Report published on parents’ experience of accessing funded ELC

Date: 16th December 2021
Category: Social security and childcare

REPORT

The results of the Scottish Childminding Association’s (SCMA) Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) Audit, which was conducted from August – September 2021 in 30 local authority areas, have been published. The SCMA ELC Audit 2021 presents both a snapshot of where we are in 2021 and a report on progress of over five years of national and local implementation activity to support ELC expansion.

Results confirm that urgent step change is required on Scottish Childcare Policy, as implementation is failing childminding and threatens parental choice.

Key findings include:

  • the numbers of childminders included in delivering funded ELC, after five years of national and local implementation activity, remains very low.
  • the founding ELC principle of ‘Provider Neutrality’ (through which parents should be able to choose to access their funded ELC from a range of childcare providers and local authorities should support this approach) is not working as it should.
  • too many offers for funded ELC made by local authorities to parents are inflexible.

The report makes a series of recommendations including:

  • Replacing the insufficient principle of Provider Neutrality as a matter of urgency.
  • All funded ELC offers need to become more flexible and based on parental need rather than developed from a preferred nursery operating perspective.
  • The Scottish Government should provide financial support to extend the planned demographically-targeted childminder recruitment campaign, initially in development for remote and rural areas, over the short, medium and long term.

Read all of the findings and recommendations in the full report here.