Customer success story - STANLEY’s of South Tyneside Council

How Famly helps South Tyneside Council take back time and drive down debt
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June 5, 2023
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South Tyneside

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Funded and non-funded places

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With Famly since

October 2022

Who are STANLEY’s of South Tyneside Council?

South Tyneside Council run a network of their own Early Years settings, called STANLEY’s (South Tyneside Accredited Network for Learning in the Early Years). As each of the STANLEY’s settings is designed to best serve their own local community, each one is unique in the way they operate and run.

  • 4 of the STANLEY’s settings offer full-day care for 85-90 fee-paying and funded children, from babies aged 6 weeks up to 5 years old. 
  • 2 of the STANLEY’s settings offer part-time care, (morning or afternoon sessions), with only 8 children on roll.
  • The other 6 STANLEY’s settings offer full-time care, but only funded places, for children aged 2 years and up.

With 12 locations, 3 different business models, and such a diverse cohort of children and parents, Early Years Team Manager, Karen Pippett, needed a tool that could meet the needs of all of them.

Luckily, Karen found Famly. I sat down with her to hear about how Famly’s helped STANLEY’s of South Tyneside Council reduce their debt and boost their partnerships with parents.

The big ideas

Why Famly?

  • How Famly helps get organisations on board
    Making a change to software can be daunting for a large organisation. That’s why Famly offers an individual customer success manager to guide groups of settings smoothly through getting set up. South Tyneside’s Famly customer success manager, Alan, led training sessions for their teams and was only an email away throughout the whole process.
  • How Famly helps reduce debt
    Chasing debt and overdue fees is a time-consuming and difficult task. Since STANLEY’s of South Tyneside moved to Famly they’ve reported a “significant reduction in debt”, freeing up managers to work on other things and helping the books stay balanced.
  • How Famly helps STANLEY’s save on paperwork and printing
    Not only does printing all the paperwork necessary for an Early Years setting take a phenomenal amount of resources, but it also costs money and time. Since moving to Famly, South Tyneside council have reported that their stationary and printing costs have been reduced by 53%.
  • How Famly helps STANLEY’s partner with parents
    Early Years Team Manager, Karen Pippett, reports that feedback from parents across their 12 settings has been nothing but positive. Parents are communicating and sharing more with their children's educators, with one manager saying that parents are communicating more through Famly than they did face-to-face.

How Famly helps organisations get on board

The STANLEY’s settings had initially been using First Steps but last year, they were thinking of moving on to a new system, with more functionality.

“It was fate,” laughs Karen, “One of our team had worked at another local authority and recommended Famly, so we were looking into it anyway. So when Famly took over First Steps it just worked out perfectly.”

Although the teams at STANLEY’s took to the new platform easily, Famly still organised several training sessions for the educators and managers who would use it every day. Alan Gibson, Famly’s Customer Success Team Lead, led 7 training sessions for all users, including the head office team, to make sure everyone knew exactly to use Famly before they went live, in October 2022.

“It couldn’t have been a more positive process,” says Karen, “There was no rush, no pressure, and Alan couldn’t do enough. I was worried that we were asking too many questions and he’d be thinking ‘Oh no, it’s South Tyneside again!’ but he was always so patient and helpful.”

A baby playing with plastic numbers on a wooden desk.

How Famly helps STANLEY’s reduce debt

Because of the project benefits review that South Tyneside Council completed in April 2023, Business Solutions Partner, Chris Jefferson, was able to confirm that Famly had contributed to a “significant reduction in debt” across the STANLEY’s settings.

“It’s the best thing we’ve invested in, to be honest,” says Karen, “One of our settings has reduced their debt from around £15,000 to about £1500 since we’ve been using Famly.”

Famly has also helped Karen keep track of fees once they do come in. As the STANLEY’s settings are all part of South Tyneside Council, all the nursery fees went to one big bank account. Without a robust system to track how much money came from which bill-payer, at which setting, it was a real effort for the team to keep an eye on what had been paid. Now everything’s in one system, with payments clearly assigned.

“It’s easy for parents to keep up-to-date too,” adds Karen, “They can now see their invoice on their phone, so they can see how much they need to pay really easily. We send the invoice 2 weeks in advance, so they have those two weeks to get ready to pay at end of the month.”

And all of this means more time saved for managers. Before Famly, the STANLEY’s managers had to spend hours each month chasing debt and overdue fees, but now they get back to what really matters.

How Famly helps STANLEY’s save on paperwork and printing

South Tyneside Council have reported that stationary and printing costs to produce learning journals, invoices, reminders, and newsletters have reduced by 53% after switching to Famly.

“You don’t realise how much time staff had to be out of rooms just sorting out photos for journals,” says Karen, “Before Famly, they’d save up all the photos to print then set the print job to run overnight. Then they’d have to cut them all out and stick them in the journals. It took so much time and, of course, while staff were out of the rooms doing all that, we’d have to find other staff to cover.”

South Tyneside report that they’ve seen 50% reduction in staff time-out for completing admin since using Famly, with one member of staff saying, "Observations are completed almost instantly and not in a month's time, with notes written down and practitioners having to remember what happened."

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How Famly helps STANLEY’s partner with parents

Streamlining fees isn’t the only way that Famly has helped STANLEY’s improve their partnerships with parents. Managers have reported that communication has improved and parents are even beginning to add their own observations from home.

A parent at one of the STANLEY’s settings sent a video of their baby’s first steps via the app, as they’d happened at home, and she wanted to share this achievement with the educators at the setting. One manager explained, “[Famly] has provided a platform for better parental engagement, I have found parents are communicating more through Famly than they did when things were face to face.”

South Tyneside also gathered feedback from parents themselves, with one parent saying that they love the new Famly app, “[It’s] so quick, easy and efficient to pass on messages and it’s lovely seeing what (my child) has been up to during the day. I can't tell you how wonderful it is receiving an observation whilst having a stressful day at work – it totally makes my day."

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Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.

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