Section 2: Process to Become A Funded Provider
15. Under Funding Follows the Child, local authorities are responsible for ensuring that there is a funded place available for all eligible children in their area, including using services from private and third sector providers, including childminders.
16. Currently, local authorities use a variety of processes to contract with funded providers in their local area. As part of Funding Follows the Child, there is a commitment to simplifying the process for, and reducing the burden on, providers and local authorities to deliver the funded entitlement. To meet this commitment, some local authorities may need to adapt current processes and procedures.
17. Figure 1 shows a simple version of common steps in the process to contract with funded providers. Each local authority will continue to be responsible for implementing these steps locally, retaining flexibility around the local process.
Local authority creates process based on National Standard, Funding Follows the Child and local delivery plans, including the procedural standing orders of the local authority
Figure 1: Suggested steps in the process for becoming a funded provider
18. The following is required regardless of the exact process used to commission the delivery of funded ELC from funded providers:
- Flexibility that allows new private and third sector providers, including childminders, to apply at regular intervals throughout the contract period;
- A clear and transparent process for private and third sector providers, including childminders, to apply and provide information/evidence to local authorities;
- Documentation which is accessible for private and third sector providers, including childminders, including clear guidance and instructions for them to follow;
- A contract between the local authority and funded provider which clearly sets out the roles and responsibilities of both parties; and
- Compliance with regulatory requirements, including procurement legislation and local authority standing orders (where relevant).
Each local authority will have to seek their own local advice in finalising the process for how they commission the delivery of funded early learning and childcare from providers, in line with Scottish Government policy, including Funding Follows the Child and the underpinning National Standard. Local authorities are encouraged to work together to meet the commitment to create a more simplified approach that reduces the burden on providers.