Date lodged: 12 March 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on local authorities extending current partnership nursery contracts, instead of retendering, in order to create more time to prepare for the expansion of funded early learning and childcare, and what assessment it has made of the impact of the expansion on prospective nurseries considering entering the tendering process to gain partnership status.
Answered by: Maree Todd 26 March 2018
It is for local authorities to determine, on the advice of their own legal and procurement teams, the local process for contracting with providers in the private and third sectors to deliver funded early learning and childcare entitlement hours.
However, we know from the Blueprint for 2020 consultation, and our ongoing engagement with providers, that the current process for becoming a funded provider can be cumbersome and restrictive, and varies across local authorities.
We are currently working with local authorities and delivery partners to develop a new Funding Follows the Child approach to be introduced in 2020. This will prioritise and safeguard high quality provision, whilst enabling choice for parents and carers.
As part of this approach providers will face a more open and proportionate approach for delivering the funded entitlement.
It will be underpinned by a National Standard, which means that all providers who wish to deliver the funded entitlement will face a clear and consistent set of criteria for becoming a funded provider.
As part of the new approach there is also a commitment to simplify the process for, and reduce the burden on, providers who wish to deliver the funded entitlement.
We will set out more details on this approach at the end of March.