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National Association of Private Childcare Providers _NPCP_.doc


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									                                         National Association of Private Childcare Providers (NPCP)
                                                                                              Email: info@npcp.ie
                                                                                             Website: www.npcp.ie
                                                                                                           Issue no. 5
                                                                                                    23rd October 2009
Dear NPCP Member,

The following is the latest update we have on the ECCE Scheme following key questions put to the OMCYA in light of
concerns raised by our members regarding contracts and fee policy.

Contracts are now in the process of being sent out. Some have received theirs whilst others may be waiting
another week or so. A draft of the contract can be viewed on our website www.npcp.ie. The NPCP would like
to express our disappointment that the OMCYA would not listen to our recommendations and went to print
without any further consultation with providers. Unfortunately there is nothing now that can be done to
change anything for the January to June scheme. There are questions that the NPCP have regarding some of the
terms in the contract and we will be writing to the OMCYA for clarification on the following points:

     Contract states providers get paid for 111 days (22 weeks). We were told 115 days (23 weeks).
     Providers are not happy that we may have to produce full accounts, when the only accounts relevant are
      those relating to ECCE funding
     Providers are not happy with delayed payment in January (estimated date of payment 15th January)
     Do we get paid if closed because of swine flu? Does this fall under Force Majeure?
     There are no dates confirmed for payments after January
     Providers are not at all happy that ALL pre school leaders must be level 7 to qualify for the extra capitation.
      This has implications if you have 2 or more sessions in a sessional playschool service.

Fees Policy
There is great confusion and concern regarding the fees policy. Providers are asking why they should fill out the
NON ECCE Child fees and are confused about what fee to put for the ECCE child. There are conflicting answers
been given to providers from their CCC’s . The NPCP spoke to the OMYCA on behalf of its members and the
following is a list of questions put to the OMCYA and their answers.

    Do I need to complete one or two ECCE Fees Policy forms? There should be one ECCE Fees Policy
    form completed per service with an OMCYA ref No. completed on the top of it. If a provider is
    providing the 38 week and the 50 week option the form is completed for the whole service
    specifying the ECCE child payments for 38 week and 50 week options.

    Does half-day care mean a part-time service? Yes. A part-time service is one running between 3
    hours 31 minutes and 5 hours per day.

    What is meant on the form by 3 day full day care? This is the option of 3 hours and 45 minutes
    of free pre-school over 3 full days for €48.50.

    I charge monthly fees – can these put on the form? No. It is required that the regular weekly fee
    being charged per child be calculated and inserted on the form in order that compliance can be
    checked against the ECCE child fees being charged.

    I charge per hour – do I put the hourly rate or weekly rate on the form? The weekly rate is
    inserted on the form with the capitation passed on to the parent under ECCE child.

                                   An independent voice for the Childcare Provider
If I am receiving funding under Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) what do I use as
my non-ECCE child rate? Please use the Band D rate as the non-ECCE rate.

If I do not provide a 3 hour sessional place for non-ECCE children what do I fill in? Where a service
has no non-ECCE charge for a service e.g. 3 hour sessional place please insert N/A in the form.
However if they provide a 3.5 hour sessional place for non-ECCE children the provider may write
this under Other Options.

Does the charge for extra hours go under the optional charges on the form? No. The extra hours
are included under the level of service on the top table, unless they are more complicated than the
options given (e.g. it may be that a service has a charge for ‘late collections’ based on how late a
child is collected).

If I qualify for the higher capitation do I deduct €75 from the non-ECCE rate? If a provider has
been informed by the OMCYA that they qualify for the higher capitation rate then please deduct
the €75 per week from the non-ECCE rates where extra time is being opted for. If a provider has
submitted qualifications and feels that this qualifies them for the higher rate and has not been
informed, please contact the local CCC. They in turn will contact the OMCYA on your behalf with
your name, the name of the facility and the OMCYA ref. no. who will check on the application.

Why does the Fees Policy seek the fees charged of both ECCE and non-ECCE children? One of the
conditions of the Free Pre-school Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme
contract (point 4.4) is compliance of the ECCE Fees Policy returned to the City or County Childcare
Committee. This Fees Policy must be completed in order for funding to be released for drawdown.
The provision of such information in return for Government funding is not new, even in the
childcare sector, and childcare providers applying for grants from this Office have always been
required to provide detailed information on future Income and Expenditure.

In the case of the scheme it is necessary to show the Non-ECCE rate on the Fees Policy in order to
ensure that the full ECCE funding is being passed on to eligible children under the scheme. A
sample Fees Policy form is below. It gives an example of the full non-ECCE fee rate with the
reduced rate for ECCE children in the full/part time rates (for illustrative purposes, it includes both
38 week and 50 week rates for ECCE children). Without knowing the non-ECCE fee, it would be
impossible to know if the capitation is being passed on, as required by the scheme, and that would
not be acceptable in any Government grant aid scheme. If a 3-hour service does not give details of
the fees for non-ECCE children, it will not be clear if they are "wholly or mainly" funded from
Exchequer sources, and as stated on the Declaration Form for the Local Authority Rates exemption,
the Valuation Office retains the right to check that service to ensure that they are entitled to the
exemption claimed. When discussing the possible application of a Rates exemption for ECCE
funded services, the Valuation Office stated that the role of the CCCs in ensuring compliance with
the scheme by means of Fees Policies was of particular importance.

What kind of optional services may I charge for? There is a sample list attached at Appendix 1 that
may be of assistance.

Am I allowed ask for a donation from the parents? While voluntary donations are not prohibited
under the scheme, they are discouraged as if they are genuinely voluntary, they are not a reliable
income source. If a service wishes to solicit such donations, they may make such a request by
circular, giving details of a bank account that such donations may be made to, and this may only be
done following enrolment (i.e. admissions may NOT be based on such donations being made). They
may NOT be collected from parents each week or month in the same way as fees would be.

                               An independent voice for the Childcare Provider
Sample ECCE Fees Policy supplied by OMCYA

The table below confirms the Fees Policy for both ECCE-qualified children, and non-ECCE qualified children in
the 3-6 age group in XXXXXX Pre-school service.

       Service                             ECCE child                     Non-ECCE child (aged 3-6)
       Full-day care (per week)            € 151.50 (50 week)             € 200
                                           €135.50 (38 week)
       Half-day care (per week)            € 41.50 (50 week)              € 90
                                           € 25.50 (38 week)
       3-hour sessional place (per         €0                             € 70
       3-day Full-day care                 € 71.50                        € 120
       Other options (please
                                           €5.50                          €70
       3 hr 30 min. (per week)

In certain circumstances, additional fees may be sought in a service operating the free pre-school year
scheme for optional extras other than additional hours (e.g. trips, transport etc). If your service makes
such charges, please outline below (a) the level of these requested payments, (b) the purpose of them.

NB It should be noted that such charges are not expected to be the norm, and no child should lose
out on his or her 15 hours programme based education as a result of parent not making such
optional payments. Any service in breach of this rule will be in breach of contract, and subject to
exclusion from the scheme, with potential of legal penalties.

Optional Charge             Purpose of this charge
€20 (per week)              Transport to and from pre-school

Does your service solicit a voluntary donation from parents (and if so how much is the suggested
amount per week)? [ No ]

If it does, can you confirm that this is absolutely voluntary for each family, is not sought prior to
enrolment, and plays no part in admissions policy. [ N/A]

Appendix I - Optional extra charges - The following optional extra charges may be acceptable under the ECCE
scheme, if notified in an approved Fees Policy

Extra Hours
1.    Additional classes or activities such as dance classes, trips, swimming etc (NB if operated during
       normal hours, appropriate Programme based activities must also be provided for children not
       participating in the optional activity)
2.    Transport to or from the children’s home.
3.    Food (NB the option must exist for children to bring their own snack instead)
4.    Birthday parties

The following are NOT allowed as additional charges.
1.    standard materials used in the pre-school service
2.    lower ratios at a particular pre-school than required under the regulations
3.    higher qualified staff
4.    higher running costs

                              An independent voice for the Childcare Provider
This is only a guideline and the OMCYA will consider all options if valid and in addition to the normal service.
Remember you can also charge for the additional weeks that the scheme is not covering and this can be listed as
an optional extra in the ‘Optional Charge’ box.

Workforce Development

The NPCP represented its members at the recent meeting for the Workforce Development Plan. The following are
our outline observations:

    1. There was considerable attention given to the recognition of Prior Learning experience, how it could be
       factored into the matrix of qualifications. It was acknowledged that there is a wealth of experience and
       learning out there in terms of people who have their own businesses for years, and who have run them
       successfully and indeed within the regulations laid down by the Childcare Acts and under inspection from
       HSE., Dept of Ed, and Science will welcome submission on how to develop standards and further recognition
       of this

    2. There is already a considerable % of the childcare workforce with some kind of qualification. The cost of
       delivering a skilled workforce needs to be shared across all stakeholders

    3. There is a strong case to be made for a societal recognition of the value of early years education, with clearly
       defined career paths for those working in the sector

    4. The Minister pointed out that this would probably be a 10 year programme, at least.

    5. The findings of the consultative process will be published .

    6. A FETAC Standards Awards Group has been established to
       - migrate exisiting awards level 1-6 into a common awards system
       - meet policy and practice requirements
       - be completed by June 2010

NPCP Membership fee
Thanks to all those who have paid their annual membership for 2009/10. If you have not paid we would urge you to
do so ASAP. A membership form is attached to this email which should be completed and sent with your payment of
€80 to the NPCP.

We must remind you to continue to lobby your local TD’s/Senators. They are the decision makers and the more
representations they get from providers the better chance we have of change now and in 2010.

NPCP Going Forward
We are still fighting for a daily subsidy system to replace the current scheme and have made representations to the
Minister looking for recognition of Prior learning and a more equitable treatment for rates for Full Day Care
providers. One of NPCP goals is to keep providers updated of any changes in the childcare sector without delay. This
will continue and you can be assured of our commitment to this offering you advice and clarifications on any
changes as they arise. At our AGM we agreed to investigate the possibility of offering more services to our
members. We hope in the next few weeks to be in a position to have a group insurance scheme in place for paid up
members. Other areas we are also looking at are the Garda vetting procedure and group discounts from Childcare
supplies companies. If you have other ideas we would be only too delighted to hear from you. We will continue to
upgrade our website and recently added a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section to the site.

This is the new Curriculum framework for childcare settings and was launched today so check out their website
www.ncca.ie/earlylearning. A lot there but we would appreciate your feedback by emailing us on info@npcp.ie.

                                   An independent voice for the Childcare Provider
Regional meetings
The NPCP had plans to roll out Regional meetings after mid term but we feel it may be too late as contracts and fee
policies will be returned by then. If however, you have any questions relating to the scheme, contract, fees policy or
other, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will do our utmost to help. Remember a draft of the contract is on
our website so please feel free to email us if you have any concerns or questions.

The NPCP campaign for improvement to the scheme will continue over the coming months. We would love to hear
your views on the latest changes made to the ECCE and how it affects you. Please email us on info@npcp.ie with
your comments.

Thank you all for your support.
Yours sincerely,

                                   An independent voice for the Childcare Provider

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