Expansion of ELC: Principles of Partnership Working updated

NDNA Scotland and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) have updated and agreed principles of partnership working in early learning and childcare (ELC).NDNA Scotland logoCOSLA logo

These principles are aimed to support effective working between private and voluntary nurseries and local authorities across Scotland for the benefit of all children and families taking up ELC places.

A set of partnership principles were initially agreed between NDNA Scotland and COSLA in September 2018 for the expansion of ELC, to support positive working relationships between local authorities and partner providers.

The Scottish Government aims to reintroduce the statutory obligation to deliver the 1140 hour ELC expansion from August 2021.

Updating the principles will ensure all parties work together to meet the rights and needs of the children. 

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) Scotland, said: “We are delighted that all organisations have now signed up to these principles as this should make delivery of ELC run more smoothly for the benefit of the children and their families.

“This year has been a very challenging one for everyone involved in caring for and educating our youngest children. It has been great to see some really positive examples of everyone pulling together. However, where challenges come up we want to see everyone working together to resolve them. These principles aim to help strengthen the positive relationships between all partners delivering ELC funded childcare.”

All local authorities along with COSLA and early years organisations NDNA Scotland, Care and Learning Alliance, Early Years Scotland and Scottish Childminding Association have now signed up to these principles:

  • Clear guidance in relation to expectations on both sides of the partnership 
  • There should be a recognition of views and needs of all parties, with the needs of children and young people at the very centre of ELC delivery 
  • There is a recognition that all parties are committed to funding follows the child and the provider neutral model where any provision as long as it is of high quality is of equal importance 
  • There should be transparency in terms of decision making by both local authorities and providers which impact on service delivery 
  • The local democratic processes covering accountability for decisions around ELC provision will be clearly set out 
  • All employers providing the funded entitlement on ELC will meet the latest version of the national standard requirements  
  • Regular meetings between local authority and funded providers with clear actions agreed where appropriate 
  • Local authorities and funded providers identify a key contact person for partnership matters. Any changes to this should be communicated in a timely manner 
  • Local authorities and funded providers should develop an agreement on the provision of training and sharing good practice to support the delivery of high quality ELC in their area 
  • Mutual respect for the skills, knowledge and expertise held by all parties. 

The principle of ‘Funding following the child’ will also be at the heart of the ELC expansion from August 2021 when the National Standard will become law.