Attendees and apologies
- Maree Todd, Minister for CYP (Chair)
- Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Spokesperson CYP
- Alison Cumming, SG Interim Director of ELC Programme
- Eddie Follan, COSLA Chief Officer - Children and Young People
- Chris Dunne, SG Head of Programme Assurance
- Simon Mair, SG Head of Delivery Assurance
- Laura Friel, Directors of Finance
- Peter Macleod, Care Inspectorate
- Laura Mason, ADES
- Matthew Sweeney, COSLA Policy Manager CYP
- Ann Jacob-Chalmers, Scottish Futures Trust
- Clare Furze, Head of Parents and Providers Unit
- Sheree McAlpine, Communications and Engagement Manager
- Mariah Campbell (Secretariat)
- Roy Brannen, Non-Executive Member
- Karen Reid, SOLACE
Items and actions
1. Welcome and introductions
Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.
2. COVID-19 Impact on the ELC expansion
How we communicate impact of COVID-19 on the ELC expansion and ensure communications remain aligned with the broader education communications:
Simon Mair provided an overview of the paper submitted to the group (COVID-19 Impact on the ELC Expansion) and raised the topic of how the group is going to communicate to the parents and the wider workforce. The following key points were noted:
- The need for alignment with any communications relating to school education.
- Engagements on COVID-19 should be linked with SG Learning Directorate and align with the national position on pandemic response
- Local Authorities are already issuing briefing locally and notifying parents of anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on the provision of education.
Action 07/01: Simon Mair to lead on the development of a communications approach in partnership with COSLA and ADES. The response should include a Q&A.
How to minimise the burden on local authority teams:
Key points of discussion:
- Engage with authorities to scope what information requests on the status of local expansion programmes, ensuring that authorities are not overwhelmed.
- The group recognised that the delivery of 1140 hours in August is highly likely to be negatively impacted by the need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A contingency plan should be discussed and put in place in the event of severe staff shortages (up to 40%) and infrastructure delays due to COVID-19 impact.
- Scenario planning and a route map should be developed to articulate shared views (and inform Q&As) on revised delivery aims.
- The protection of vulnerable children and childcare for key workers needs to be recognised.
- Local authorities are subject to a statutory duty to deliver 1140 hours of ELC entitlement from August 2020 – if it becomes clear that the pandemic response means the expansion is no longer deliverable to the original timetable then consideration will need to be given to amending the statutory duty.
Action 07/02: Simon Mair to lead on scenario planning with input from the gro.
Support private providers
Key points of discussion
- Consideration should be given to providing continued funding to partner providers, even if COVID-19 impact necessitates closures and / or low uptake of places.
- Directors of Finance to discuss the issue of continued funding at a future meeting, taking account of Best Value and regularity considerations.
- Health and Social care guidance is currently being developed by COSLA and can be aligned with ELC guidance.
- The timing of the approach should be aligned with that of the UK government if possible.
Action 07/03: Eddie Follan to investigate timescales on the issue of continued funding from a COSLA perspective and update the group as soon as possible.
Action 07/04: Clare Furze to get clarity on communications approach from UK government on the funding of partner providers.
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