Date lodged: 17 January 2019
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the reported recent success in some local authorities with developing a legal method of providing private and third sector childcare providers with capital funding for the expansion of funded childcare to 1,140 hours, whether it planned for such a method following the expansion policy announcement, and, if not, for what reason it did not.
Answered by: Maree Todd 31 January 2019
The Scottish Government wrote to local authorities in March 2017 to set out the 2017-18 funding allocations for the expansion to 1140 hours. This included £30 million of capital funding to local authorities in 2017-18 to invest in infrastructure developments which will expand capacity in the provision of ELC. The letter highlighted that:
This funding is to be applied to the following purposes, with an expectation that local authorities will prioritise investment in ELC services by reference to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation:
- initiatives that have the potential to realise additional capacity for 1140 hours through making best use of the existing public sector estate such as the extension, remodelling or refurbishment of existing ELC settings or other public assets to enable extended opening hours and / or additional capacity;
- initiatives that support the development of ELC settings which seek to embrace the Curriculum for Excellence’s emphasis on a broader learning experience through active learning and learning outdoors; and
- providing capital grants to delivery partners, including third sector and private providers, in furtherance of these purposes.
We also wrote to local authorities on 14 November 2018 to confirm that local authorities are permitted to use capital funding provided for the expansion of early learning and childcare entitlement to 1140 hours to support to funded providers in the private and third sectors where a need to create additional capacity has been identified in local expansion plans. However, this is subject to any legal and financial restrictions on their ability to use capital funding to create assets owned outside the public sector.