Fair Work First

SCMA is strongly committed to our staff and is also committed to the Scottish Government’s Fair Work First principles. This includes:

  • Real Living Wage

    - SCMA is an accredited Real Living Wage employer and all staff employed by SCMA (permanent and fixed-term contract) are paid at least the Real Living Wage. We have not used agencies for some time, but we also commit to ensuring that if any agencies are used we would ensure staff working with us through agencies are also paid at least the Real Living Wage.

    - At a membership and childminding workforce level, SCMA has taken a leading and pro-active role in undertaking surveys to capture data on childminders’ cost pressures and business sustainability including their ability to pay themselves and their staff, where they have Assistants, the Real Living Wage. SCMA has, in turn, advocated and recommended to Scottish Government the need for financial subsidy to support childminders to pay themselves and their Assistants the Real Living Wage linked to Fair Pay.

  • SCMA does not provide zero hours contracts;

  • SCMA does not practice fire and re-hire;

  • SCMA has established a ‘Staff Voice’ representative staff forum. This is staff-led and open to all staff, although senior staff within the Leadership Team choose not to attend in order to enable staff discussion to be as open as possible within a safe space. The forum provides a channel for all staff across the organisation to have an effective voice and for meaningful, constructive dialogue to take place.  The staff forum has an elected Representative Group which meets three times per year with representatives of the SCMA Leadership Team. 

  • Nominations to sit on the Representative Group were invited in December 2023, the first meeting of the Staff Forum was held in January 2024 and the first meeting between the Representative Group and SCMA’s Leadership Team took place in February 2024.  The scheduling of these meetings has also been planned to allow regular reporting into SCMA Scottish Executive Board meetings, so that our staff voice is also heard by our elected Board Members/Trustees.  The Representative Group has also started to independently undertake staff surveys to inform, support  and prioritise their activity.  All staff are given time to participate in the staff forum and staff participating within the elected Representative Group are also given additional time and offered support to undertake these additional activities. In addition to the forum being staff-led, SCMA can also ask for items to be discussed by the staff forum to further support two-way engagement.

    The SCMA ‘Staff Voice’ forum is a recent extension of our Engaging With Our People (EWOP) workstream. SCMA is strongly committed to staff and to organisational development. Previously, SCMA had achieved a Silver Award with Investors in People (IIP). However, in 2019 we moved away from using IIP, but retained the services of an external organisational development consultancy who had previously assessed us under IIP to support the implementation of more bespoke development activity. This has included undertaking externally conducted surveys, facilitating separate focus groups with our staff and our Board members, producing related reports and recommendations, and more targeted work such as external salary benchmarking. In parallel, SCMA has also undertaken staff surveys on specific issues i.e. a survey on staff leave which evolved out of the benchmarking exercise.

    SCMA practices an open management style through which direct contact is encouraged from all staff on an ongoing basis. We have regular all-staff and team meetings in which suggestions are encouraged, one-to-one meetings between staff and line managers, and a structured annual appraisal (with mid-year review).

    SCMA also has two annual all-staff Development Days providing a further opportunity for two-way engagement. This has included engaging all of our staff in the development of our new strategy for 2024-27.

  • In addition to being a Real Living Wage employer, SCMA is committed to investing in our staff and also to closing the gender pay gap. As both our staff and the wider childminding workforce are predominantly female, we recognise our leadership role in these areas.   At an organisational level, we have worked to prioritise increasing the value of staff pay. Limited inflationary increases in public funding received by SCMA have made the making of annual pay awards more challenging. However,  since 2019 we have made annual Cost of Living awards to staff every year, supported incremental progression in five years out of six, made two additional bonus awards during COVID-19 and an additional cost of living payment during the cost of living crisis. In 2022-23 targeted external salary benchmarking was undertaken by external consultants with further work anticipated.  In parallel, at a national level SCMA has contributed to sectoral discussions and working groups on gender equality and Fair Pay. SCMA develops and provides Continuing Professional Learning materials for our members and also provides access to relevant courses produced by others. In parallel, we provide training and development opportunities to our staff. A structured training plan will also be produced to support the implementation of our new strategy.

  • SCMA offers flexible and family-friendly working practices (including hybrid working) from day one of employment. Depending on the role, its location and the funding source, SCMA staff are employed on ‘office/home’, ‘home/office’ or ‘home-based’ contracts of employment. Where there is an operational need to have a minimum number of staff working in our Head Office at any one time (linked to the delivery of our services), as much flexibility is provided around this as is possible.

  • SCMA embraces the values of equality and diversity, ensuring they are at the heart of everything we do.  We champion children’s rights, address inequalities and promote inclusivity

    - We have reviewed our publicity and website to ensure all our resources and assets are inclusive, promote equality and are accessible. New online software will be deployed during 2024 to enhance our website accessibility. We have increased our use of short videos and recordings of meetings to support accessibility - enabling members to re-play these in their own time and helping members with dyslexia who find dense text less accessible.

    - We have moved our head office into more accessible premises.

    - We have significantly increased our use of Teams to deliver meetings virtually and increase access.

    - Recognising that the childminding workforce primarily consists of white females, we have worked to encourage greater diversity and to proactively attract men into childminding. As our staff workforce is predominantly white, we particularly encourage applications from Black and Minority Ethnic candidates.

    - We have an Equality and Diversity policy for our staff.

    - We support the choice to include pronouns on our email signatures to normalise and encourage discussions around gender.

    - We proactively promote the benefits of childminding  for children with Additional Support Needs (ASNs) to families and promote good practice. Recently this has included supporting a deaf candidate to establish a new rural childminding business.

    - At a membership level we have supported our workforce by delivering webinars, workshops and learning materials on children and young people’s mental health, neuro-diversity, autism and the menopause. We are currently developing a workplace menopause policy for our staff and will be launching menopause support for our members in May 2024.

    - We are currently undertaking an Equalities Impact Assessment of our work.