Local provider agreements — the rules

Man reads a book to his child

What are the rules around local provider agreements?

All local authorities are required to make arrangements with local providers on the delivery of funded early education and care to ensure providers are meeting the legal requirements to offer this provision. These arrangements are normally referred to as provider agreements.

Providers are not legally required to enter into provider agreements, but it is standard practice that those delivering funded early education and care will do so.

Local authorities can opt not to fund a provider that refuses to sign their local agreement. However, it’s important to note that local authorities don’t have the right to put whatever they want into local agreements.

All local authorities are expected to base their local provider agreement on the Department for Education’s model agreement, unless they have a good reason not to.

In addition, government legislation on the delivery of funded childcare outlines the rules on the conditions that local authorities should/can place on providers delivering funded care and education (see section 8 of The Local Authority (Duty to Secure Early Years Provision Free of Charge) Regulations 2014).

One of these rules states that local authorities can only impose requirements on providers which aim to ensure at least one of the below:

  • early years provision is delivered free of charge
  • early years provision is delivered in a pattern that suits the needs of parents and/or carers
  • financial assistance provided by the local authority as part of the provider agreement is used properly and meets the terms of the agreement
  • early years provision meets the needs of children with special education needs and/or disabilities
  • children are effectively safeguarded and their welfare is effectively promoted
  • fundamental British Values are actively promoted
  • views and theories that go against established scientific or historical evidence and explanations are not promoted as evidence based
  • where a provider receives a less-than-‘good’ inspection grade, they take the measures identified in their inspection report to improve their overall effectiveness.

If you are concerned about your local provider agreement and feel it contains requirements that are unfair or unreasonable, that do not fall into any of the above category, please get in touch with us at feedback@pre-school.org.uk.

Where next?

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