Agenda item

Day Nursery Delivery


Councillor Ann McLachlan introduced a report by the Director of Children’s Services, which reminded the Cabinet that at its meeting on 7 July 2014 it had been agreed that proposals to cease delivery of Day Nursery provision by the Council, at five different locations, would be subject to a further 12 week period of consultation (this was to ensure that the school holiday period did not inhibit schools from engaging with the process).  (Minute No. 30 refers.)


The report provided the Cabinet with an update on the future proposals for the Council’s Day Nursery provision, following the further period of consultation – undertaken between 15 July 2014 and 22 October 2014.


The Cabinet noted that ceasing to deliver Day Nursery provision would realise a saving of £772,000 already taken as part of the Council’s Budget saving options for 2013/14, but not yet fully delivered.  It represented the shortfall between fees and charges collected at six day nursery settings from parents/carers and the cost to deliver the service. 


Following a tendering exercise in 2013, one of the day nursery settings had transitioned to a social enterprise company; this had been resolved by the Cabinet at its meeting on 19 June 2014 and would reduce the outstanding saving to approximately £700,000.  (Minute No. 5 refers.)


Councillor Phil Davies paid tribute to the work of the Head of Targeted Services and her Team and informed the Cabinet that it was important to ensure that nursery provision was available wherever one lived in the Borough.




(1)  the recommendation to stop delivering day nursery provision as soon as practicable (arrangements for carefully managing transitions for families, staff and services have been considered in the report) be agreed;


(2)  work with families accessing day nursery provision shall begin in order to ensure a smooth transition of care, using a phased approach where necessary, in order to minimise the disruption and need for multiple transfers and disruption to children and their parents and carers;


(3)  negotiations with relevant partners and co-located primary schools from the five settings (for the continued delivery of the 2, 3 and 4 year old offer) be progressed, with due regard being given to HR arrangements for staff that are fair, equitable and transparent;


(4)  subject to appropriate agreements being secured, facilities and resources be transferred to schools and partners to deliver the extended 2 year old offer;


(5)  in the event appropriate agreements are not reached, or are not reached within mutually agreeable timeframe to support children, parents and staff, a contingency plan be detailed in order to support transitions and secure sufficiency of the early education offer at the affected settings.  The plan will consider:


·  Direct delivery (by the Council) of the 2, 3 and 4 year old early education offer on a term-time only basis and for a period of time until other partners can be identified or other local providers can accommodate and meet need.  This will need to ensure clarity of the government’s intention with regard to extending the two year old offer longer term.


·  How to best meet any transitional arrangements for the 2, 3 and 4 year old offer as changes to service delivery are implemented.


·  Any HR implications as a consequence for staff.


(6)  it be agreed that the Cabinet Member - Children and Young People be given delegated authority to direct and monitor the progress against the recommendations.


Councillors Tony Smith and Stuart Whittingham returned to the meeting.

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