Early Learning and Childcare Joint Delivery Board minutes: July 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 21 July 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Clare Haughey, Minister for Children and Young People (Co-Chair)
  • Stephen McCabe, COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People (Co-Chair)
  • Eleanor Passmore, Deputy Director, Early Learning and Childcare, SG
  • Simon Mair, SG Head of Delivery Assurance
  • Chris Dunne, SG Head of Operations and Assurance
  • Eddie Follan, Chief Officer Children and Young People, COSLA
  • Peter Macleod, Care Inspectorate
  • Gary Fairley, Midlothian Director of Finance
  • Matthew Sweeney, Policy Officer, COSLA
  • Margo Williamson, Chief Executive, Angus Council

Additional attendees

  • Adam Hall, Improvement Service
  • Ann Jacob-Chandler, Scottish Futures Trust
  • Ellen Leaver, ELC Unit Head, Scottish Government
  • Hannah Keates, ELC Team Leader, Scottish Government
  • Andrew Burke, ELC Delivery Assurance, Scottish Government


  • Alison Cumming, Director, Early Learning and Childcare, SG
  • Roy Brannen, Chief Executive Transport Scotland
  • Laura Mason, Chief Education Officer at West Dunbartonshire Council, ADES 

Items and actions


  • Welcome and introductions (Ms Haughey, chair)
  • Matters arising (Ms Haughey, chair)
  • Local authority status update (Simon Mair, Head of Delivery Assurance)
    • paper (042)
    • covid impact
  • Risk summary (Hannah Keates, ELC Team Leader and Chris Dunne, Head of Operations and Assurance)
    • delivery assurance and programme risk summary (043)
  • National projects update (Chris Dunne, Head of Operations and Assurance)
    • paper (044)
  • Any other business (Ms Haughey, chair)
    • officials will be invited to remain on the call following hte meeting to discuss any arising issues

Welcome and introductions

Ms Haughey welcomed members to the meeting.

Introduction and matters arising

The minutes of the previous meeting (2 June 2021) were agreed by the group.

Local authority status update

Simon Mair introduced paper 042, highlighting the following points:

  • a further round of engagement has provided confidence that all local authorities will be in a position to deliver 1140 hours in August 2021
  • there are no current systemic or specific risks to delivery now recorded. While this is a change from the previous meeting of the JDB, it not a sudden change. This is the culmination of a great deal of work between the Delivery Assurance Team (DAT) and councils
  • it is possible that risks will emerge over the summer, but councils have given DAT confidence that they are well placed to react with contingencies if necessary. DAT is also maintaining a watching brief, and will respond to issues as and when they arise
  • as with previous updates, some of the capital projects required for 1140 have still to complete. However, contingencies are in place for all of these projects
  • covid mitigations - the move to level zero has had a significant impact on council confidence to be able to move forward with offers. Some councils had reported previously that operating above level zero would reduce flexibility
  • ‘beyond level zero’ guidance is in development and expected to be in place before the beginning of term
  • the Improvement Service will be gathering data from local authorities in late August, with publication in mid-Sept or later. A short, snapshot exercise will also be conducted in early August to provide evidence of day one delivery

Ann Jacob-Chandler (Scottish Futures Trust) provided additional commentary on the capital programme:

  • 80% of programme required projects are complete
  • there has been some disruption in the construction sector and SFT has been working with councils to identify and understand any impacts of that
  • some councils have reported COVID- and Brexit-related issues with supply of materials. In every case, however, the council has been able to change procurement or activate contingency plans

Board discussion followed, with members commenting that:

  • councils are to be commended for all of the work they have undertaken to deliver this very ambitious programme in very difficult circumstances
  • there is now confidence of delivery of 1140 in August, and the risk of not achieving this is now assessed as low
  • the Care Inspectorate is confident that any further necessary registrations can be undertaken, and has been working with SFT to ensure that resources can be applied where required
  • the update report reflects the high level of detail that the work between councils and DAT entails, and illustrates that this is an excellent example of collaborative working

The Board agreed that the DAT should continue a watching brief over the summer.

Risk summary and national projects update (papers taken together)

Hannah Keates and Chris Dunne introduced paper 043, commenting that:

  • delivery risks are decreasing or static, with no new risks
  • in August, officials will review the delivery risk register to close off risks and add or modify risks where appropriate, and will present a revised risk register to the Board in September
  • programme risks are stable or decreasing, with the exception of SEEMiS. A number of actions have taken place since the last JDB meeting, including an independent assurance review (reporting imminently). Work is ongoing to explore and better understand the potential impacts that SEEMiS delays may have on other areas of work, such as the census
  • Chris Dunne referred Board members to paper 044 (National Projects Update), pointing out that the paper had largely been included for reference

Board discussion focussed on SEEMiS, with a request that the Board be provided with a brief report on the findings of the independent review, outputs and next steps. SG officials agreed to provide this, subject to ensuring that any commercially sensitive information is withheld.



Hannah Keates outlined plans for a positive announcement in August to mark the delivery of 1140. Officials will agree a date for this shortly, and will share this with local authorities and partners.

Ms Haughey outlined briefly three strands of work that Scottish Government officials plan to present to that Board in September:

  • a “deep dive” item on uptake and parental engagement work with local authorities in light of concerns about lower than anticipated registrations
  • an outline programme plan for agenda items for remaining JDB meetings to April 2022
  • an outline plan for undertaking a lessons learned exercise for the programme, including in relation to delivery assurance work with local authorities

Peter Macleod suggested that if future JDB meetings included items on improvement work, the Care Inspectorate would be happy to contribute to that.

Ms Haughey thanked attendees and closed the meeting.

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