FAMILIES in Clydebank and Milngavie are being encouraged to participate in the new child care consultation.
The Expansion of Childcare and Early Learning in Scotland will run from now until January, and put forward key proposals for radical reform to early years’ childcare.
The consultation was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Scottish National Party conference on October 15.
Two of the major proposals are:
· The first would see funding follow the child, with parents or carers empowered to choose the provider (nursery/childminder) that best meets their needs and - as long as the provider meets agreed standards – ask the local authority to fund it.
· The second would see the establishment of early learning and childcare accounts, with parents or carers given direct funding and allowed to purchase services with providers that offered them the best solution.
The latter option was suggested by Children in Scotland’s Childcare Commission.
Trials will begin after the consultation in January 2017 with plans for a full roll out by 2020.
Gil Paterson MSP said: “I am encouraging as many people as possible to get involved with the Expansion of Childcare and Early Learning in Scotland consultation – it is vital we get as many views as possible before it becomes legislation.
“The SNP government is pioneering childcare with this radical new approach, with prioritises choice and flexibility. As an MSP, my office gets a lot of contact from constituents about this very matter, so I know how important it is to parents.”
Get involved with the consultation and view all of the proposals by visiting: consult.scotland.gov.uk/creating-positive-futures/expansion-of-early-learning-and-childcare
All of the options are included in the consultation document attached. However, here they are:
· Option 1: Funding Dependent on Delivery – funding would continue to be routed through the local government block grant route. However, local authorities would have to submit detailed plans to secure all, or potentially a proportion of, the spend. Alternatively, money not spent could either be clawed back or removed from the baseline for the following financial year;
· Option 2: Funding Follows the Child – a more demand-led system where parents and carers choose the provider, who must meet minimum agreed standards, and then the funding follows while still being administered by local authorities. This could be underpinned by the introduction of a funding formulae which set rates for the provision which would apply to all providers, regardless of sector. These rates could vary according to the age of the child, any additional support needs; across different providers, e.g. childminders, playgroups and nurseries; and, across rural and urban provision (to reflect differences in the average costs of delivery);
· Option 3: Early Learning and Childcare Accounts – a demand-led system where parents and carers receive the funding – through, for example, a system similar to that proposed by the Commission for Childcare Reform23 – which they can then spend at a provider of their choice; and
· Option 4: A hybrid approach – a model with similar principles to the self-directing care approach24, whereby parents and carers choose how their child receives their ELC support – e.g. this could be determined by the local authority; parents and carers could choose their provider and then the money follows; or parents receive the funding (this could also be in the form of an Early Learning and Childcare Account, similar to option 3, to ensure that it is spent on ELC).