OFSM Information Documents

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OFSM System Overview Information Sheet


The Department for Education’s Eligibility Checking Service enables Free School Meal eligibility to be determined without the need for paper evidence and with an extremely fast turnaround. Use of the Eligibility Checking Service (ECS) has been shown to improve outcomes for parents, children, schools and the local authority. Clearly, the sooner the system is up and running the quicker the LA and schools will gain benefits from its implementation.

Efficient – and Cost Efficient

SDA have built a plug-and-play bolt-on service that can help you with all this - and at a fraction of the cost of setting up a system from scratch. You can choose to deploy either generic or bespoke online forms with secure, built-in web services to the ECS with complete confidence. And while cost is, of course, dependant on scale - once you’re up and running our pre-configured cloud-based infrastructure keeps maintenance costs down to a minimum. Indeed, the regular checking of ongoing entitlement through our automated web services means that all users can actually save more money than the system costs on top of fulfilling your statutory duties!

Where possible we use Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) data for address lookups to give you the most up-to-date information available (and avoid expensive alternatives). Support and maintenance as well as initial help and guidance to get you started, is all included.

The service package comes complete with our generic back-office system or, for those who wish to retain their existing arrangements, the system can be quickly configured to provide customised data feeds to your back-office.

We don’t charge for that either.

Security Through and Through

As a trusted contractor to the Department for Education, SDA’s secure web servers already host a range of sensitive educational data – so there’s some practical, real world assurance. However we are also, of course, fully and currently certified against the ISO27001 international Information Security standard and our systems, processes and people have been stringently audited to meet its exacting requirements.

Your data is safe with us.