Crappy websites seem to be what Gov.UK excels at :-(
I use the Tax-Free Childcare site which, although run by HMRC rather than the Home Office, is all part of that 'unified' Gov.UK brand.... It's just awful!
The normal route in if you start from where it redirects you upon logging out requires you to click 'Sign in to my childcare account' (just a text link halfway down a long page about many services), which links to a page with the same title, but does it contain a login prompt? Alas! No.... It contains a green 'Sign In' button below another page of text.
Ok, so can I actually log in now? NO! This takes you to "Government Gateway: sign in or set up" with another green button labelled 'Start Now' which finally takes you to a page where you can log in using your lovely and memorable all-numeric government gateway ID (No, not your Self Assessment one! Same system, different ID)....
If you thought you were going to be clever and bookmark the login page - bad luck. It's a generic intermediate auth service which, if loaded directly, just gives an error page saying you can't do this.
Anyway: AFTER successfully inputting the correct login details, you still don't get to access the account until you've received and typed in a code by SMS for 2FA and then clicked through another whole-page message.
So it takes navigating through about 6 pages to get logged in. I did eventually manage to bookmark an intermediate page to cut this down a bit, but it wasn't simple - the first few bookmarks I tried didn't work on second use.
The system itself is pretty shocking - Clunky, clumsy UI, dreadful search for adding registered providers and it can't handle numerical transactions properly...
It's the replacement for 'Childcare Vouchers' which were deducted from gross pay and the principle is that for people earning under £100k, the government will give them 'tax free' childcare by giving them 20p for every £1 they pay in (i.e roughly returning the basic-rate of UK tax). You're supposed to use it like an online bank account except you can only pay OFSTED-registered providers..
There's a maximum benefit of about £500 per quarter from the government yet despite this being a cumulative total of benefit, for the first couple of years the 'available benefit' counter would not only go down as you paid money in, but back up again when you paid money out!! (Doh!).
You also have to reconfirm your eligibility every 90 days, which is relatively simple except that again, for the first couple of years (and despite a number of phone calles and complaints), it would reject my confirmation every time claiming that they could find no record of my children! (You know: The ones I'd already been paying for on that very same system.)
But the bug that still exists is this: Every time you make a payment, it immediately returns you to the account summary but the amounts are all complete nonsense. E.g. You've got £1000 in the child's account and you pay the provider £500. The page then will return you to a summary which might say something like 'Total Balance '314.65' , Cleared Funds '-67' - or, without any explanation of what brackets mean: Cleared Funds (37.1) - They don't even uniformly format the numbers to 2 decimal places! I do sometimes wonder to myself whether the reason it doesn't include the currency symbol is simply that the devs didn't know about using £ in their HTML...
If you refresh the page manually both figures will then update to be £500. I mean, seriously! They had one job! My guess is that this is an asyncronous transaction which gets read before it's actually complete!
I've been using the system for about 3 years and still have zero confidence in it (there's more issues but I've written enough for now).
I live in the vain hope that they might fix it but it seems unlikely.
To end on a more positive note - it's not all bad. I seem to recall that the most recent passport applications I did were fairly well digitised and definitely easier than trying to manually fill in the paper forms. Let's hope that Gov.UK can eventually take notes from its better parts to improve the worse ones.