Confirmation of funded ELC payments for closed settings from the Scottish Government

Confirmation of funded ELC payments for closed settings from the Scottish Government
We are aware of some confusion amongst childminders, who are worried that payments for funded ELC may stop if they are closed. We wanted to ensure that childminders were given further assurance that payments would continue even if their setting was closed. 

Before the festive break, a joint letter was issued from the Scottish Government and COSLA (Maree Todd MSP and Cllr Stephen McCabe) to all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities (23 December 2020), to confirm that funded ELC payments were to continue for funded childcare providers from 26 December 2020 until Monday 18 January 2021. This was to cover the period of restrictions announced at that time and confirmed that ELC payments would continue during this period even where children are unable to receive their funded hours because the settings are closed. 

Since then, restrictions have been extended until at least 1 February, and a further update is expected next week from the Scottish Government and COSLA regarding ELC payments after 18 January 2021.

Charging Fees When Closed  
There is no requirement for childminders to be open. SCMA fully recognises the individual nature of your childminding businesses and that the final decision regarding what to charge if settings are closed is a personal decision.

Some of you may be keen to stay open; however, we recognise that some childminders may feel less certain, may feel that they have to stay open to avoid letting down families, or for financial reasons. We also recognise that some childminders are understandably worried about their own safety given the requirement for the wider public to stay at home at this time and to avoid mixing.

As such, any advice provided to our members is only suggestive. Throughout the pandemic, SCMA has continued to advise childminders it is crucial to communicate with parents and carers and build on the relationship which you have with your families and to discuss payment individually with them. 

In line with guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority it is advised that any fees charged during forced closures are of a voluntary and lower (less than full payment) level. Read more 

Mainland Scotland entered a temporary lockdown on Tuesday 5 January. As a reminder, childminders (other than those caring for 12 or more children) can stay open to all children and should operate in accordance with Level 4 guidance (or Level 3 in island authorities). Larger childminding settings (currently caring for 12 or more children) can only provide childcare for key workers and vulnerable children at this time.

The current Childminding Services Guidance remains in place to support the safe operation of childminding settings. 

In addition, supplementary guidance for the phased re-opening of Day Care of Children (ELC and OSC) Services was published 21 December 2020 and has since been updated to include the confirmation that funded payments will continue even where settings are closed.  

For further information, stay tuned to our latest news and our COVID-19 webpage