To implement the Cost Calculator for a particular set of children, information about their characteristics and placements is required. Key variables are the child and episode data included in the SSDA903 return. The Cost Calculator’s import mechanism can import these as Excel files. The Cost Calculator distinguishes between change of placement and change of legal status records (the SSDA903 return contains both).

Data on the fees and allowances paid to carers and agencies for looking after children in each of the separate placements is also needed. This data is recorded in the financial systems of every authority, although it may not always be easy to break it down by individual child and placement. If this cannot be achieved, the Cost Calculator will use average figures for fees and allowances.

See also: List of Variables to Import