Response to the additional restrictions
The Scottish Government announced on 13 January 2021 that up to £3.8 million of financial support will be available to day care of children providers who remain open during the period of temporary restrictions for vulnerable children and those of key workers.
Day care of children providers, and childminding services who are currently providing care for 12 or more children, are subject to temporary restrictions which restrict them to being open only for key worker and vulnerable children until at least 22 February.
The Temporary Restrictions Fund opened on 4 February for applications for the first round of grants covering the four week period from 4 January.
A second round of grants covering the period from 1 February will open in March.
While the restrictions continue, those who continue to be subject to the restrictions will be able to apply for a grant.
Full details of round 2 and future rounds of the Temporary Restrictions Fund will be made available on the Scottish Government website as soon as possible.
Ongoing financial impact
We recognise that any restrictions on operating may affect the cost of delivery of services per child. If the number of children that can be accommodated in a setting, or within a given staffing model, is reduced, there may be an increase in the cost per hour of childcare. However, the extent of this impact will vary from setting to setting, and will be closely linked to capacity. There may also be additional costs, relating to implementation of public health measures for cleaning and hygiene requirements. These increases in cost base may apply throughout the period where these public health measures are in place.
We recognise that funded ELC is an important source of revenue for many providers. The Scottish Government and Local Government have jointly committed in the strategic framework to designing a model which is financially sustainable for local authorities, and private and third sector providers.
Assessment of the impact on cost of childcare provision while these public health measures are in place must be based on an open, transparent approach. Providers should consider carefully what the impact of restrictions are on cost of delivery in their settings, and how this can be demonstrated.
Advice on the application of Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard for ELC Providers includes guidance on the payment of sustainable rates for the delivery of funded ELC. Interim guidance was published in July 2020 regarding the requirements on ELC settings and local authorities from August 2020 for delivery of Funding Follows the Child. This includes updated interim guidance on the setting of sustainable rates for the delivery of funded ELC in the context of the impacts of COVID-19.
Further information on support available to the sector throughout the recovery can be found on the Scottish Government website.