Publication - Impact assessment

Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare - Reinstatement of 1140 statutory duty - Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)

Published: 22 Jan 2021

This Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) was carried out to update the CRWIA undertaken in relation to the 1140 expansion policy in 2019. It did not identify any direct or indirect unlawful impacts as a result of implementation of the policy from August 2021.

11 page PDF

325.8 kB

11 page PDF

325.8 kB

Contents
Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare - Reinstatement of 1140 statutory duty - Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)
Summary

11 page PDF

325.8 kB

Summary

Title of Impact Assessment

Children's Right's and Wellbeing Impact Assessment

Title of Policy

Expansion of early learning and childcare - The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification) Order 2021 - Reinstatement of 1140 statutory duty

Summary of aims and desired outcomes of Policy

The Scottish Government and local authorities have committed to almost double the funded entitlement to early learning and childcare (ELC) from 600 to 1140 hours from August 2021 for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds. This will be high quality, flexible early learning and childcare that is accessible and affordable for families.

The expansion will deliver three main benefits for children and families:

  • children's development improves and the poverty related attainment gap narrows;
  • more parents will have the opportunity to be in work, training or study; and
  • increased family resilience through improved health and wellbeing of parents and children.

Directorate: Division: team

Early Learning and Childcare Programme Directorate: Strategy and Delivery Unit

Executive Summary

  • On 29 April 2020, the duty on education authorities to provide 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) to eligible children from 1 August 2020 was revoked due to the ongoing pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Scottish Government has now reinstated this duty to come into force from 1 August 2021.
  • Throughout the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has supported local authorities to continue to deliver, and work towards the delivery of 1140 hours of funded ELC where they are not already doing so. The Scottish Government has worked closely with local authorities to understand the impact that the pandemic has had on delivery plans, and to consider any risks to delivery. Based on this engagement the 1140 Joint Delivery Board, co-chaired by the Minister for Children and Young People and the COSLA spokesperson for children and young people recommended a new delivery date of August 2021.
  • A 'provider neutral' Funding Follows the Child approach will still be introduced alongside the national roll-out of the expanded entitlement in 2021. Funding Follows the Child is underpinned by a National Standard[1] that all providers delivering the expanded hours - regardless of whether they are in the public, private or third sector, or childminders - will have to meet. This will provide reassurance to parents and carers that any provider offering the funded hours will be able to offer their child a high quality ELC experience.
  • It is recognised that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may make it more challenging for providers to meet all aspects of the National Standard. The Care Inspectorate suspended routine inspections as a result of COVID-19 in March 2020 but have since reinstated scrutiny of ELC, including childminders and school aged childcare. Current scrutiny is undertaken on a risk and intelligence based assessment and includes self-evaluation, virtual inspections and on-site inspections. This may mean that some settings who were working towards improving their Care Inspectorate quality evaluations ahead of the introduction of the National Standard in August 2020 will not have an opportunity to complete this work and/or may not have been re-inspected. To support the ELC sector to work towards the implementation of the National Standard during the pandemic Interim Guidance[2] was published in July 2020.
  • This Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) was undertaken to update the original assessment[3] undertaken in 2019. It did not identify any direct or indirect unlawful impacts as a result of implementation of the ELC expansion policy to August 2021. While there has been an inevitable impact of the delay of the statutory duty on some who access funded ELC, work in the sector and have children in funded ELC, mitigation has taken place during the past year and implementation of the policy from 1 August 2021 will further mitigate these impacts.

Background

The Children and Young People Act (Scotland) 2014 (the 2014 Act) made 600 hours of funded ELC per year available for all 3 and 4 year olds, and extended the entitlement to eligible 2 year olds. In a joint agreement with local government, the Scottish Government committed to almost double the entitlement to 1140 hours per year from August 2020. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification) (No.2) Order 2019 put this on a statutory footing.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, the Deputy First Minister announced that all local authority schools and childcare settings in Scotland, including childminders, would close from the end of Friday 20 March 2020. Childcare providers in the private and third sector were advised they should also close. As a result, Scottish Ministers took the decision to delay full the full statutory implementation of the expansion of funded ELC to 1140 hours from August 2020. This was necessary to allow local authorities to deal with the urgent necessities of the pandemic, including the delivery of critical childcare for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. It was also apparent that the national lockdown would have implications on the ability to deliver on key infrastructure projects and recruit the necessary workforce required to deliver the ELC expansion in full. The duty to provide 1140 hours of ELC to eligible children was therefore revoked via the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification) (No. 2) Revocation Order 2020. This meant that the mandatory amount of early learning and childcare remained 600 hours in August 2020.

The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification) Order 2021 will reinstate the 1140 expansion by modifying section 48(1)(a) of the 2014 Act to increase the mandatory amount of early learning and childcare from 600 to 1140 from August 2021.

Between March and December 2020 the Scottish Government has continued to work closely with CoSLA, local authorities and key stakeholders to assess when it would be feasible to reinstate the statutory duty to deliver the funded ELC expansion. The joint recommendation of the all members of the Joint Delivery Board was that August 2021 is the earliest feasible date for the implementation of the full 1140 expansion. The board concluded that it would be challenging to deliver the 1140 expansion earlier than August 2021 and there was no evidence to support a later implementation date. This date was announced on 14 December 2020 and the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (Modification) Order 2021 was laid in Parliament on 22 January 2021 to reinstate the statutory duty.

Expansion of Funded ELC to 1140 hours

The Scottish Government and local authorities have now committed to the delivery of 1140 hours of funded ELC from August 2021. This will be high quality, flexible ELC that is accessible and affordable for families.

The expansion will deliver three main benefits for children and families:

  • children's development improves and the poverty related attainment gap narrows;
  • more parents will have the opportunity to be in work, training or study; and
  • increased family resilience through improved health and wellbeing of parents and children.

The Scottish Government has worked in partnership with the COSLA and a variety of stakeholders across the ELC sector throughout the development of the 1140 expansion policy and consulted widely on the expansion of funded ELC prior to the original implementation of the statutory duty.

Scope of this update to the CRWIA

Prior to the decision to expand availability of funded ELC from 600 to 1140 hours from August 2020, a CRWIA was undertaken to assess the impact of the policy on children's rights and wellbeing. In addition, an assessment was carried out on the impact of closing childcare during the initial lockdown (from March 2020) and reopening in Summer 2020.[4]

This update is intended to supplement the original CRWIA undertaken in 2019. Updates to the Fairer Scotland Impact Assessment, Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and Equalities Impact Assessment will also be published.

Methodology

This impact assessment sought to update the CRWIA process carried out in 2019. The impact of the decision to reinstate the legislative duty to deliver 1140 hours of funded ELC from August 2021 was considered. In undertaking this update, the questions used as part of the CRWIA Stage 2 have been considered. These questions are presented below, along with an updated summary of key findings.

Data sources utilised in this process included:

  • The original CRWIA undertaken in 2019.
  • The CRWIA on re-opening ELC setting undertaken in 2020.
  • The updated EQIA for the reinstatement of the legislative duty.
  • The latest Scottish Government ELC Census[5] which provides information on funded ELC.
  • Available sources of up to date research and evidence which reflect the picture post March 2020.

Updated key findings

  • This updated CRWIA confirms the scope and positive impacts of the 1140 expansion policy on children's rights and wellbeing.
  • The reinstatement of the legislative duty will be even more important due to the wider impact of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020. Available evidence used to inform this CRWIA suggests that the pandemic has had an impact on several aspects of children's rights and wellbeing. These include physical and mental health, education, poverty, food and digital access and play. There is also some evidence that the pandemic has had a differential impact on some children and families, such as those on lower incomes or those with a long-term health condition.
  • There is also evidence of a slight fall in the proportion of parents accessing their funded ELC entitlement between 2019 and 2020. We anticipate there will be significant changes to the number and spread of families in receipt of 'qualifying benefits' as a result of the pandemic. This may in turn have an impact on numbers of eligible 2 year olds accessing a funded place in ELC.
  • Many of the likely negative impacts of the suspension of the legislative duty on children's rights and wellbeing will be mitigated by the decision to reinstate the statutory duty to deliver 1140 hours of funded ELC for eligible children from August 2021.

Contact

Email: ELCDeliverySupport@gov.scot