Section 6: Local Authority Funded Provider Support Package
99. Along with the sustainable rate, local authorities provide a range of benefits to funded providers. Additional benefits, over and above the funded rate, should be clearly outlined at the time of application to become a funded provider.
100. As set out in the Operating Guidance (pages 49-50), the type of support provided by local authorities to funded providers could include (but is not limited to):
- training programme resources;
- support for workforce planning;
- marketing and recruitment support;
- funding for staff to undertake relevant qualifications;
- grant funding for specific resources;
- buildings support; and
- regular contact through local authority ELC meetings.
101. The range of benefits that a funded provider receives will be different depending on the type of provision, location of the provider and needs of the children attending. The Operating Guidance states that:
"it is for local authorities to decide the best package to ensure high quality ELC provision is offered to children and families, based on their own local circumstances. However, local authorities should ensure that settings have a clear and consistent understanding of the level of support they can expect."
102. A local authority should outline the support package available, and its monetary value (where available), to funded providers at the time of application and, where this support package has been considered in the sustainable rate setting process, this should also be clearly outlined to funded providers. This support package is in addition to the sustainable rate set by the local authority. The local authority should clarify what elements of the support package are guaranteed and which are optional or dependent on need. Mandatory, statutory requirements and costs should not be included in this.
103. This will ensure transparency around both the sustainable rate and support package to funded providers, providing them with the information they need to make the decision on whether or not to participate in a local authority's exercise to become a funded provider.
104. A funded provider is always responsible for their own provision and the quality of ELC provision. However, where a provider fails to meet these, the approach will be to support them to improve within a service improvement period.