- 30 May 2019
Date received: 7 May 2019
Date responded: 29 May 2019
The actions taken by each local authority to support childcare providers, including information on the hourly rates being offered, as requested by the Scottish Government at the end of the 2018-19 financial year.
I would request that the information include:
1. The actions taken by each local authority to support childcare providers as submitted to the Scottish Government in response to their request.
2. The hourly rates being offered to childcare providers as submitted to the Scottish Government in response to their request.
3. The request that the Scottish Government sent to local authorities regarding the above quote from Maree Todd, and the date on which that was sent.
With regards to part 3 of the above request the Scottish Government issued a request to local authorities on 8 April 2019 requesting information from authorities on their actions to support partnership working throughout the year. This included information on changes to the hourly rates paid to funded providers. A copy of the email request is included in Annex A, whilst Annex B provides the attachments to the request (a background note and the template that local authorities were asked to complete).
In relation to parts 1 and 2 of the above request, you may find it helpful to note that Local authorities were asked to provide responses to the request by close on 15 May 2019.
On 7 May 2019 when your request was received we had received responses from some local authorites. Once responses have been received from all local authorities, and as highlighted in paragraph 5 of the request that issued on 8 April, we:
…intend to proactively publish a high level summary of the information collected through this exercise. This will include a table summarising the rates in each local authority area. We expect this information will be published in June following consideration and analysis of the completed templates (the Scottish Government will work with COSLA, and the ELC Finance Working Group on this).
While we aim to provide information whenever possible, an exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to the information requested in parts 1 and 2 because as I have explained above we intend to publish that within 12 weeks of the date of your request (and with some of the information to be published in June). We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release some of this information before the planned publication date.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a strong public interest in the role that childcare providers in delivering the funded Early Learning and Childcare entitlement, and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of the intended publication date.
You may also find it helpful to note that once available we will share this information with the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House