Final report published

Our final report is published today (25 June 2015).

It offers a series of new recommendations and reiterates and expands on initial proposals made in March.

The report follows 15 months of investigation into how best childcare provision in Scotland might be organised, delivered and paid for, and extensive consultation with parents, services, employers and businesses throughout the country.

Download the report

Download the covering letter from Colin MacLean, Chair of the Commission

Download an overview of the final report, presented at its launch on 25 June 2015

For more information, contact Lesley Warren.


Final report due to be published

The Commission’s final report will be published on Thursday 25 June.
It will offer a series of new recommendations and reiterate and expand on initial proposals made in March.
The report follows 15 months of investigation into how best childcare provision in Scotland might be organised, delivered and paid for, and extensive consultation with parents, services, employers and businesses throughout the country.
More details soon.
Join the childcare debate on social media:
Commission for Childcare Reform Twitter – @ccreformscot
Childcare Alliance Twitter – @childcareScot and #ChildcareChallengeScotland

Stakeholder Workshops

21 April 2015 – 3.30-6.30pm, The Recital Room, City Halls, Glasgow

23 April 2015 – 9.30am-12.30pm, the Scrymgeour Building (Scrymgeour Hall) at the University of Dundee, Dundee

14 May 2015 – 1-1.45pm, virtual workshop

20 May 2015 – 9.30am-12.30pm, Radisson Blu Hotel, 80 High Street, Edinburgh

Download more information about the workshops

To book any of these events, contact Lesley Warren, 0131 313 8836.


The Commission for Childcare Reform has published its interim report

I’m delighted that today the Commission for Childcare Reform has published its interim report, outlining our vision of how to achieve high-quality, affordable and accessible childcare in Scotland.

The report sets out proposals for change drawn from extensive consultation with parents, providers, employers and other key interest groups across civic society, business and government in Scotland over the past year.

The Commission’s draft recommendations are based on its vision for the future of childcare in Scotland.

We believe high quality childcare should meet children’s learning, development and care needs over the course of the child’s day, including where the child attends more than one type or location of registered childcare provision that day.

Childcare needs to be available, affordable and convenient for families with pre-school and school-age children. Up to 50 hours per week of free or subsidised childcare should be available throughout the year, to enable parents to work and study. The cost to families after taking account of free provision, tax relief and benefits should be capped. We suggest exploring the impact of setting the cap at 40% of the cost of delivery or 10% of the net household income, whichever is less.

The initial focus of any new money should be on ensuring affordable childcare for those living in or near poverty, so they can access the labour market.

Finally, funding for childcare, including through the tax and benefits system, needs to be simple, fair and easy to understand for all who access it.

The Commission is considering childcare for both pre-school and school-age children.

In total, our interim report contains 18 draft recommendations, including some specific proposals on how the vision might be achieved in practice.

As well as our key 50 hours per week call, we argue that childcare services need to be arranged and co-ordinated locally through a network of ‘local bodies’.

And, to reflect our belief in simple, fair and easy funding of childcare, we propose a single Child Account as a mechanism to deliver on this principle.

We’re very keen to gauge reaction to these proposals and look forward to testing them out through further consultation work, specifically a series of workshops to be held in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee (and virtually) in the coming months.

It’s important to remember that this interim report is intentionally provisional. But we think these draft recommendations set out constructive proposals for change and invite wider discussion of this vital issue.

We are grateful to everyone we have engaged with over the past year whose contributions have helped us develop our proposals.

Colin Maclean, Chair of the Commission for Childcare Reform




Some initial ideas – Colin Maclean, Chair of the Commission for Childcare Reform

Our Commission has had some fascinating conversations over the last few weeks and months with parents, providers, employers and the public at large. As we start developing our proposals for improvement to the system of childcare provision in Scotland, we want to test and refine our thinking. Here are some initial ideas.

Early learning and childcare, and out of school care, must put the needs of the child at the centre. Our proposals for change will be based on the needs of the child at different life stages: from babies who need to develop attachment to their parents and family to school-age children who need good quality, enjoyable out-of-school care.

You have asked us to be ambitious. Families need high-quality provision that is affordable, including for parents on low incomes. It needs to be available to all who want it, at the times they need to work or study, as well as contributing to their child’s development. Scotland does not yet have that level of flexible affordable provision, and this remains the driving vision for the Commission’s thinking.

You have also encouraged us to be realistic. For example, provision should not expand so fast that quality is put at risk. We recognise the limited amounts of new public money likely to be available over the next few years. But we believe a great deal of improvement can be achieved.

We think it is helpful to consider three categories of provision. The first is provision that is free at the point of use: for example the 600 hours of free early learning that is available now to eligible three and four year olds. The second, which does not yet exist across Scotland, is an entitlement to a number of additional hours of provision for which the family pays an affordable fee. The third type is provision beyond that entitlement for which the parent pays a fee agreed with the provider. All three categories would be regulated to ensure quality, as at present.

Even if the amount of ‘free at the point of use’ provision is expanded, it will not meet all the childcare needs of working parents. Large numbers of working parents will therefore need to use at least the second type of provision, and perhaps the third, in term time and in school holidays. We will therefore make recommendations about how to establish the second type of provision, thereby creating an entitlement to an amount of affordable childcare.

We expect we will make recommendations in at least the following six areas:

• ensuring suitable provision exists locally that meets the needs of working parents and those who only want to access early learning

• ensuring the quality of the child’s overall experience, including through effective inspection and through good use of national and local evidence

• ensuring there are simple and fair systems to ensure childcare is affordable for families, especially those on low incomes

• ensuring that there is an effective mechanism to route public funding to those who are providing services

• ensuring a quality workforce

• engaging with employers, and with the providers of further and higher education, on how best to meet the needs of workers and students with children.

This is a snapshot of our thinking so far. As we develop these ideas it will be important to hear from you. Have we missed something vital? Do you strongly disagree? Do you have suggestions for practical recommendations?

The Commission for Childcare Reform

Early in 2014, Children in Scotland spearheaded the launch of the Childcare Alliance in an event co-hosted by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry. The Childcare Alliance is a network of hundreds of partners drawn from civic society, business and the childcare sector. It has the long-term aim of significantly improving how childcare provision in Scotland is organised, delivered and paid for.

The Alliance – which is independent of any political party but enjoys full cross-party support – is ambitious to identify and implement better ways of organising and funding high-quality childcare provision so that it meets the developmental needs of children; is affordable, accessible, flexible and convenient for all families who want it; and contributes sustainably to Scotland’s economic prosperity.

In order to gain important momentum on this reform agenda, the Childcare Alliance established the independent Commission for Childcare Reform, chaired by Colin MacLean. For the next year, the Commission will be engaging with Scottish civic society and business, as well as considering evidence from within Scotland and other countries, to develop advice on the key features of an excellent system of childcare provision and offer recommendations for how that excellence might be obtained and paid for.

The Commission is expected to deliver its report to the Childcare Alliance by summer 2015.