Update: 30 Hours Focus Groups & More

Now that we have our Funding Rate going ahead for the next few years, it’s time for the Association to really turn our full attention to the 30 Hours offering. Focus groups regarding this have begun, and your PVI reps have been in attendance gathering information and direction to feed back.

At one of the first groups last week, we were joined by Childcare Works and the DfE, who presented a number of facts and figures to support their argument that there is a market in place for 30 Hours of funded childcare – although that was never really in doubt. Some of the most pertinent details to come out of this particular group were in respect of how the campaign is going to be rolled out to the public.

We are due a National publicity campaign, with a start date to be confirmed, involving the HMRC website itself. Following the process on the HMRC website, successfully eligible families will be given a code which can then be used in the new Provider Portal to enrol this family onto the scheme. The Local Authority will then run routine batch checks on these enrolled families. Should their circumstances have changed, the provider and the family will be informed that they are now in a ‘grace period’. This period continues their funding, whilst giving time for their circumstances to change back – i.e., out of work parents to find another job.

Two of the biggest things to come out of the Focus Group were actually items fed back from PVI reps to the Local Authority and Childcare Works. Firstly, it has been brought to light that the lack of readiness from the maintained sector is now impacting on the PVI sector. Their inability to discuss how they are approaching the 30 Hours Offering has prevented PVI providers from working with them to create solutions for each other, and solving the problems both Maintained and PVI are facing. This has been taken on board by the Local Authority and will be dealt with across the Maintained sector with a sense of urgency.

The second item is the lack of any serious modelling workshops/education being available. We feel it is paramount that providers are able to work with figures they have, and see exactly how different approaches to instituting the 30 Hours Offering can and will affect their settings, as well as how to deal with the pitfalls that the Offering comes with. To this end there will be workshops run across the region before roll-out, as well as more attention paid to this at future Focus Groups. The PVI Association is also working on how we can help get this information out in some form at the AGM in March, giving providers yet another reason to make sure you attend.

In other news, the drive for more PVI Reps on local Steering Groups has risen up again. If you want to get your voice heard, these groups are one of the best ways to do so. The more of a voice that the PVI Association has at these meetings, the more chance we have of being heard. You can find the Terms of Reference for the Steering Groups here.

And finally, as mentioned in our last e-mail blast, St. Paul’s Community Development Trust is running Protective Behaviours Foundation Level Training on the 26th and 27th of April. Further information for that can be found here.

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