Synergy | Free School Meals and Benefits

Synergy Free School Meals and Benefits (FSMB) provides local authorities with a powerful, straightforward solution to the management and allocation of free school meals, clothing vouchers and a range of other grants.

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Overview

FSMB is part of the Synergy suite of integrated Children’s Services Management Information Systems, providing a single view of all local authority interactions with children, young people and families.

The system is supported by an online portal for both parents and schools, enabling Free School Meals services to provide quicker and more accurate responses.

Parents can receive real-time eligibility confirmation at the point of application, whilst still retaining the ability for Local Authorities to perform follow up tasks or interventions if required.

Process Improvement

Historic Free School Meals processes require sight of appropriate benefit receipt for proof of eligibility and uses paper-based application forms, which are then manually keyed into an administration system.

Synergy FSMB offers in-record, real-time eligibility confirmation and batch checking through integration with the DfE’s Eligibility Checking Service. Paper forms are replaced with online digital applications, removing the admin burden on Local Authorities. Where additional proof of eligibility is required, document upload functionality built into the portal allows parents to securely upload supporting information at the point of application.

As soon as eligibility is identified, schools are able to securely access entitlement information via our School Access Module to ensure quicker uptake of free meals.

Key Features

  • Supports a wide range of grants and benefits, not just free school meals
  • Can be used simultaneously by multiple teams
  • Processes, timescales and terminology can be changed to suit local needs
  • Seamlessly and automatically shares information with colleagues and other agencies
  • Powerful reporting and business intelligence analysis
  • Built-in address verification and checking
  • Powerful record matching of applicant and child details minimises the risk of data duplication

In January 2018, for all school types, 13.6% of pupils were eligible for and claiming free school meals.

Read our brochure to find out more about how Synergy can help your Local Authority.

Download Brochure (233 KB)

Key Benefits

For Local Authorities

  • One system for managing multiple grant, voucher and benefit programmes
  • Record the family or child once, and use for many services
  • Builds on proven application portal for School Admissions
  • Submitted applications appear in the back office straight away for review and processing

For Schools

  • Provided access to lists of children applying to attend their school
  • Access to simple, sortable lists of all children who are eligible to receive free school meals

For Parents

  • Applications can be completed quickly and easily, from any internet enabled location
  • Simple-to-use, online application form in the same portal as school admissions
  • Receive notification in writing, through e-mail or via the same online system used to make the application

See Synergy in action
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