Island Communities Impact Assessment for Summer 2022 Holiday, Childcare and Food Programme
Name of Policy, Strategy or Service: Summer 2022 Childcare, Activities and Food Programme
Step one – develop a clear understanding of your objectives
- What are the objectives of the policy, strategy or service?
- What are the intended impacts/ outcomes and how do these potentially differ across the islands?
What are the objectives of the policy, strategy or service?
Building a system of school age childcare and expanding provision of meals to include the school holidays are key ministerial priorities set out in the 2021-22 Programme for Government, the Covid Recovery Strategy and "Best Start, Bright Futures", the tackling child poverty delivery plan 22-26.
The Scottish Government has invested £10 million in a targeted summer holiday offer in 2022 for children from low-income families. This year the funding has been allocated to local authorities to enable them to supplement their existing locally-funded holiday programmes, and deliver coordinated access to holiday food, activities and childcare for eligible school-age children from 5-14 years.
We are encouraging local authorities to work in close partnership with the third sector, out of school care sector and community and youth groups, harnessing their expertise to design and run services and activities that reflect the needs of local families. This 2022 programme offers the opportunity to test change, strengthen local capacity and grow existing services to embed a holiday childcare offer as we build towards a future system of year-round childcare in term time and the holidays.
What are the intended impacts/outcomes and how do these potentially differ in the islands?
Evidence points to the importance of school age childcare for the whole family. Children can benefit from improved outcomes through opportunities to benefit from equity of access to enriching activities, play and learning as well as from access to nutritious food. Access to childcare can support parents to work, train or study. These outcomes are common across the country regardless of location.
Is the policy, strategy or service new?
Many Local Authorities and third sector and community partners have delivered locally funded holiday activities and food provision for a number of years. These will have provided childcare options for many families, even though the focus has been on food and fun. A dedicated national summer funding package for all Local Authorities was first put in place in 2021 as part of the Covid-19 pandemic response. This focused on supporting the health and wellbeing of children, particularly those who had been disproportionately impacted by the Covid pandemic.
The summer 2022 programme shifted that focus, with childcare as a specific policy driver of the programme. It recognises the need to support families with holiday childcare and to build that into a new system of school age childcare which will be free to those on low incomes. The aim of this investment by Scottish Government is to enhance any existing work in local areas, building on and learning from current good practice. It is anticipated that this funding will support improved coordination of existing provision, fill gaps and create new opportunities, led by local knowledge and experience.
Step two – gather your data and identify your stakeholders
- What data is available about the current situation in the islands?
- Who are your key Stakeholders?
- How does any existing data differ between islands?
- Are there any existing design features or mitigations in place?
What data is available about the current situation in the islands?
Evaluation of the 2021 "Get into Summer" programme provides information from all local authorities about their local offers. However, none of the qualitative analysis returns from 2021 highlighted specific issues related to island status. Nonetheless, we know from ongoing engagement this year with local authorities, as well as evidence gathered from previous engagement work (highlighted below), that there are different impacts in rural areas in terms of delivering and accessing childcare services.
For islands in particular, rurality and workforce capacity are two recurring problems faced when planning and delivering holiday provision. We expect to gather more detailed information about these issues through the evaluation of this year's programme. Further information will also be available later this year when the report of the research project: "Accessing school-age childcare in Scotland's rural and island areas" is published. This project seeks to understand how to address the challenges of providing consistent, affordable, SAC in rural and island areas.
Parents surveyed in 2019 about school age childcare reported that those living in remote rural locations were more likely to say that there were no play-schemes or holiday clubs in their area. When asked about how services could be more effectively delivered in rural/remote areas, there were a range of responses including: empowering local communities to get involved, rethinking locations of services, increased financial support, and most importantly providing appropriate transport.
Research on childcare in rural and remote areas in general has identified challenges faced by rural childcare providers, including: fewer services, resulting in pressure on existing providers; sustaining provision in more remote settings with lower numbers of staff and children; a shortage of transport provision; a shortage of suitable venues; and difficulties recruiting staff, particularly for senior roles.
In 2021, Mull and Iona Community Trust were awarded Scottish Government funding to run a 12 month Rural Out of School Care Pilot to provide regular and reliable childcare for school aged children. The aim was to explore creative solutions to address the barriers to childcare that exist in rural and island communities.
Although the final evaluation has not yet been published, the draft report highlights a number of areas where there were specific challenges. The most significant of these were the availability of workforce and the location of services. In terms of workforce, it was hard to attract staff due to the short-term nature of the work, unreliable hours and the travel times involved. The summer childcare provision was also in "competition" with other seasonal tourism roles which make up a large part of the island's employment. In terms of location, the pilot found that operating a childcare "hub" model became unsustainable due to the distances families had to travel if they lived elsewhere on the island, instead they indicated that more localised provision may have more success.
Who are your key Stakeholders?
Our key stakeholders are the local authorities with island communities within their authority area, the providers of childcare and activities, as well as families with children and young people in island communities.
How does any existing data differ between islands?
We have no specific data highlighting differences between islands. This will be gathered as part of this year's programme.
Are there any existing design features or mitigations in place?
The 2022 programme is based on testing new models of provision so there is no expectation that coverage will be universal. This flexibility means that islands authorities can try different types of provision to best suit local needs rather than being bound to any one particular delivery model, and we have encouraged them to take this approach, focused on person-centred and place-based delivery.
Step three – consultation
- Is there are information already gathered through previous engagements?
- How will you carry out your consultation and in what timescales? Public meetings/Local Authorities/key Stakeholders
- What questions will you ask when considering how to address island realities?
- Separate consultation events for Island communities/Local Authorities?
We are not consulting on this programme because the work in 2022 is focused on identifying new ways of working and generating tests of change to develop the evidence base to inform future approaches to scaling up delivery of holiday provision. To maximise learning it is important that the Summer 2022 programme has a focus on building capacity and capability to provide accessible and affordable holiday childcare solutions for families.
Although funding is to be targeted towards those families who would benefit most, local authorities have significant flexibility in exactly how this support is provided and what the summer offer will consist of in their area. It is clear that there will be no single solution which will suit every locality, so we are encouraging local authorities to forge new partnerships and try new delivery models. This will help generate the learning needed to develop the longer term commitment and will be reviewed through stakeholder engagement and evaluation.
Although specific consultation has not been carried out, ongoing engagement is taking place with local authorities and other stakeholders.
Step four - assessment
- Does your assessment identify any unique impacts on island communities? (Further detail in the Guidance):
- Does your assessment identify any potential barriers or wider impacts?
- Are there mitigations already in place for these impacts raised?
Does your assessment identify any unique impacts on island communities?
Although many of the issues facing island communities in terms of school age childcare in the holidays are common to other parts of the country, there are some which are significant barriers to rural and island communities in particular, including:
- Reduced availability of workforce – there is a lack of appropriately qualified people of working age which limits the capacity and sustainability of childcare settings.
- A lack of accessible and affordable transport options which operate at suitable times for collections/drop offs at childcare services.
- Feasibility – there are often low numbers of children who require to access childcare services which in turn makes them unsustainable.
- Seasonality – this can put pressure on services both by creating childcare pressures in busy holiday periods because parents are working in seasonal work (often tourism) but also by reducing the available pool of workforce during that time because people are taking on seasonal tourism roles.
This makes it challenging to create equity in access to holiday provision. We expect that the learning from this year's programme will help to bring any specific impacts to the fore, along with local authorities' experiences of putting in place mitigations.
Does your assessment identify any potential barriers or wider impacts?
Creating equity in access to school age childcare in the holidays for children and young people who are located in sparsely populated wide geographical areas is challenging. There are problems in obtaining appropriate workforce, transport and facilities. This is something that is common to local authorities with island communities, but also to some mainland authorities with remote and rural communities.
We are also aware that "hidden poverty" can be an issue in rural areas. The types of employment most commonly found are often lower paid, while costs of living are higher. There is also increased risk of stigma in accessing free services in small communities, with low numbers of children. The Mull and Iona Pilot Project noted that many island children experienced social isolation during holiday periods, something which was reduced when they can attend childcare. With reduced services, families might have to rely on wider networks for informal childcare. If that's not available this can impact on ability to sustain employment.
Is a full Island Communities Impact Assessment required?
You should now determine whether, in your opinion, your policy, strategy or service is likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities (including other island communities). To form your opinion, the following questions should be considered:
- Are there mitigations in place for the impacts identified and noted above from stakeholders and community consultations? (If further ICIA action is not required, complete the section below and publish).
- Does the evidence show different circumstances or different expectations or needs, or different experiences or outcomes (such as levels of satisfaction, or different rates of participation)?
- Are these different effects likely?
- Are these effects significantly different?
- Could the effect amount to a disadvantage for an island community compared to the mainland or between island groups?
- If your answer is 'no' to the above questions, please complete the box below.
- If the answer is 'yes', an ICIA must be prepared and you should proceed to Step 5.
The question of how to ensure equity of access to school age childcare in holidays in remote and rural communities is something which is a broader issue and should not be considered only from the point of view of island communities. The learning from this year's programme should help produce evidence on what sort of models can work in these areas and where further development may be required.
As outlined Step 3, the work in 2022 is focused on identifying new ways of working, and creating new tests of change with a view to starting to develop an evidence base to inform future approaches. To maximise learning to inform the longer term holiday offer from 2023 onwards, the Summer 2022 programme has a focus on building capacity and capability to provide suitable and sustainable holiday childcare solution for families. Local authorities have flexibility to decide what sort of model will best suit their own circumstances and we encourage diversity of approaches to better inform future work. Due to the developmental and flexible nature of the 2022 programme, we do not consider that island communities will experience a significantly different impact than other communities in Scotland. Therefore we do not consider that an ICIA is required at this point.
A full Islands Community Impact Assessment is NOT required
In preparing the ICIA, I have formed an opinion that our policy, strategy or service is NOT likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities (including other island communities). The reason for this is detailed below.
Reason for not completing a full Islands Communities Impact Assessment:
Local authorities have flexibility to decide what sort of model will best suit their own circumstances and we encourage diversity of approaches to better inform future work. Due to the developmental and flexible nature of the 2022 programme, we do not consider that island communities will experience a significantly different impact than other communities in Scotland. Therefore we do not consider that an ICIA is required at this point.
Screening ICIA completed by: Karen Fraser
Position: Senior Policy Officer
Signature and date: 23/06/2022
ICIA authorised by: Kate Smith
Position: Deputy Director, School Age Childcare
Signature and date: 23/06/2022
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback