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Alliance launches Fair Future Funding campaign

The Pre-school Learning Alliance has today launched its early years funding campaign, Fair Future Funding.
The campaign is calling on the government to create a system which monitors childcare delivery costs on a local level and ensures that funding increases to meet these costs when needed.
The Alliance has filed a number of freedom of information (FOI) requests over the past year; one showing that two thirds of councils have not collected data on childcare delivery costs since 2011/12.
Local authorities use an Early Years Single Funding Formula to calculate local funding rates. This was introduced on the basis that councils would monitor provider delivery costs to ensure that funding remained sufficient.
However, councils have cited a number of reasons for not collecting this data, the most common being that funding from central government has not changed in five years, as well as that there is no statutory requirement to collect this information.
“We know that government previously attempted to gather data on delivery costs, but - as a result of asking providers to give ‘any information they felt was relevant’ - wasn’t able to use the responses received,” said Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Pre-school Learning Alliance.
“We believe that local authorities are far better placed to collect this data, and that the government should work with them to ensure this is collected. Of course, the information is of no use unless someone is willing to act on it. Ultimately, it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that it is meeting the full cost of the pledge it made.”
The Fair Future Funding campaign aims to push government to ensure that this data is collected regularly and effectively, to undertake an annual review of free entitlement funding levels and to increase funding where necessary.
“The move to 30 hours is a huge change for the sector. Unless it is funded properly, it simply cannot work in the long term,” Neil said.
“The only way the government can achieve this is to understand how much it costs to deliver quality care and education and then ensure that funding levels match this.”