SCMA National Discussion on Childminding Recruitment Challenges in Remote and Rural Areas

SCMA National Discussion on Childminding Recruitment Challenges in Remote and Rural Areas
SCMA was delighted to convene and lead a national discussion yesterday (Thursday 11 November) on childminder recruitment challenges in remote and rural areas of Scotland.

SCMA has been very aware of the increasing challenges in retaining and recruiting childminders in remote and rural areas. A key focus within our new three-year strategy is in developing a more sustainable childminding workforce, tackling the issues which threaten this (including bureaucracy and childminders’ unsustainable workloads), developing childminding as a community asset and also in reducing inequalities in remote and rural areas.

In recent months we have been approached by a number of remote and rural local authorities seeking our help in recruiting childminders in areas where more childminders are urgently needed. While we will continue to support on-going work, we recognised that a strategic response was required given the serious problems being encountered.

Against this background, SCMA convened a national and local stakeholder strategic discussion on childminding recruitment and retention in remote and rural areas. This virtual meeting was attended by representatives of 10 of the most remote and rural local authorities in Scotland, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Government, the Care Inspectorate, COSLA, Skills Development Scotland and the Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser. 

During this constructive meeting SCMA outlined the work which we have done, are currently undertaking and are planning to undertake to support targeted recruitment in areas where there are not enough or no childminders, and which would benefit from joint working delivered locally. In addition, we sought to start to build consensus for the need for a wider strategic response over the medium and long-term including exploring if economic assistance may be required.

Graeme McAlister, Chief Executive, SCMA, said: "We were delighted with the level of engagement shown by all with an interest in this area at both a national and local level and, in particular, the recognition of the importance of childminding, it’s unique nature and the importance of childminding as a form of family support and as a community asset. Today (Thursday 11 November) was a starting point which we hope will pave the way for further joined-up action on this important area and SCMA looks forward to working with others on this area.”