF copy of your SASS report, by CSSIW, through email when you have submitted it.

What timescales do I need to be aware of?

  • Any childminder that has already set themselves up on CSSIW online system will receive a ‘come back’ letter around the 4th July
  • All other providers will receive a letter from CSSIW informing them of how to get online around the 4th July
  • We suggest providers get online as soon as possible following receipt of the letter to work through any potential technical logging in issues and to familiarise themselves with the system and SASS contents.  Please note, however, that the system will not be available for providers to edit and to begin inputting information required until the 11th July.
  • You will have to record information on the number of children in your care within set weeks.  These are term-time; week commencing the 11th July and for holiday care week commencing the 1st August.  Providers who care for children term-time and during holidays will have to ensure they record the information for both these dates.
  • Mandatory deadline for submission of the SASS for each setting is 17th August.
  • CSSIW will contact providers around their Quality of Care report in the autumn and how to submit this.

What do I need to do to prepare for completion of the SASS?

As above, we suggest you familiarise yourself with the online system as soon as you are able.  There is information you will need to gather in order to collate it and answer the questions on the online system. This includes;

  • First Aid certificates with dates
  • Qualifications held by staff (including childminders)
  • Date of latest DBS check for all relevant staff (including childminders)
  • Date of Food Hygiene certificate
  • Information on child protection/safeguarding training attended

Also see below around what questions are asked and what information is required for the SASS to give you an idea of other types of information you may find usual to have to hand.  You can save the SASS as you work on it meaning you can go away, find supporting information and then come back and add this.

What questions are asked within the SASS?

The sections of the SASS Annual Data Collection form are: as follows

Section 1: Information about the service

  • Register data (read only)
  • Collecting information (editable)
  • Flying Start information (e.g. numbers of children attending)
  • Early years part-time education funding (e.g. numbers of children attending)

Section 2: Information about the service users and operation

  • Attendance profile
  • Gender profile
  • Learning needs profile
  • Type of service provided
  • Age profile
  • Opening hours / operating periods
  • Capacity
  • Vacancies / waiting lists
  • Fees
  • Welsh Language capability and provision

Section 3: Information about staff / other service persons at the service

  • Individual providers (Registered Persons)
  • Organisational providers (Responsible individuals)
  • Other key persons
  • Staff profile (including role, employment status) which includes childminders
  • Workforce development and training including childminders
  • Welsh language capability and provision

What support is available to me?

PACEY Cymru are working closely with CSSIW to provide a support service around these changes.  Members and registered childminders in Wales are able to access specific email and telephone support from PACEY Cymru on completing the SASS by calling 0845 8801299 or emailing We will guide you through some of the key points from this and support any issues you may be having, sign posting as necessary.  We are also running webinars on the SASS to support sharing of information, guidance and good practice around this. These are free to members and are a good way to develop your confidence.

We will also be posting the presentation shared at the webinar on this page once it has been delivered for you to refer to.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have access to the internet, what can I do?

For the first time the SASS has to be submitted online and there is not an option to request a paper copy of this so you will have to find a way to access this.  You can access through desktop computers, laptops or tablets.

Local libraries have computers available for public use.  If you are looking to use a local library check in advance that there is a computer available for the date and time you want and make sure you take along information you need to be able to submit your SASS (see question below).

Another option is to access the internet at a family member or friend’s house.

I don’t have the IT skills to access the online system or submit my SASS online - what can I do?

For the first time the SASS has to be submitted online and there is not an option to request a paper copy of this.

Another option is to ask for support from a family member or friend to sit alongside you to support you in gaining confidence and working through the system.

To support for the future one option would be to look at local computer/internet classes to support in this area.

PACEY Cymru will be looking to provide 1-1 support through email and telephone support for those who feel this would be beneficial as well as holding a number of group webinars on the topic in order to support collation and submission of the SASS.  See above for further information on this.

Do I need my own personal email account?

As you will be rectifying notifications and verifications for the online system PACEY Cymru would suggest it is good practice to have your own personal email account (if you do not already have one) rather than relying on use of a family member email account or a joint family email.

When can I access the online system?

You should receive your letter with information on how to get online around the 4th July.  Once you have received this information you can set up your account and get online.

How do I get online?

If you have not previously used CSSIW's online services the letter you will receive from them will contain a PIN number and the website address you need to go to. Go to the site and follow the prompts on screen. The first time you go to log on you will have to validate your access adding your PIN number (from the letter received), personal postcode, date of birth and CSSIW registration number (found on your certificate). You will then be able to add your email address and click on the verify my email button, this will then send an email to your personal email account which you will need to go to to verify access to the account. Take the verification code given in the email you receive and add this to the page on the log on screen. Once this has been accepted you can create a password for use with the CSSIW system. Make sure you use something memorable or make a note of this. The password has to be a certain length and have a mixture of different characters in it (see the guidance on the site).

Where can I find my PIN number?

Enclosed within the letter you have received from CSSIW is a CSSIW Online Information Sheet, your unique activation PIN number should be at the bottom left corner of this page.

I have a technical issue, my log on details are not working?

Check you have put in the following correctly as these are common issues;

CSSIW Registration numbers have one letter followed by numbers only.  Check you have not put in a capital O instead of a 0 (zero) anywhere and it is the correct length (see guidance on screen)

Check you have put in your date of birth in the correct format (see screen guidance, this should normally be in the format of dd/mm/yyyy for example 01/01/1981)

Check that the password you have created meets the requirements (in line with screen guidance)

If you are still experiencing issues contact PACEY Cymru (details above) for support on what to do next.

I have a technical issue, I can log on but am unable to access the online service?

There has been a high number accessing the online service during the first few days since 11 July, CSSIW have reported that they are currently experiencing some issues and are working to resolve this.  You can still use this service but you may experience problems completing your SASS.  Please ensure that you save frequently while completing the form, if you do experience any issues please save and try again another time.

I have logged in, but have a technical issue completing certain sections of the online SASS?

PACEY Cymru are working closely with CSSIW to identify any technical issues that require attention.  We have been made aware of the following, which we understand have now been rectified, if you still encounter problems please let us know:

Question 2.5 Additional Learning Needs – you should now be able to enter 0 if you currently have no children with additional learning needs at the setting.

Section 3 Opening hours – to enter time please use a 24 hour clock using a : between the hours and minutes, for example 8.30am would be entered as 08:30 and 5pm would be 17:00.

Section 5 Workforce Development and Training –

  • Please note that for first aid you should enter the expiry date of this training, and for the remainder it will be the date you completed the training.
  • The date fields have now been updated as optional, so if supervised assistants or staff have not completed some of the training listed you can now leave the relevant answer blank. 

Please contact PACEY Cymru with any questions, queries or issues that you encounter (see above). 

I am a childminder, should I include my own children in the figures I submit?

We have been advised by CSSIW that you should include your own children under 12 years of age in the figures you submit for your SASS. This is to ensure a true reflection of childcare spaces available and will ensure this information is in line with your registered places.

I am a childminder and am on holiday on the week set for one of/both the data collection dates?

We have been advised by CSSIW that if a childminder is on leave for either of these weeks they should use the previous or following week to provide a clearer picture of the number of children in your care rather than returning a figure of 0 children in their care which would be misleading and not representative of the setting.  Please note the timescales for the SASS are set and it still has to be submitted by the 17th August.

What do I need to check before submitting the SASS?

As noted you can save and revisit as many times as you need to once the system is available and before the latest submission date of the 17th August.  Before you press the submit button check that;

  • The information provided is accurate and a true account
  • All the required fields are completed (the system will not let you submit until all required fields are completed and will prompt you on this if you try to submit)
  • The form is signed and dated by a nominated and authorised Registered Person or Responsible Individual.

When do I complete my Quality of Care Report?

This year only CSSIW will not be looking for this to be submitted as part of the SASS in July but will instead inform you of the process for submission of this in the autumn.   It is proposed that this will change from 2017 where the SASS will consist of the data collection and Quality of Care report all in one.

How should I start preparing for my Quality of Care report?

PACEY Cymru will provide further guidance on this as it is developed

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