SCMA statement on the mishandling of Scottish Government's Transitional Support Fund

 SCMA statement on the mishandling of Scottish Government's Transitional Support Fund
SCMA Chief Executive, Graeme McAlister has recorded a video message for childminders in Scotland regarding the mishandling of Scottish Government's Transitional Support Fund. This video is available to watch here, and you can also read our statement below:

“Earlier today all childminders were once again sent official information about a source of COVID-19 financial support which all childcare providers in Scotland can apply for apart from childminders.

"At a time when over 1300 childminding settings (30%) of childminding settings have still to re-open, and many childminders (including those who are open) are known to be experiencing financial hardship and are worried about their financial viability, this is - at best - grossly insensitive. I am not often lost for words, but I am today, and I find the handling of this breathtaking. 

“Firstly, an £11.2m Transitional Support Fund was set up to provide financial support for childcare providers in Scotland, which excluded childminders, and was after it had already been recognised in a national recovery planning report, to which we contributed, that childminders were more exposed than many other providers due to their reliance on private income. In contrast, many other childcare providers are more fully involved in the delivery of funded hours of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), which can provide a more sustainable source of income. 

“Secondly an official email was sent out about the Scottish Government’s Transitional Support Fund, via the Care Inspectorate, to all childminders on 31 July announcing the launch of the Transitional Support Fund and inviting applications, when it was known that childminders were ineligible to apply. This showed remarkably poor judgement. 

“Since then many childminders have contacted SCMA, the Scottish Government and MSPs to express their concern about this, and a number of Parliamentary Questions have also been submitted to the Scottish Government and a number of public petitions have been started including one gathering over 2300 signatures to date and rising. 

“During this period, we have continued to contribute constructively to discussions with the Scottish Government regarding financial support for childminders - which had commenced before the Transitional Support Fund was announced. This had originally been in relation to a much lower level of support for childminders experiencing financial hardship. However, we have also contributed to wider discussions about the pressing need for transitional support for the whole childcare sector in Scotland (including childminding) and believe childminders’ exclusion from being able to apply for transitional support is inequitable and unfair.  

“As such, we believe any additional funding for childminding must proportionately reflect the funds available to other providers via the £11.2m fund – or, that the criteria should be changed to allow childminders to apply to the Transitional Support Fund. We will continue to argue this case strongly on behalf of childminders.

“We recognise that COVID-19 has presented many challenges for us all, and the Scottish Government has largely done a difficult job well during this sustained period; however, we cannot help but believe it has got this badly wrong on this occasion. We had hoped that lessons had been learned about the mishandling and miscommunication of this situation to date. Against this background, it was even more astonishing that a further email was sent out this morning (Friday 4 September) via the Care Inspectorate, to all childcare providers - including childminders - once again promoting the Transitional Support Fund to all childcare providers.

“We do not blame any childminder for being dismayed by this series of events. We are, and we share your frustration. SCMA will continue to do all that we can to address this. 

“A number of childminders have contacted us today asking if there is anything you can do personally about this situation – and there is. If you feel angry and let down about this, we fully understand that. The more childminders who make their voice heard the better. Please email Ministers and your local MSPS adding your concerns to those already expressed. Let them know how you feel, what impact COVID-19 is continuing to have on your business. 

“We believe the Scottish Government must listen; urgently change its approach to providing financial support for the childcare sector, ensure all childcare providers are treated equitably and that childminders can apply for transitional support. 

“Childminders provide a unique high-quality form of childcare and family support to children and families in Scotland. This needs to be maintained and you deserve to be treated equitably.”


Graeme McAlister
Chief Executive
Scottish Childminding Association
4 September 2020