NORTH Lanarkshire Council has put into action an innovative approach to meet the Scottish Government’s pledge to double free childcare from 600 hours per year to 1,140 by August 2020.
The Government’s move to double childcare is estimated to be around £4,500 in childcare costs for a working family with a three or four year-old child.
North Lanarkshire Council’s proactive approach to planning for the increase in child care hours available, along with its support offered through the Supplier Development Programme to potential child care providers, means the local authority is on track to deliver the full amount of hours by 2020.
In its 2018 audit report on early learning, Audit Scotland stated that across Scotland, the Scottish Government estimated that between about 6,000 and 8,000 whole-time equivalent additional staff will be needed to deliver the expansion by 2020.
As part of a phased 1,140 hours expansion implementation strategy, North Lanarkshire Council Education and Families Committee approved the procurement of an interim framework for two-to-five year-olds which will last for one year.
The framework will be open to all private sector providers including childminders and private nurseries that can provide 1,140 hours capacity within North Lanarkshire.
The approximate cost for delivery in 2019/20 by private sector providers is £11.802 million.
North Lanarkshire Council approached the Supplier Development Programme (SDP) to provide bespoke training on how to bid for this public sector work through Scotland’s public sector procurement website, Public Contracts Scotland.
SDP Scotland arranged for two courses to be delivered, free of charge, to childcare providers and private, early learning providers, in the evenings of Wednesday, 20 and Thursday, 21 March 2019.
More than 140 providers of child care providers registered to attend the two training sessions.
North Lanarkshire Councillor, Heather McVey, chair of the Supplier Development Programme, said: “North Lanarkshire Council, with the support of Supplier Development Programme, has arranged for two Public Contracts Scotland training sessions to provide practical assistance for any SME that is interested in applying for a place on our 1,140 hours interim framework.
“We have already held a series of communication events with private early years and childcare providers. It’s essential that we work together with private providers to deliver the increased annual entitlement for free early years and childcare.”
Weans World: procurement time!
Geraldine Duffy, owner of Weans World Childcare in Shawhead, Coatbridge, really enjoys her job, despite it being challenging at times.
She loves helping young children reach milestones and teaching the wee ones, especially those who have no siblings, to share and be part of a team.
Together with her husband, Chris, who works as her assistant, Geraldine’s childminding business goes from strength to strength, and Weans World received an excellent grading in its annual inspection from SCSWIS.
Teaching children how to be independent is very rewarding for both her and her husband.
Geraldine attended the Supplier Development Programme’s second training night on how to bid for North Lanarkshire Council’s 1,140 hours interim framework through Scotland’s public sector procurement website, alongside more than 60 public and private early learning providers, on Thursday, 21 March 2019.
Five years ago, Geraldine unsuccessfully tendered for a similar contract for North Lanarkshire Council.
She had not undertaken any training for that previous opportunity, and harboured serious concerns that the 2019/2020 early years public contract would end the same.
All of her fears were dispelled when she attended the Supplier Development Programme’s training, delivered in a calm and warm manner by trainer, Gill Joy, of Intend Business Development.
This training has given Geraldine the confidence she needs to use the PCS-Tender portal and submit a bid to continue to deliver her services for North Lanarkshire Council.
Geraldine said: “Learning how to use PCS-Tender was really good. Words can be difficult to turn into our terminology so going step-by-step alleviated my fears about online bidding. I was so nervous about bidding online that I brought my son so he could potentially help me fill everything in online, but now that I’ve had this training I feel much more confident to bid online myself. I would definitely recommend SDP training to help other childcare providers find the confidence to bid for the 1,140 hours contract opportunity.”
As part of a phased 1,140 hours expansion implementation strategy, North Lanarkshire Council Education and Families Committee approved the procurement of an interim Framework for two-to-five year-olds which will last for one year. The framework is open to all private sector providers including childminders and private nurseries who can provide 1,140 hours capacity within North Lanarkshire.
Weans World was established in 2011.
Notes for editors:
- SDP is a publicly-funded partnership led by Local Authorities, working in conjunction with Scottish Government and other public bodies, to bring Scottish SMEs support in all aspects of tendering. By assisting businesses to become tender ready for public procurement, SDP aims to improve all-round efficiency, sustainability and market potential.
- In Scotland, there is an annual public spend of £11billion, and in the UK, there is an annual public spend of £240billion. SDP Scotland offers free training throughout Scotland to Scottish SMEs to support and champion them in tendering for this work.
- Visit www.sdpscotland.co.uk for more information.
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