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Publication - Minutes

ELC Strategic Forum minutes: September 2018

Published: 21 Feb 2019
Date of meeting: 11 Sep 2018
Date of next meeting: 18 Dec 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Early Learning and Childcare Strategic Forum, held on 11 September 2018.

21 Feb 2019
ELC Strategic Forum minutes: September 2018

Attendees and apologies


  • Catherine Agnew, Care Inspectorate
  • Zoe Brawn, Scotland Excel
  • Jean Carwood-Edwards, Early Years Scotland
  • Sally Cavers, Children in Scotland (for Jackie Brock)
  • Lesley Gibb, ADES Early Years Network
  • Phillip Gillespie, SSSC
  • Jane Malcolm, NDNA (for Purnima Tanuku)
  • Helen Martin, Scottish Trades Union Congress
  • Jennifer McKerrall, Scotland Excel
  • Jacqueline McLellan, West College Scotland (for Isobel Lightbody)
  • Kathy Morrison, ADES (for Laura Mason)
  • Mairi Morrison, Bòrd na Gàidhlig
  • Francesca de Munnich, Save the Children (for Vicky Crichton)
  • Satwat Rehman, One Parent Families Scotland
  • Andrew Shoolbread, Scottish Out of School Care Network
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Maggie Simpson, Scottish Childminding Association
  • Christine Stephen, Stirling University
  • Deborah Wason, NHS Health Scotland (for Gerald McLaughlin)

SG attendees

  • Alison Cumming, Scottish Government
  • Euan Carmichael, Scottish Government
  • Sarah Duncan, Scottish Government (Secretariat)
  • Joe Griffin, Scottish Government
  • Neil Harman, Scottish Government
  • Arvind Salwan, Scottish Government


  • Jackie Brock, Children in Scotland
  • Cheryl Burnett, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Jim Carle, Disabled Children and Young Person Advisory Group
  • Vicky Crichton, Save the Children
  • Christine Frame, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland
  • Angela Leitch, SOLACE
  • Isobel Lightbody, West College Scotland
  • Gerald McLaughlin, NHS Health Scotland
  • Fiona McQueen, Chief Nursing Officer
  • Laura Mason, ADES
  • Councillor Stephen McCabe, COSLA Spokesperson on Children and Young People
  • Kevin Mitchell, Care Inspectorate
  • Purnima Tanuku, Chief Executive, NDNA
  • Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years

Items and actions

Welcome and minute of last meeting

Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and confirmed the Minister had sent apologies.  The minute of the meeting of 12 June 2018 (paper 10/01) was approved. Forum members were reminded that approved minutes of meetings are published on the Scottish Government website. The action log was reviewed and it was confirmed that all actions had been completed and were now closed. 

Programme update 

Key points noted were:

  • up to £18 million was available to local authorities in 2018-2019 to support delivery of the Additional Graduate commitment, with £12 million initially allocated. Based on local authority updates, this initial allocation is expected to cover the revenue requirements in 2018-2019. It was previously agreed that any of the remaining £6 million not required for the Additional Graduate commitment would be redistributed using the methodology for general expansion revenue funding (pre-primary GAE adjusted for 2 year olds). It was proposed that when allocating this funding local authorities be encouraged to use it to enable more positive partnership working and support for providers in the transition to 2020
  • the ELC census would be used to form baseline data on use of additional graduates and care inspectorate data would be used to evaluate the impact of the commitment from 2019/20. Additional BA Childhood Practice and teacher training places were made available in 2017 and had been utilised
  • there was discussion around the recruitment campaign and it was confirmed that evaluation would be ongoing but was unlikely to identify actual numbers recruited. Local authorities had indicated they were confident on progress to date. It was noted that, although some authorities had carried out internal recruitment, staff movement within the sector continued to impact private providers and childminding services in some areas
  • there was a request to share details of the authorities participating in the 2 Year Old Uptake Improvement Practicum

Action 10/01: Details of the authorities participating in the 2YOU-IP to be shared with members.

ELC expansion programme: new governance and delivery arrangements 

AC provided an overview of the revised governance arrangements for the programme:

  • the priority was to focus on deliverability with data informing progress and to further develop relationships with local authorities and representative bodies whilst keeping the policy vision forefront for everyone across the sector
  • aJoint Delivery Board would replace the Programme Board to review progress towards the implementation of the 1140 hours offer across all 32 Local Authorities. This reflected a transition into the delivery phase and shared political leadership of the programme
  • the Strategic Forum would continue to provide a platform for key stakeholders but would become a more interactive format to ensure the best use of everyone’s time. The Minister would continue to engage with the group but would no longer Chair every meeting
  • further changes to governance included restructuring the Leaders Forum to be a Delivery Steering Group and a review of individual project board arrangements
  • a new Partnership Forum was also being created to bring together authorities and providers from across the sector to support genuine partnership working
  • a new Head of Delivery Assurance post would provide a formal link between the national programme and local delivery programmes which would provide qualitative data to reinforce quantitative data being produced by the Improvement Service

During discussion key points were:

  • the Partnership Forum was widely welcomed, although it was agreed that the correct level of representatives would be important to demonstrate a commitment to listen to providers and resolve issues. It was noted that a willingness to change was not yet evident across all authorities, however sharing of good practice was a positive step forward
  • amore interactive format for the Strategic Forum was welcomed and it was suggested that re-familiarising members with the Terms of Reference and policy vision would assist in ensuring the right people attended

Expansion communications and engagement strategy

AS provided an overview of planned communications activity and invited discussion on the proposed approach. Key messages were:

  • an events planner would be developed to capture events taking place in the sector where there is an opportunity for a national programme presence or for a Ministerial engagement
  • resources such as leaflets, posters and newsletters could be designed and shared with stakeholders to use locally
  • knowledge hub would continue to be used to share information with all stakeholders and facilitate discussions.  The twitter handle @ELCScotGov had been created and it would be appreciated if stakeholders could use it and #ELCexpansion in their social media presence

Key discussion points were:

  • resources for using at local events and sharing with networks would be welcomed
  • there was discussion about the complexity of the 1140 offer and what it means for parents working non-standard hours who need to balance childcare needs with the needs of the child
  • there was agreement from all sectors that the complexity and eligibility of the 1140 offer meant that clear and consistent messaging needed to be available to parents in a way that is supportive of local messaging and doesn’t raise unreasonable expectations.  It was also noted that parents needed to know about the offer before their children were eligible. Chair made an offer for Scottish Government to facilitate a dedicated discussion on parental communications to agree an approach
  • it was noted that the Children in Scotland Change Project in Glasgow had highlighted that a reliance on digital communications is not always effective as some demographics continue to look to their peers and trusted professionals for information.  There was a discussion about the benefits of alternative forms of communication such as texting, group messaging applications and face-to-face meetings being used successfully by some settings and authorities
  • there was discussion around the length of a session as the current 2½ -8hrs restriction does not allow for those who need a longer day to account for their commute or multiple shorter sessions in a blended model.  It was confirmed that a working group was considering the potential impact on quality if changes are made to session length and would provide advice in due course.  It was also noted that wraparound hours would continue to be available to provide more hours if required

Action 10/02: Scottish Government to facilitate a dedicated discussion on parental communications

Service Models Working Group update

EC provided an overview of the consultation process:

  • the consultation closed on 29 June and 219 responses were received
  • responses were widely supportive of Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard
  • the SMWG would be meeting monthly to refine the criteria in line with responses, particularly in relation to food, additional support needs and outdoor learning.  The ASN Summit held on 4 September would inform this process
  • Rocket Science had carried out an evaluation of all responses and feedback submitted through the eight stakeholder meetings and the group were taken account of their findings in finalising the National Standard criteria which was due to be published by the end of November
  • Scotland Excel had been asked to develop technical guidance to be published alongside the National Standard and procurement options guidance and template contract terms to be published by March 2019 to encourage a consistent approach across the sector

ZB provided an overview of progress in developing the technical guidance:

  • guidance and set of principles for determining local sustainable rates - this had formed part of the discussions with councils and findings would continue to be refined and used at focus groups being held in September/October
  • guidance on the business sustainability criteria - Current council practices had been reviewed and aligned with the principles of the National Standard
  • guidance on procurement transition options - reviewing current procurement routes used by councils and compiling a list of pilots for further options. Identifying councils who are transitioning early (September 2018 – March 2019) and engaging with them on their processes and lessons learned

During discussion key points were:

  • supporting guidance, particularly on commissioning approaches, was welcomed
  • it was noted that the consultation responses strongly indicated that paperwork required streamlining and bureaucratic processes reduced
  • it was noted Adult Social Care policy had been drawn on in developing guidance related to the living wage
  • the issue of childminding qualifications was discussed and it was agreed that their needed to be clarity about the requirement as there were several qualifications available at SCQF Level 7
  • it was confirmed that an EQIA for the programme was in the process of being taken forward and this would inform policy implementation

AOB and close

5 Nations ELC summit

  • EYS advised that they had hosted the inaugural 5 Nations ELC summit in August which was a positive experience and other nations had noted the striking difference in policy and collaborative approach being undertaken in Scotland. It was noted that agenda items could be submitted for future events
  • SCMA noted that there was a childminding 5 Nations group which highlighted that Northern Ireland also have positive communication channels within the sector

SCMA report

  • SCMA noted that a survey on childminding services being used within ELC was being carried out
  • the report would be published in due course and would be shared with the group

Next meeting

  • the next meeting was scheduled for 18 December and would follow the new interactive workshop format.  Invitations would be issued once the venue was confirmed

The Chair expressed his thanks to everyone for attending and contributing to the meeting.



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Early Learning and Childcare Expansion Programme
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