Most Councils Not Following Govt Childcare Guidance

research, cross-boundary

Today we reveal that most councils are not following Scottish Government guidance on cross-boundary funding of free childcare places.

Our new report based on FOIs shows just four Scottish councils have reciprocal agreements with every other local authority to fund childcare for children from other areas. Yet Scottish Government guidance says that all councils should have such agreements.

This affects parents who live in one local authority area but need their children to go to nursery in another: usually because they cannot get home from work in time to pick their children up before nursery closes.

We’re calling on the Scottish Government and COSLA to create a national agreement on cross-boundary funding.

The full findings of today’s report are:

  • Three non-island councils have no reciprocal agreements with other councils to fund nursery places
  • Three councils have reciprocal agreements with just one other council
  • Twenty-two councils had reciprocal agreements with at least one other council
  • Four councils had reciprocal agreements with every other council
  • Almost two-thirds of councils who responded pay for funded places in arrears: making it harder for poorer parents to access their place, since they must pay upfront