Scottish Government report reveals ELC expansion behind schedule according to Lib Dems

The Scottish Liberal Democrats highlighted a Scottish Government report revealing that expansion of 1140 hours is falling behind schedule. Scottish Liberal Democrats logo

The expansion is lagging by 5,135 childcare places and 416 staff behind schedule, which means it is about 20% behind. 

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, said: ‘Private nurseries are haemorrhaging staff to local authority nurseries.’

NDNA’s own workforce survey showed PVI nurseries facing a workforce crisis as council expansion was impacting their provision. 

The latest report was made available in response to a Scottish Liberal Democrat parliamentary question. 

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of NDNA Scotland, said: “This isn’t a huge surprise to us as it echoes what providers are telling us and the results of our recent workforce survey.

“With only one year to go, the staffing crisis is our biggest challenge. Private and voluntary providers are losing staff to maintained settings for better packages, creating disparity between the public and private sector. We have major concerns around the empty talent pool as there are not enough people coming into the early years sector.

“Funding has been highlighted as an area of concern, hourly rates must remain in line with increasing outgoing costs. Without sustainable funding, partner providers are unable to pay their staff the same as what maintained settings can offer. 

“The Scottish Government has emphasised the importance of private and voluntary providers for delivering this policy but in reality some of the providers are not engaged by their local authority. Duplication of provision is also a major area of concern. 

“The private and voluntary sector must be utilised before any more capital funding is spent on creating new provision. 

“The goal to fully rollout 1140 hours by 2020 is achievable if councils and the Scottish Government look again at the capacity within the private and voluntary sector. Private and voluntary providers are currently providing 8% more capacity than councils expected at this point, showing how vital they are to the success of this policy.

“We would urge councils to review their recruitment policies and speak to their local providers about the capacity they might have to also be able to expand and offer places under the 1140 hours expansion, especially in areas where other providers are not being involved.”

Read the Liberal Democrat’s press release here and full report here