ELC Service Model Consultation 2018: SCMA’s Response

ELC Service Model Consultation 2018: SCMA’s Response

The ELC Service Model for 2020 consultation closes tomorrow (29 June), setting out the Funding Follows the Child approach and seeks views on the proposed National Standard that underpins it.

As an organisation, SCMA has submitted its response to the consultation, to ensure childminding is given a voice.  SCMA also actively encouraged its members to get involved in the consultation, and we hope many of you have submitted your own responses.

SCMA raised the following key points:

- SCMA hopes that the factors considered for any commissioning arrangement is clear, transparent, fair and proportionate both for the childminder and the local authority.

- Some procurement arrangements are both complex and inaccessible for childminders with applications in some cases over 70 pages. This is very time consuming both for the childminder to complete and for the local authority to administer which seems to not fit with the idea of best value.

- Childminding services are constantly assessing the service they provide and making the information available for the Care Inspectorate. SCMA trusts that the information provided for these assessments can also be used as part of the quality assurance for local authorities.

- At a previous SCMA AGM, childminders voted in favour of a requirement for them to hold or be working towards a qualification at SCQF Level 7 to bring them in line with requirements of other ELC practitioners registered with SSSC.

- Despite, funding and access to qualifications being the two main barriers to childminders completing qualifications at SCQF Level 7, SCMA has worked with SQA on the launch of a new qualification: The Complete Childminding Learning Pathway – a Work Based Award, which is an SQA qualification at SCQF Level 7.

- Critically those childminders who have recently completed SCMA Continuing Professional Learning (CPL) workshops and courses will be able to use this prior learning to complete the Work Based Award more quickly.

- Childminding benefits from the advantage of having a very low adult-to-child ratio with one childminder to three pre-school children. Being responsive and flexible is a normal part of the service. There are few challenges for them in ensuring children have access to outdoor play. They are skilled at adapting activities for difference ages of children and that includes from babies to school age.

- While there are examples of flexibility, innovation and choice for parents, there is still a real threat of 'more of the same' for parents, and no real improvements on flexibility and choice. Only a handful of childminders are in partnership with the local authority, so this will need to rapidly increase if families are to be given the choice of a childminding service from 2020.

- SCMA trusts that the variations for childminding services are not seen as a lower threshold for them but a recognition that they are approaching the delivery of ELC as a different type of service. As such the criteria may not be the issue that prevents some childminding services from offering funded hours but rather the way they may be implemented or interpreted by the local authority in which they operate.

- Record keeping for all services should be kept to a minimum and be kept for a specific purpose.

- Most challenging has been supporting services in advertising their services and helping parents understand the benefits of childminding for their children. This is not so much a support role for the childminder as information support for the parents.

Read the ELC Service Model Consultation 2018: SCMA’s Response in full

As previously highlighted in the Blueprint for 2020 Action Plan, funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) entitlement represents a substantial change for the ELC sector in Scotland, and the Scottish Government want to ensure that everyone involved in the sector - including childminders and parents - can provide their views on the proposed new service model.

A key part of the consultation focuses on a ‘National Standard’ that all providers wishing to deliver the funded ELC will have to meet.  You’ll find more information on the National Standard in your latest Childminding magazine for summer 2018.