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					      Strategic Plan 2007-2010


Westmeath County Childcare Committee




                                       1
                                        CONTENTS SHEET
Summary of the Review of the Strategic Plan 2001-2006                             6
Promotion of Best Practice                                                        7
Co-ordinated pre-development                                                      7
Networking and Development                                                        8
Supporting Training                                                               8
Development of Childminding Services                                              9
Continuous Improvement: Research, Evaluation and Policy                           9
Ensure Capacity to deliver Plan                                                   9
Consultations and Lessons Learned                                                 9

Executive Summary of Strategic Plan 2007-2010                                     11


Introduction to the Strategy                                                      11
Consultative Process                                                              11
Summary of Committee Structure                                                    11
Summary of demographic profile, needs analysis and priority objectives            15
Summary of Evaluation/ Monitoring Mechanisms                                      15

Details of the Committee                                                          16
                                                                                  16
Mission Statement
Role of the Management Committee                                                  17
Staffing, Finance and Development Working Group                                   18
Programme Evaluation Sub-Committee (PESC) Working Group                           18
Equality and Diversity Working Group                                              19
Quality Working Group                                                             19
Childminding Working Group                                                        19
Staff Positions, Responsibilities ,Personnel Practices and Reporting Structures   20
Organisational Legal Status                                                       21

Details of the area                                                               22

Demographic Profile of County Westmeath-Key Statistics                            22
Landscape and Environment                                                         23
Transport Infrastructure                                                          23
Administrative Structure                                                          23
Population Density                                                                23
Area of population growth                                                         24
Population by age structure                                                       25




                                                                                       2
Future Population Change                                       25
Women‟s Economic Activity                                      27
Population change and impact on demand for childcare           28
An identification of current provision and supply              29
Specific Requirements and unique features                      30
Distribution of Childcare Facilities                           30
Cost of Childcare                                              30
Hidden or Non Notified Childcare                               31
Community Childcare Athlone                                    31

Needs Analysis
Consultations                                                  34
Board Consultations and Review of existing Stakeholder Plans   34
Consultation / Discussion with Stakeholders                    34
Individual Submissions                                         34
Issues Raised During Consultation                              36
Future Service Type Needs and Priority Areas                   42
Community Childcare Provision                                  43
Geographical Gaps in Service Provision                         50
Siolta Framework                                               50

Objective Setting                                              51
Strategic Objectives 2007-2010                                 51


Linkages and collaboration                                     66
Linkage between WCDB and WCCC                                  66
Other Collaborations                                           68

Review and monitoring                                          72
Performance Monitoring Procedure                               72
Role of WCCC Board                                             78

Appendices
Memorandum and Articles of Association                         80
WCCC Handbook                                                  96
Staff Handbook                                                 110
WCCC Internal Financial Procedures                             138
Daily Work Sheet                                               149




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END




      4
                            Glossary
Childcare Sector    All Childcare Providers including Community, Private and Childminders
SAC                 School Age Childcare Services
ACT                 Athlone Community Taskforce



BMW                 Border, Midlands and Western region, designated under the NDP
 WCEB               Westmeath County Enterprise Board
CE Scheme           Community Employment Scheme, funded by FÁS


CPA                 Combat Poverty Agency

DES                 Department of Education and Science

WCD                 Westmeath Community Development

DSCFA               Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs

NCNA                National Childcare Nurseries Association

IPPA                Irish Pre School and Playgroups Association

NVCO                National Voluntary Childcare Organisation

EOCP/NCIP           Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme/National Childcare Investment
                    Programme

FÁS                 National Training and Employment Agency

FETAC               Further Education Training and Accreditation Council, replacing previous
                    functions of and accreditation by NCVA, and accreditation by Fás, CERT,
                    BIM and Teagasc

IBEC                Irish Business and Employers Congress

Inspectorate        In this context, a team of Health Services Executive pre-school service
                    inspectors
NCNA                National Children‟s Nurseries Assocation

CECDE               Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education

SIM                 Social Inclusion Measures

HSE, Midland Area   Health Services Executive, Midland region




                                                                                            5
NDP   National Development Plan 2000 to 2006, an exchequer and EU-funded
      programme




                                                                   6
2       SUMMARY OF THE REVIEW OF STRATEGIC PLAN 2001-2006

The Westmeath County Childcare Committee aimed to undertake a series of specific actions that
were in line with the strategic objectives that had been set down under guidance from the
Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform. In a broad way, the goal of the committee was
to provide support to communities, families and providers in the area of childcare in order to effect
a positive impact on family and community life. The committee set out to ensure that prioritisation
took place in areas where gaps were identified in provision and where needs were greatest.
Furthermore, through liaison with existing support services, stakeholders and providers across
the county, the committee strived to act as a leading agency in the coordination and development
of childcare. The following diagram shows the basic elements that were included in the Plan:



                           Westmeath County Childcare Committee
                                    Mission Statement




                                   5-year Strategic Objectives




                                Strategic Actions needed to meet
                                      Strategic Objectives




                                     5-Year Plans outlining
                                       Prioritised Actions




                                     1-year Plan detailing
                               Specific Programme of Activities




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Westmeath County Childcare Committee was charged with the responsibility of taking the Equal
Opportunities Childcare Programme to a new level over the period from 2001 to 2006. Factors
such as the strength of the national economy, and the consequent raising of the profile of
childcare at county and national level provided a unique opportunity for committee to meet the
needs of childcare providers and parents created an impetus to utilise resources for the
development of childcare services in Westmeath.
Over the course of the Strategic Plan 2001-2006, actions were formulated and subsequently
delivered to areas identified under Strategic Objectives of the Plan. These areas fell under one of
the following Strategic Objectives:

         Promoting Best Practice
         Co-ordinated pre-development
         Networking and Development
         Supporting Training
         Information
         Development of Childminding Services
         Continuous Improvement: Research, Evaluation and Policy
         Ensure Capacity to deliver Plan


2.1       Promoting Best Practice
Actions set down under this strategy ranged from the establishment of a forum for parents and
providers to the continuing development of the Westmeath Childcare Committee to the provision
of Quality childcare for diverse groups across the county. The staging of public and provider
consultations became an intrinsic element of the practice of the committee, as did the
development of review and monitoring procedures designed to aid information dissemination and
communication, both within the committee and between the committee and any invested
stakeholders. Staff best practice was promoted both through the organization and development of
childcare training initiatives in conjunction with numerous organizations such as the HSE, Fás,
Westmeath VEC, the NCNA, and the CECDE. Through supporting the training of childcare staff,
the numbers of childcare workers and providers trained in Westmeath rose from approximately
300 in 2003 to almost double that by the end of 2006. Westmeath County Childcare Committee
set up a Quality Working Group to promote quality initiatives such as the Centre of Excellence
programme from the NCNA and the Quality Initiative form the IPPA. Both programmes worked
with childcare providers in the county to improve the quality of their service delivery.


2.2       Co-ordinated Pre-Development
Pre development work took place throughout county Westmeath across the childcare sector.
This involved support and capacity building for childcare providers and potential providers who
were interested in extending of setting up a new childcare facility. Support took the form of one to
one meeting where information was given on key contacts including Planning, the Pre-School
Inspection Team and the role of the County Enterprise Board. Development staff worked through
the EOCP application process with clients. All clients were made aware of training and policies
and procedures supports that were available through the office. Employment law support was
also given to childcare providers who were setting up.
€15.9 million in funding was granted to Westmeath in the period 2001-2006. In order to facilitate
the employment of childcare staff in the community sector, the Committee undertook to secure
funding that would contribute to employment costs for existing providers, potential providers and
community groups with childcare concerns. Under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme,
the level of funding for staffing grants that was obtained through pre-development by the
Childcare Committee was in the range of €4 million over the period from 2001 to 2006.



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The Committee also engaged in pre-development work with community groups in areas of
designated disadvantage in order to pave the way for the development of community based
childcare facilities. To date, applications to locate childcare facilities within local authority housing
estates in Mullingar and Athlone have been successful, while facilities are also being developed
at locations in rural such as Ballynacaargy, Emper, Kinnegad, Killucan and Rathowen.
School Aged Childcare services have been supported in Athlone, Mullingar , Kinnegad, Killucan
and Rathowen as part of integrated childcare services. Athlone Community Taskforce and
Harmony CDP have been supported with their School Aged Childcare services as has St.
Peters After School Service.
In order to ensure that adequate planning for future childcare developments would be possible,
the committee maintained a database of childcare providers for the county that was updated on a
annual basis and which allowed for the Childcare Census that was conducted in 2000 and yearly
there after .The Strategic Mapping Report and Needs Analysis that were completed in 2006.




2.3     Networking and Development
A range of actions that related to Networking and Development were planned and implemented
over the course of the Strategic Plan 2001 to 2006. Parents and provider networks were set-up
and contact was maintained with these groups on a regular basis, both informally and through
meetings, information evenings and seminars and focus groups.
Information on WCCC events and services was also disseminated to the public via regular
newsletters in 2006, the circulation had risen to 1,700. The WCCC‟s aim to be a one-stop shop
for childcare information proved successful over the course of the plan with the office logging an
increasing number of telephone calls (3000 in 2002 to 7,700 by 2006), as well as over 1000 drop-
ins by members of the public and providers and 6,420 emails being received in 2006.The WCCC
website has been up and running for a number of years and now more than ever contains a
wealth of information on training, events and Childminding related issues. Local media sources
such as the newspapers were used to advertise upcoming events and an information campaign
was also launched via plasma screens in three large local Credit Unions.


2.4      Supporting Training
A training prospectus was compiled and delivered to providers on an annual basis. Training
events were organized both by the WCCC and in conjunction with partner agencies. 366 people
were trained in 2003 and by 2006 that number had more than doubled. Training on offer in 2006
ranged from Children‟s First Training, First Aid, Manual Handling, FETAC Modules , High/Scope
training to a Diploma in Nursery Management. Linkages were made with numerous training
agencies in Westmeath (Fás, National Voluntary Childcare Organisations, VEC , HSE, and
community colleges, training and development organisations) in order to increase quality and
types of training available in Westmeath. The number of childcare trainers was increased
through completing train the trainer courses in Assisting Children with Special Needs, First Aid
and Parenting .

Westmeath County Childcare Committee worked with Athlone Institute of Technology to develop
both full and part time degree programme in childcare management. These course will be on
offer from September 2008.




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2.5      Development of Childminding Services
The Childminding Advisory Officer, in conjunction with the Childminding working group has been
instrumental in furthering the cause of Childminders in Westmeath as well as increasing the
numbers of Childminders who voluntarily notify. Quality training courses directed at Childminders
have been organized and implemented and the Childminding Working Group are committed to
raising the professional profile of Childminders, aiding Childminders in accessing Childminding
development grants and providing training opportunities for Childminders to enhance their
childcare knowledge and skills. To date there are 64 voluntary notified Childminders in county
Westmeath.

2. 6    Continuous Improvement: Research, Evaluation and Policy

WCCC staff researched, investigated and disseminated information on policy issues in the form
of written reports and through liaison with policy-makers such as the Centre for Child
Development and Education who have been responsible for Síolta; the National Quality
Framework for early childhood education. The Strategic Mapping Report completed in 2006,
researched childcare need across the county and identified areas where childcare need was
greatest. Accordingly it was hoped that the report would inform the future development of
childcare in Westmeath. Throughout the strategic plan the following research topics have been
undertaken – yearly childcare census of the county, bi yearly training needs analysis, a study on
children with special needs in county Westmeath. Westmeath County Childcare Committee have
taken numerous opportunities to feed key priority issues into the BMW representative on the
National Co-ordinating Childcare Committee. Issues have also been brought to the local Pobal
Development Officer.


2.7      Ensure Capacity to deliver Plan
The WCCC ensured that the Plan would be implemented to the utmost through the maintenance
of a skilled team of co-ordinator development workers and clerical staff. Resources were also
provided in the form of suitable office space and equipment and communications. All staff were
provided with regular training and attended information sessions provided by the Department and
Pobal. The Management Committee was provided training and review days. The Chairpersons
attended regular Pobal meetings.




2.8       Conclusion and Lessons Learned
Although ambitious targets were set in the Strategic Plan 2001-2006, Westmeath County
Childcare Committee, most actions were successfully implemented. In cases where actions were
not completed, this was more often due to the sheer amount of time that development workers
necessarily devoted to bureaucratic enterprises, thus reducing the amount of time available for
action planning and implementation. Staff changeovers also considerably reduce productivity due
to differing types of expertise, re-training and handover of existing projects. Overall, the Strategic
Plan 2001-2006 was a realistic plan and for the future it seems that a steady, well-staffed well-
resourced team will be the key to ensuring the success of the Strategic Plan 2006-2010.

Key Lessons Learned
    Capacity building and pre development support with community and private childcare
       services was by far the most time consuming aspect of the programme. The sheer level
       and volume of work for the county would necessitate two full time workers and additional
       workers to support them on key issues such as the Siolta Framework .
    It is essential if the capacity of the Childminding sector is to be fully exploited that a full
       time worker be employed to cover the County. Athlone Childminding Initiative should
       further be developed to target Childminding in key areas of Athlone including Liswolleny


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    Refugee Centre. This service could be developed to work with ethnic minorities
    throughout the county as well as in rural areas that may not sustain rural childcare
    services.
   Westmeath County Childcare Committee took an active role in the implementation of the
    strategic plan. This was done through review and planning sessions carried out with a
    facilitator. This ensured that all members were informed and involved the plan and that
    on a yearly basis adjustments can be made to take into account local factors or changes
    in national childcare policy. This was essential to ensure the effective delivery of the
    2002-2006 Strategic Plan.
   The Co-ordiantion of training on a county wide basis helped to ensure that courses were
    widely dispersed and that training information was circulated to all those working in the
    childcare sector. To date the training prospectus is one the most demanded publications
    that WCCC complete on a yearly basis.
   Westmeath County Childcare Committee have identified six childcare services that have
    been built because of the one in seventy four housing rule that are still empty. This is
    due to a number of key facts-cost, sustainability and poor design.
   Grants should be linked to services that have embraced the quality initiatives to help off
    set costs and to encourage an improvement in service delivery.
   Support for Westmeath County Childcare Committee should contain an indicative yearly
    fund similar to that of the Childminding Initiative €20,000 that will target key areas of
    support. As running cost increase in line with inflation the childcare providers action
    budgets is less than that of the Childminding budget.





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3       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN 2007-2010

3.1      Introduction to the Strategy
Westmeath‟s County Childcare Strategy 2007 to 2010 is based on consultation with parents,
childcare providers and development and support organisations throughout the county. It sets out
to provide a framework of current and future actions, which will result in positive results for the
county‟s children, families and childcare providers. Consideration has been made of national
factors, and also the local infrastructure and the economic and social contexts within which
childcare provision occurs.

In drawing up the Strategy, the Committee considered the provision of childcare in relation to
parents‟ economic and academic participation, poverty and social exclusion, and
Partnerships and joint actions have been identified, and strategies have been developed that will
harness the objectives of partner organisations to produce mutual benefits.

Childcare development within the county will be in line with guidelines of the County Development
Plan. They will also take into account the National Spatial Strategy and the Gateway Towns
Strategy. Where village and town plans are being put in place submissions will be made on the
childcare and play related issues where necessary.

Westmeath‟s Strategy aims to implement practical supports, build on available resources, and
adopt a clear-thinking approach to long term, sustainable, child-centred services. Above all, our
aspiration is to develop childcare services that adhere to principles of quality and best practice in
addressing the needs and rights of children, equality of access and participation, diversity,
partnership and quality.

3.2     Consultative Process
Planning for the Strategic Plan 2007-2010 took place at the broad level during consultation with
the public and providers and at committee level during review and monitoring sessions of the
Management committee that were facilitated by external consultants. Staff members of the
Committee were also consulted and involved in action planning and the facilitation of
consultations with parents and providers. The management committee played an active role
reviewing the Memorandum and Articles of Association , setting up a committee handbook and
being actively involved in representing their organizations input into the strategic plan.
Consultations took the following format:
     Broad Consultation and Review of Existing Stakeholder Plans
     WCCC Committee Planning and Review Sessions
     Consultation with Stakeholders – Childcare Sector (NVCO‟S , Training bodies ect)
     Staff Consultations
     Public Consultations – Parents and Providers
     Childminders Consultations
     Individual Submissions
     Focus Group Sessions (disability and ethic minorities)
     A comprehensive study was undertaken of the current community childcare sector
        provision in county Westmeath . This was done through face to face consultations with
        the groups and also through telephone conversations.




3.3     Committee Structure

The WCCC comprises a wide range of representatives from local and national organisations who
form the Management Committee. There are currently four sub-committees which deal with
Staffing and Finance; Programme Evaluation Sub Committee; Quality and Training; and


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Childminding. Many members are on the Committee primarily to represent the group or agency
for which they work or are members of at local or national level. This involves ensuring that the
WCCC is appraised of the priorities of these agencies in terms of their relevance to childcare and
to provide any relevant feedback for their respective agencies the issues that they see as being
pertinent. The Management committee meet on a monthly basis with all sub-committees meeting
quarterly with the exception of the Staffing and Finance which meets monthly. The committee
have worked on a committee handbook which will be used in conjunction with a publication from
Pobal to ensure governance and management of the organisation is maintained.




3.4     Summary of the demographic profile , analysis of needs and priority objectives

Demographic Profile of County Westmeath-Key Statistics
Westmeath is a low-lying county situated in the centre of Ireland. The Shannon borders the west,
and the Royal Canal crosses from southeast to northwest. The main towns in Westmeath are
Athlone (population 13,774) and Mullingar (population 18,529) and the rest of the county is
characterized by scattered towns and villages with less sizeable (albeit growing) populations
(Preliminary Report on the Census of Ireland, CSO, 2006).

The N4 traverses the county in a northwesterly direction, while the N6 runs west to Athlone and
Galway. The Dublin – Sligo railway line serves Mullingar, and the Dublin-Westport and Dublin-
Galway lines serve Athlone.

Westmeath comprises 106 District Electoral Divisions, and is set the BMW Region and the
Midland Regional Authority. Westmeath County Council and Athlone Urban District Council
administer local government.

The county population of 79,403 represents a 10.5 per cent increase since 2002, in contrast to a
national increase of 8.1 per cent. Population has increased in rural and urban areas. Population
density was 40.9 persons per square kilometre, ranging from 1,987 persons per square kilometre
to 5.4 per square kilometre.

Male population has increased by 10.8 per cent, while female population has grown by 10.2 per
cent. Declining agricultural employment may have led to out migration of males, while females
may be retained or migrate into the county because of increased employment in manufacturing
and service industries.

22.9 per cent of the population in 2002 was aged 14 years or under, in line with national figures.
The proportion of people aged 65 years and older was 11 per cent.

The county population is projected to grow by 20 per cent by 2016, without taking account of
migration from rural areas and into suburban areas. Increasing “commuter belt” development in
the county, with inward migration of people to towns and villages along the national routes, is
having a marked impact on population.

The overall number of children aged 0 to 6 is projected to rise by 4 per cent by 2016, with an
overall increase in the population age profile as declining fertility rates and increasing life
expectancy continue to impact.

In 2002, 17,465 men and 11,756 women, or 92 per cent of men and 36 per cent of women were
at work. Women were over-represented in part-time work and in 2002, 27 per cent of women




                                                                                               13
were classified as being engaged in full-time home duties, which is likely to involve childcare.
Female participation in the work place increased to 43.4 per cent in 2002.

There were 1,363 children attending full day care facilities and 1,049 children using sessional
facilities in May 2006 in Westmeath. Childcare services are concentrated in urban areas, with
services in rural areas generally only accessible only to families with transport.

 According to the Census 2002 figures, there were 2,695 lone-parent families in Westmeath, 17
per cent of which consisted of lone-father families. Lone-parent households constituted 11.5 per
cent of all households in Westmeath in 2002. In Westmeath, 262 lone parent families were on
housing waiting lists with Westmeath County Council and Athlone Town Council. These families
made up 43 per cent of total households on housing waiting lists in the county. 1,478 families
were in receipt of One-Parent family payment in 2004 (Department of Social and Family Affairs,
2004).

In 2002, six-thousand and fifty-nine people in Westmeath had some form of disability and 5.5 per
cent of those were aged under 14 years of age.

In 2004 there were a total of 130 Traveller families identified as living in Westmeath, mainly near
Athlone and Mullingar.

The latest available census figure show that there were 2,844 non-nationals living in Westmeath
in 2002.

Twenty-five to 66 per cent of the population is able to speak Irish, with the highest proportion
close to urban areas.

Landscape and Environment
Westmeath is a low-lying county situated in the centre of Ireland, with no mountains, and few hills
exceeding 500 feet above sea level. Significant lakes are Lough Sheelin, Lene and Derravaragh
in the north of the county, Lough Owel in the centre, Lough Ennell to the south and Lough Ree to
the extreme east. The River Shannon borders the west of the county, and the Royal Canal
crosses the county from southeast to northwest. Westmeath is characterised by 2 large towns,
Athlone on the western border of the county and Mullingar in the centre of the county and
scattered smaller towns and villages throughout the county.

Transport Infrastructure
From Kinnegad, the N4 traverses the county northwesterly towards Longford and Sligo, while the
N6 diverges west towards Athlone and Galway. The new motorway from Kinnegad to Dublin has
further increases the demand for housing in Westmeath.The Dublin – Sligo railway line passes
through Mullingar while the Dublin-Westport line diverges from the Dublin-Galway line at Athlone.

Administrative Structure
County Westmeath is composed of 106 District Electoral Divisions (DEDs) and is located in the
Border, Midlands and Western (BMW) Region and the Midland Regional Authority. Westmeath
County Council is located in Mullingar, and along with Athlone Urban District Council, administers
local government in the county.

Population Density
In 2002, population density in the county was 40.9 persons per square kilometre. The most
densely populated DEDs were Athlone East Urban (1337.3 persons per square kilometer) and
Mullingar North Urban (1,987.4 persons per square kilometer). Among the DEDs with the lowest



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density were Boherquill (7.5 per square kilometre) and Knockarrow in north Westmeath (5.4 per
square kilometre).

Population Change
Preliminary figures from the Census of Ireland (2006) indicate that the general country-wide trend
towards population growth that occurred between 1996 and 2002, has been continuing apace.
The population of Westmeath has increased by 10.5 percent from 71, 858 to 79, 403 in the four
years since the last Census was conducted. The “Mullingar Rural” Electoral Division is number 17
in the national list of top twenty Electoral Divisions, ordered by population change.

       There has been an approximate increase of 50% in net migration into the county.
       The projected increase in the 0-14years is 33% by the year 2016.
       The population of the county is projected to grow by 20% by 2016
       60.3 % female population is at work
       78.7 % male population is at work
       National Childcare Strategy projects 20% increase in demand for places by 2016.


Analysis of Childcare Needs
Childcare need in Westmeath may be broken up into service type need and geographical need.
Service type needs centre around gaps in service provision, such as:

A lack of school-aged childcare(incorporating breakfast clubs and out of school facilities) and the
issue of transport
A lack of special needs childcare, both in terms of available facilities and trained staff
The need for universal childcare places for 3-4 year olds (pre-school year)
A lack of flexible childcare places (both in terms of part-time places and flexible opening hours)
A lack of baby places both full time and part time


In terms of geographical need, certain key issues were identified:
The difficulty of providing childcare in dispersed rural communities
The need to monitor areas for sustainability issues particularly where spare capacity and
unopened facilities are a feature
Certain areas of economic disadvantage exist that would benefit significantly from the
development of community childcare facilities that have been supported in the EOCP bust as yet
have not been completed: Dalton Park , Clonbrusk, St. Kiernans, Ballynancary, Grange and
Killucan
Community childcare facilities need to be supported through pre-development, the application
procedure and the drawing down of any grant aid received
                   Staffing grants are a key priority for the community sector without these and the
                  availability of Community Employment Schemes many services would not be in a
                  position to operate.
               Key areas also include areas of the county that have included massive
                  population growth including Kinnegad, Delvin, Rochfordbridge- Tyrrellspass-
                  Moate (M 4 communter belt) Mullingar and Athlone. However as noted through
                  the consultation process an number of facilities have been built in some of these
                  locations by developer but still remain empty and unsold due bad design,
                  sustainability and cost factors
               Rural areas of north Westmeath still face massive deprivation in relation to
                  childcare provision.
               The new national school building programme should provide an opportunity for
                  linkages to be developed for future SAC and childcare services.




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During the consultation an number of other important issue based priorities were highlighted by
both providers and parents. They include the following:
             The cost of childcare especially where more that one child is attending the facility
             The cost of childcare for babies
             The difficulty of keeping trained professional staff
             Impact on the new Pre School Regulations on the sustainability of services
             The impact of increases costs in the sector- minimum wages, rates , water and
                sewage charges, VAT, increased ESB
             The impact of the new inspection reports being posted on the HSE website
                highlighting negative points not the good points within the service.
             Cost of implementing any of the quality initiatives such as the Centre of
                Excellence or the Siolta Framework- training staff and resources time and new
                equipment..
             The need for clear information in relation to Garda Vetting Procedure and how it
                works for part-time staff, volunteers and students.
             The lack of available support services for childcare facilities that cater for children
                with additional needs.
             The need for better co-ordiantion of student work placements in the county to
                ensure they have access to quality placements and that they are properly
                supervised and supported.


3.5     Evaluation/Monitoring Mechanisms

Evaluation, monitoring and review of procedures are facilitated by the structure of the Committee,
which consists of a Management Committee to which four Working Groups must report. Thus,
information is necessarily shared among all groups of the Committee, which allows for discussion
of issues and facilitation of planning to circumvent any such issues.
In formal terms, monitoring will continue to take place at four quarterly intervals and the reports
that result from the monitoring will subsequently be submitted to Pobal. Comparisons will be
made between set targets on given actions and actual achievements. These comparisons will be
judged firstly by the development worker involved in the given action and subsequently by the
Management Committee of the WCCC. The Programme Evaluation Sub-Committee has been set
up with the express purpose of evaluating and monitoring funding applications under the National
Childcare Investment Programme. The NCIP development worker will report back on funding to
the Management Committee. Information sharing sessions will also occur on a weekly basis
among staff, allowing for a process of continuous cycle of evaluation, monitoring and planning at
an individual level.


Success will be measured through the compilation and completion of the following;
     Quarterly Returns
     Half Yearly Performance Indicators
     Half Yearly Written Report
     Training Report
     Annual Report
     Action Plan
     Quarterly Reports from the PESC Committee for processing by Pobal
Westmeath County Childcare Committee have developed a Performance Monitoring Procedure
as a tool for the Management Committee.




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4       DETAILS OF THE COMMITTEE

4.1     Mission Statement

“Westmeath    County Childcare Committee was set up in 2001 to assist in the
coordination of childcare, both nationally and locally and to assist in prioritising
funding in the area of childcare in County Westmeath”.
The terms of reference of the Westmeath County Childcare Committee include developing
information strategies on childcare for parents and providers, identifying gaps in childcare
provision, promoting the establishment of new childcare facilities, formulating priority objectives
for the region, and supporting networking initiatives of childcare providers at a local and county
level.
The WCCC comprises a wide range of representatives from local and national organisations who
form the Management Committee. There are currently four sub-committees which deal with
Staffing and Finance; Programme Evaluation Sub Committee; Quality and Training; and
Childminding. Many members are on the Committee primarily to represent the group or agency
for which they work or are members of at local or national level. This involves ensuring that the
WCCC is appraised of the priorities of these agencies in terms of their relevance to childcare and
to provide any relevant feedback for their respective agencies the issues that they see as being
pertinent.




Figure 4.1      Organisational Structure of Westmeath County Childcare Committee


                                           Management Committee




             PESC          Childminding       Staffing Finance and      Equality and     Quality/Training
             WG            WG                 Development WG            Diversity Ad-    WG
                                                                        hoc




                                                                                                17
Table 4.1        Management Committee Membership and Affiliation



    Officers                                 Organisation represented

    Chairperson        Chris Murtagh         Parent representative
    Vice Chairperson   Regina Bushell        National Voluntary Childcare Organisations
    Secretary          Patricia Gibney       County Development Board
    Treasurer          Frank Murtagh         Community Group
                       Vacant                IBEC
                       Eamonn Farrell        Health Services Executive
                       Vacant                Farming Pillar
                       Tracey Tallon         Dept. of Enterprise Trade and Employment
                       Anne Galvin           Westmeath Community Development
                       Anna Marie Smith      National Voluntary Childcare Organisations
                       Jimmy Redmond         Service Provider representative (Private)
                       Willie Penrose        Service Provider representative (Community)
                       Liz Fletcher          Community & Voluntary Pillar
                       Joyce Furlong         Community & Voluntary Pillar
                       Helen Flynn           Fás
                       Gina Funke            Parent representative (resigned in November 06)
                       Orla McEntee          ADM
                       Ann Holt              DSFA
                       Mairead Reynolds      Dept. Education and Science
                       Vacant                Anne Martin (resigned 2006)
                       Rena McKenna          VEC

4.2      Role of the Management Committee
The following responsibilities were identified as being intrinsic to the operation of the Committee:
       Determining policy and strategy for Westmeath County Childcare Committee;
       Ensuring that a plan is in place to achieve strategic objectives;
       Monitoring and reviewing performance/implementation;
       Supporting Co-ordinator and staff and ensuring accountability;
       Ensuring financial systems are adequate and that WCCC is financially accountable;
       Providing feedback back locally and nationally in relation to childcare issues.
The management committee meet monthly and have put in place a committee handbook, internal
financial procedures manual and a staff handbook for the efficient running of the company. The
management committee must have a quorum of seven (one third plus one) for decisions to be
made.




=


                                                                                                 18
               Table 4.2        Sub-groups of the County Childcare Committee
            Working Group                     Membership

            Staffing, Finance and             Frank Murtagh (Chairperson) Ann Holt, Patricia
            Development                       Gibney, Chris Murtagh Muriel Martin

            PESC                              Chris Murtagh (Chairperson) Anne Gerethy HSE,
                                              Lousie Meehan HSE, Tracey Tallon WCEB,
                                              Catherine Dillion, Planning Department
                                              Westmeath County Council, Patrick Muldoon and
                                              Muriel Martin

            Childminding                      Muriel Martin; Kerrie Shine (ACI); Caroline O‟
                                              Connor Hughes C. A. O., Anna Kiernan
                                              Childminder,; Anne Galvin WCCC rep and Chair,
                                              Orla Fisher, Martha Smith

            Equality and Diversity            AD Hoc was set up for Research Project will be
                                              reformed for 2007 for new project

            Quality Working Group             Anne Gerety, Anne Marie Smith, Jimmy
                                              Redmond, Caroline O Connor Hughes, Regina
                                              Bushell, Martina Boyce




4.3      Staffing, Finance and Development Working Group
The objective of this group is to review and monitor all staffing and financial issues that pertain to
the running of Westmeath County Childcare Committee. Its membership comprises four
Management Committee members, who meet monthly and who report back to the Management
Committee via a written system of communication. A quorum of three members must be present
for decisions to be made.
The group undertakes to:
      Oversee the recruitment, selection and appraisal of staff members
         Dealing with any human resources issues that may arise.
      Reviews quarterly returns and budgets
      Bring staffing, policy or procedural issues to the attention of the Management Committee
         for further discussion when the need arises


4.4      Programme Evaluation Sub-Committee (PESC) Working Group
The PESC is authorised by WCCC to examine all funding applications within its terms of
reference. It is also authorised to seek any additional information it requires about an application
from a member of staff and/or the applicant and/or the WCCC Board Members, as relevant.
Finally, the PESC may recommend/not recommend or defer the support of an application for
funding. Membership of the PESC is decided by the Board of Westmeath County Childcare
Committee and drawn from amongst its members, not consisting of less than four members at a
given time. A quorum shall be three members. The WCCC board appoints the WCCC
Chairperson as Chairperson of the PESC. The HSE is represented at all times to ensure synergy
with the statutory notification and inspection function. The WCCC Co-ordinator and NCIP
Development Worker attend all PESC meetings and the Development Worker acts as the
Secretary of the PESC. Named representatives of the PESC are the only personnel permitted to
attend meetings and a representative of Pobal also attends.
The terms of reference of the PESC are:



                                                                                                   19
         To consider all applications in the context of the childcare needs identified in County
          Westmeath at that time.
         To give due process to all applications.
         To provide a statement that due process was followed.
         To provide a formal statement of their views on the application.
         To provide a statement estimating when the applicant is most likely to spend.
         Compile a portfolio of applications.
         To provide a clear statement of conclusion in respect of each application in the portfolio.
         A time limit should be adhered to when discussing all applications
         The members of the PESC will commit to dealing with all aspects of the evaluation
          process in a confidential manner.
         PESC members will identify any conflicts of interest and will remove themselves from the
          evaluation process as appropriate.
         PESC members should not disclose information with respect to applications prior to
          announcement of the funding decision by the Office of the Minister for Children.

4.5       Equality and Diversity Working Group (Ad hoc)

This group was formed to oversee disability and equality research and the organisation of a
directory of services. It met monthly in 2003 and 2004 and has been reconstituted in 2007 in
order to update the directory of services.

4.6     Quality and Training Working Group
This group aims to keep the interest of the child as a central consideration, while ensuring that
childcare workers and childminders are continuously supported and mentored in their provision of
services to children through professional development. The quorum for decisions to be made is
three members.
Objectives include;

         Raising the awareness of quality in the County;

         Promoting Best Practice;

         Providing a variety of Quality Initiative Programmes that meet the Individual   Provider‟s
          needs in Childcare;

         Supporting sustained quality in childcare;

         Mentoring and support work with individual services (finances permitting);

         Inclusion of an article on Quality information in the WCCC newsletters;

         Provision of information for parents on quality childcare on the WCCC Website.


4.7       Childminding Working Group

This was set up to further develop the information and supports available to Childminders in
county Westmeath and to encourage voluntary notification and ongoing training among
Childminders. The group is co-ordinated by the Childminding Advisory Officer for Longford/
Westmeath, who is concerned with networking with Childminders and the promotion and support
of Childminding both as a career and a childcare option in Westmeath. The group meets on a
quarterly basis and reviews Childminding actions for approval under various headings such as
Training, Information and Networking. The quorum for decisions to be made is three members



                                                                                                  20
 The group reports back to the Management Committee on issues relevant to the coordination and
 management of the Childcare Strategy for Westmeath.


 4.8      Staff Positions, Responsibilities, Personnel Practices and Reporting Structures

Table 4.3 Staffing Structure of Westmeath County Childcare Committee
 Name                    Title                       Full/Part Time             Responsibilities/
                                                                                Reporting Structures
 Muriel Martin           Co-ordinator                Full time                  Leading
                                                                                implementation of the
                                                                                County Childcare Plan,
                                                                                with responsibility for the
                                                                                management of
                                                                                development workers
                                                                                and clerical staff.
                                                                                Provides support to
                                                                                Management
                                                                                Committee.
                                                                                Reports directly to the
                                                                                Management Committee
                                                                                and the Staffing and
                                                                                Finance and PESC
                                                                                Committees
 Philomena Maloney       Clerical Officer            Full time   (from   July   General administrative
                                                     2006)                      work and provision of a
                                                                                front office presence.
                                                                                Reports to the Co-
                                                                                ordinator
 Martina Boyce           Development Worker          Full time (End Jan 2006)   Provision of support for
                                                                                community groups e.g.
                                                                                assisting in the drawing
                                                                                down of funding such as
                                                                                staffing grants liaison
                                                                                and general
                                                                                development work.
                                                                                Reports to the Co-
                                                                                ordinator. Member of
                                                                                the Quality Working
                                                                                Group and reports to this
                                                                                group.
 Patrick Muldoon         Development        Worker   Full time (from August     General development
                         (NCIP)                      2006)                      work and responsibility
                                                                                for the NCIP (2006-
                                                                                2010). Member of the
                                                                                PESC Working Group
                                                                                Reports to the Co-
                                                                                ordinator
 Siobhán Keegan          Researcher     (Mapping     Part-time(from   August    Research and analysis
                         and Strategic Plan)         2006)                      of issues such as
                                                                                childcare need in the
                                                                                county
                                                                                Reports to the Co-
                                                                                ordiantor




                                                                                                       21
In relation to all staffing issues this role has be delegated to the Staffing and Finance Working
group so the can make quick and efficient decision pertaining to staff to avoid any unnecessary
industrial disputes. The staffing and finance committee are involved in the recruitment, selection
and support of all staff employed by WCCC. Systems are in place including detailed job
descriptions, personal specifications, salary scales, appraisal systems, training budgets, staff
handbooks, health and safety statements and procedures. The Co-ordinator reports directly to
the Chairperson , Management Committee and the Staffing and Finance Committee.


The Co-ordinator manages the day to day operations of the organization and all staff reporting
into her. Weekly staff support and supervision meeting are held each Monday or in the event of
bank holidays on the Tuesdays. The Co-ordiantor reports monthly on all staffing issues to the
Staffing and Finance Working Group.
Appraisal are held yearly for all staff and are signed by the Co-ordiantor. The Co-ordiantors
appraisal is conducted by the Chairperson.


All staff are paid in line with OMC salary scales, any updates on these scales are approved in
writing from OMC and then formally approved by the Staffing and Finance Working Group.




4.9     Organisational Legal Status


Registered company number:
636684R


Charitable status:
Yes – No. CHY 14993


Limited Company
Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited was incorporated under the Companies Acts
1963 to 1999 on 21st of August 2001.




                                                                                               22
5       DETAILS OF THE AREA

5.1     Demographic Profile of County Westmeath-Key Statistics
Westmeath is a low-lying county situated in the centre of Ireland. The Shannon borders the west,
and the Royal Canal crosses from southeast to northwest. The main towns in Westmeath are
Athlone (population 13,774) and Mullingar (population 18,529) and the rest of the county is
characterized by scattered towns and villages with less sizeable (albeit growing) populations
(Preliminary Report on the Census of Ireland, CSO, 2006).

The N4 traverses the county in a northwesterly direction, while the N6 runs west to Athlone and
Galway. The Dublin – Sligo railway line serves Mullingar, and the Dublin-Westport and Dublin-
Galway lines serve Athlone.

Westmeath comprises 106 District Electoral Divisions, and is set the BMW Region and the
Midland Regional Authority. Westmeath County Council and Athlone Urban District Council
administer local government.

The county population of 79,403 represents a 10.5 per cent increase since 2002, in contrast to a
national increase of 8.1 per cent. Population has increased in rural and urban areas. Population
density was 40.9 persons per square kilometre, ranging from 1,987 persons per square kilometre
to 5.4 per square kilometre.

Male population has increased by 10.8 per cent, while female population has grown by 10.2 per
cent. Declining agricultural employment may have led to out migration of males, while females
may be retained or migrate into the county because of increased employment in manufacturing
and service industries.

22.9 per cent of the population in 2002 was aged 14 years or under, in line with national figures.
The proportion of people aged 65 years and older was 11 per cent.

The county population is projected to grow by 20 per cent by 2016, without taking account of
migration from rural areas and into suburban areas. Increasing “commuter belt” development in
the county, with inward migration of people to towns and villages along the national routes, is
having a marked impact on population.

The overall number of children aged 0 to 6 is projected to rise by 4 per cent by 2016, with an
overall increase in the population age profile as declining fertility rates and increasing life
expectancy continue to impact.

In 2002, 17,465 men and 11,756 women, or 92 per cent of men and 36 per cent of women were
at work. Women were over-represented in part-time work and in 2002, 27 per cent of women
were classified as being engaged in full-time home duties, which is likely to involve childcare.
Female participation in the work place increased to 43.4 per cent in 2002.

There were 1,363 children attending full day care facilities and 1,049 children using sessional
facilities in May 2006 in Westmeath. Childcare services are concentrated in urban areas, with
services in rural areas generally only accessible only to families with transport.

 According to the Census 2002 figures, there were 2,695 lone-parent families in Westmeath, 17
per cent of which consisted of lone-father families. Lone-parent households constituted 11.5 per
cent of all households in Westmeath in 2002. In Westmeath, 262 lone parent families were on
housing waiting lists with Westmeath County Council and Athlone Town Council. These families
made up 43 per cent of total households on housing waiting lists in the county. 1,478 families
were in receipt of One-Parent family payment in 2004 (Department of Social and Family Affairs,
2004).


                                                                                               23
In 2002, six-thousand and fifty-nine people in Westmeath had some form of disability and 5.5 per
cent of those were aged under 14 years of age.

In 2004 there were a total of 130 Traveller families identified as living in Westmeath, mainly near
Athlone and Mullingar.

The latest available census figure show that there were 2,844 non-nationals living in Westmeath
in 2002.

Twenty-five to 66 per cent of the population is able to speak Irish, with the highest proportion
close to urban areas.
5.2      Landscape and Environment
Westmeath is a low-lying county situated in the centre of Ireland, with no mountains, and few hills
exceeding 500 feet above sea level. Significant lakes are Lough Sheelin, Lene and Derravaragh
in the north of the county, Lough Owel in the centre, Lough Ennell to the south and Lough Ree to
the extreme east. The River Shannon borders the west of the county, and the Royal Canal
crosses the county from southeast to northwest. Westmeath is characterised by 2 large towns,
Athlone on the western border of the county and Mullingar in the centre of the county and
scattered smaller towns and villages throughout the county.

5.3      Transport Infrastructure
From Kinnegad, the N4 traverses the county northwesterly towards Longford and Sligo, while the
N6 diverges west towards Athlone and Galway. The new motorway from Kinnegad to Dublin has
further increases the demand for housing in Westmeath.The Dublin – Sligo railway line passes
through Mullingar while the Dublin-Westport line diverges from the Dublin-Galway line at Athlone.

5.4     Administrative Structure
County Westmeath is composed of 106 District Electoral Divisions (DEDs) and is located in the
Border, Midlands and Western (BMW) Region and the Midland Regional Authority. Westmeath
County Council is located in Mullingar, and along with Athlone Urban District Council, administers
local government in the county.

5.5     Population Density
In 2002, population density in the county was 40.9 persons per square kilometre. The most
densely populated DEDs were Athlone East Urban (1337.3 persons per square kilometer) and
Mullingar North Urban (1,987.4 persons per square kilometer). Among the DEDs with the lowest
density were Boherquill (7.5 per square kilometre) and Knockarrow in north Westmeath (5.4 per
square kilometre).

5.6      Population Change
Preliminary figures from the Census of Ireland (2006) indicate that the general country-wide trend
towards population growth that occurred between 1996 and 2002, has been continuing apace.
The population of Westmeath has increased by 10.5 percent from 71, 858 to 79, 403 in the four
years since the last Census was conducted. The “Mullingar Rural” Electoral Division is number 17
in the national list of top twenty Electoral Divisions, ordered by population change.




                                                                                                24
5.7       Areas of population growth
The most rapidly growing DEDs are clustered around the N52, the Kinnegad to Mullingar road
and Mullingar town itself. Considerable growth is also in evidence in North Westmeath. The
demography of the main towns of Mullingar and Athlone has been characterised by rapid growth
in recent years. The County Housing Strategy (Westmeath County Council, 2002) projected that
the county would grow by almost 7000 new households by the year 2006. The current reality of
housing development is one characterised by a huge growth in large-scale housing estates that
are located back-to-back. Under the County Development Plan, it is stated that larger housing
estates and new housing areas should be provided for at a rate of one childcare facility with 20
places for every 75 dwelling units.
In Mullingar and the east of the county, the single most important driver in the residential property
market is the Greater Dublin commuter market and the growth of significant employers in the
Greater Dublin area. Combined with the elevated prices of housing for first time buyers in Dublin,
Mullingar and the eastern part of the county have been an attractive destination for first time
house buyers. In Athlone, there is a strong demand for housing prompted both by the presence of
large employers in the pharmaceutical and IT sectors and the presence of the Athlone Institute of
Technology. In line with this housing growth at urban level in the county, the strategy also
highlights the need for the expansion of smaller towns and villages such as Moate, Kinnegad,
Rochfortbridge, Miltownpass, Kilbeggan and Tyrrellspass in response to increased demand.
Indeed, many of these locations have individual town and village plans that identify them as key
growth areas in the county. Such areas would doubtlessly benefit from the provision of childcare
facilities. However, through analysis of NCIP/EOCP query files, it seems that there remains a
difficulty in obtaining planning permission for childcare facilities in certain rural areas.


Top Ten Westmeath Electoral Divisions ordered by Population Change from 2002 to 2006
(Preliminary Census Report, 2006)
                                  DED            Percentage
                                                  Increase
                        Kinnegad                   65.6
                        Riverdale                   37.5
                        Mullingar Rural             36.6
                        Delvin                      34.8
                        Churchtown                  33.2
                        Coole                       32.5
                        Collinstown                 32.2
                        Killua                      30.2
                        Lackan                      25.9
                        Fore West                   25.3




                                                                                                  25
5.8         Population by age structure

According to the 2002 Census, 22.9% per cent of the population of county Westmeath was aged
14 years or under. This was in line with the percentage of young people under 14 years of age in
                                                                      the country as a whole.
            Population Aged Under 14                                  Given that the biggest
                                                                      population rise will be
                                                                      witnessed in the under
 2500                                                                 fourteen category (+33%)
                                                  Aged Under 1
                                                                      (Regional        Population
 2000                                             Aged 1-2            Projections     2006-2021,
                                                  Aged 3-4            Central Statistics Office,
 1500                                                                 2006), it is likely that the
                                                  Aged 5-6
                                                                      demand for services that
                                                  Aged 7-8
 1000                                                                 cater to this age group will
                                                  Aged 9-10           increase accordingly.
      500                                              Aged 11-12
                                                       Aged 13-14
       0



                    Source: Census of Ireland, 2002 Report for County Westmeath



 5. 9       Future Population changes
 Overall, the population of the county is projected to grow by 20 per cent over the period 1996 to
 2016 (Fig. 4). This projection does not take account of future changes in fertility rates or migration
 into or out of the county, both of which are difficult to project. In particular, migration has been a
                                                                         feature of the population changes in
Fig. 4 Population change in U-15 compared to total                       Westmeath between 1996 and
80000                                                              76190
                                      69321
                                                    72696                2006, with out migration from
70000
             63314
                         66240                                           disadvantaged rural and urban
60000                                                                    areas, and migration into suburban
                                                                         areas. In recent years, increasing
50000
                                                                         “commuter belt” development in the
40000                                                                    east of the county, with inward
30000                                                                    migration of people from outside the
        17096                                  16491          17784      county to towns and villages along
20000               15629        15464
                                                                         the national routes, is having a
10000                                                                    marked impact on population in
    0                                                                    these areas. The national trend
           1996        2001         2006          2011           2016    from net emigration to net
                                         Under 15      Total Population
                                                                         immigration, and the current inflow
 of EU and other migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers will also swell the population.
 SOURCE: 2000 ADM NATIONAL CHILDCARE CENSUS REPORT FOR COUNTY W ESTMEATH




                                                                                                          26
The 2000 ADM Childcare Census for Westmeath has projected population changes to 2016
based on national trends, and these projections are illustrated in Fig. 5. The overall number of
children aged 0 to 6 is projected to rise by 4 per cent by 2016, with an overall increase in the
population age profile as declining fertility rates and increasing life expectancy continue to have
an impact.


Using these projections, the following are the potential changes by age up to 2016:


  Fig. 5 Population projections by age                                  Population change
  20000                                                                     projected
  18000                                                            Age            2006    2016
  16000                                                            Group
  14000                                                 13-15      0 to 1
  12000                                                 7-12
                                                                   year            119     312
  10000                                                            1 to 3
                                                        4-6
   8000                                                            years           328     860
   6000                                                 1-3        4 to 6
   4000                                                 0-l        years            30     571
   2000                                                            7 to 12
      0                                                            years        -1,107    -245
           1996     2001      2006     2011     2016


SOURCE: 2000 ADM NATIONAL CHILDCARE CENSUS REPORT FOR COUNTY W ESTMEATH




                                                                                                27
5.10     Women’s Economic Activity
In 2002, 11,756 women and 17,465 men in the county identified their status as “at work” in Westmeath in
the census. In the third quarter of 2006, the national employment rate for females aged 15-64 was
                                                               60.3%, which is the first time the female
                                                               rate has exceeded the 60% mark. This
                                           1000
                                                               compares with a rate of 59.3% one year
                                                               previously. The rate for males also
              Full-Tim e                   800                 increased over the year from 78.2% to
                                                               78.7% bringing the overall employment
                                           600                 rate to 69.6%. The highest employment
                                                      Wom en
   Em ployed                               400                 rate, 82.2%, was recorded in the 25-34
                       Part-tim e                     Men
                                                               age group where 88.4% of males and
                                  Not
                                           200                 75.8% of females were in employment.
                            Underem pl
                               oyed      0
     Em ployed         Part-tim e



Figure 5.         Paid Employment status of men and women, Q2, 2002
                 ( CSO Quarterly National Household data, March to May)

Most recent census figures indicate that women differ considerably from men in workforce participation on
analysis of part-time employment figures, where women are over-represented in comparison with men.
As well as being over-represented in part-time work and in 2002, 27 per cent of women were classified as
                                                             being engaged in full-time home duties,
                                                             which is likely to involve childcare. However,
    100                                                      over half of lone parents were engaged in
                                                             “home duties” as opposed to being
     80                                                      employed, which is an indication that for
                                            At work          some families, childcare is not an option and
     60                                     Unemployed       the only solution seems to be to stay home
                                            Student          to care for the children. Economically, this
     40                                                      leads to an “invisibility” in terms of labour
                                            Home Duties      force participation and may be obscuring a
     20                                     Retired/Other    significant pool of potential labour force
                                                             participants who might, with adequate
      0                                                      supports including childcare, be enabled to
            Couples     Lone Parents                         participate in the labour force.

SOURCE: CSO Quarterly National Housing Survey-Childcare, Quarter 1 2005, May 2006

There has been an increase in the number of families who are enrolling their children in preschool
services and in the majority of these families (62 per cent), the mother is defined as being “at work”. This
is a reflection of the correlation between female labour force participation and childcare demand.
Interestingly, however, 34.1 per cent of families whose children attended preschool in 2005 consisted of
mothers who were defined as being engaged in “home duties”. This is an indication that preschool
education has become a choice for many families as well as being a necessity for those families in which
both parents are employed.




                                                                                                         28
                            Preschool         Primary Only                    Both                            Total
                            Only
                            2002   2005       2002        2005         2002          2005             2002        2005
Total    number        of   91.1   102.3      209.0       208.0        98.2          102.7            398.3       413.1
families

Age group of
mother/guardian
                 15-24       13.8      14.9     2.2          2.2          3.2             2.6          19.2            19.7
                 25-34       52.9      57.5    41.2         38.2         42.6            42.6         136.6           138.4
                 35-44       22.8      28.0   119.1        118.5         55.1            55.1         192.0           201.6
                   45+        1.5       1.8    46.5         49.2          2.5             2.5          50.4            53.4
PESof mother/guardian
               At work      51.8    62.0      113.1        120.0         42.0            45.0         206.9           227.0
          Unemployed         2.9     2.1        4.3          3.8          1.8             1.4           9.0             7.3
               Student       0.8     2.3        2.6          3.5          0.9             0.8           4.2             6.6
          Home Duties       33.7    34.1       86.1         78.4         52.5            53.7         172.3           166.1
         Retired/Other       1.9     1.8        2.9          2.5          1.0             1.8           5.8             6.2

             Region
              Border 10.2      11.4       25.2     24.6      10.6        11.1     46.0                                 47.2
             Midland    5.8     5.5      11.8      12.6       6.1         7.1     23.7                                 25.1
                West    9.7     8.7      20.0      18.7       9.0        11.0     38.8                                 38.5
               Dublin 23.5     28.8      53.8      57.0      25.7        27.6    103.0                                111.2
            Mid-East 10.6      12.9      24.5      24.2      11.5        12.7     46.6                                 49.8
            Mid West    8.0    10.0      19.7      18.6       9.5         8.6     37.3                                 37.2
          South-East    9.7    11.6      23.6      24.2      10.8         9.9     44.1                                 45.7
          South-West 13.6      15.5      30.4      28.3      14.8        14.6     58.8                                 58.5
SOURCE: CSO Quarterly National Housing Survey-Childcare, Quarter 1 2005, May 2006




5.11     Population change and impact on demand for childcare
The National Childcare Strategy predicted that there will be a 20 per cent increase in demand for
childcare by 2016. Currently, existing notified services are unable to meet demands, especially for baby
places. Fig. 5 estimated a county population of 1,005 children aged 0 to 1 year by 2001, an increase of 50
from the 1996 census: at the time of the 2000 ADM National Childcare Census for County Westmeath,
there were 48 childcare places recorded for this age group in the county. Fig. 8 indicates the potential
level of future dependency on childcare in Westmeath, given current participation rates of mothers in the
workforce. Increases in population (and therefore demand for childcare) are predicted across all age
groups.
SOURCE: 2000 ADM NATIONAL CHILDCARE CENSUS REPORT FOR COUNTY W ESTMEATH; PARTNERSHIP 2000
W ORKING GROUP ON W OMEN‟S ACCESS TO
LABOUR MARKET OPPORTUNITIES                   Fig. 8: Estimated childcare places needed 2001 - 2006

                                               2500
                                               2000
                                               1500
                                               1000
                                                500
                                                      0
                                                            2001             2006             2011               2016
                                                0-l         375               401             445                473
                                                1-3         1033             1104             1225               1302
                                                4-6         1038             1099             1191               1301
                                                7-12        2097             2051             2176               2373   29
5.12    Identification of current provision and supply
The current childcare situation in Westmeath was documented in the recent Strategic Mapping Report
(2006), which highlighted existing services and identified gaps in provision. Childcare services in
Westmeath range from full day care to sessional to drop in-centres and school aged/after school
services. The recent childcare census for Westmeath recorded that there were 1,363 children attending
full day care facilities and 1049 children using sessional care in Westmeath (Westmeath County
Childcare Committee census, May 2006).. Eighteen services are community-based, 57 services are
privately run, and the remaining services are provided by private Childminders. We have also
included data on two services that provide support and care to preschool children with special
needs.
Table 5.1         Childcare Facilities by Type

Type                 No. of      No. of          Childcare Facilities in Westmeath (May '06)
                     services    childre                          by Type
                                 n
                                                                                                        Full Day Care
Full Day Care              35      1,363

Sessional                  44     1,049                                                                 Sessional


Notified                     6      36*                                                                 Notified
Childminders                                                                                            Childminders

                                                                                                        Voluntarily
Voluntarily                53      106*                                                                 Notified
Notified                                                                                                Childminders
                                                                                                        Afterschool
Childminders
                                                                                                        Service
Stand Alone                  7      207
After school                                                                                            Drop-in Centre
Services
Drop in Centres              1       20



*approximately

Childminders:
Childminders caring for three or less children can voluntarily notify the Health Service Executive Midland
Area and receive advice, support, training and Childminder Development Grants. There are 53
voluntarily notified Childminders in Westmeath that are working within the Voluntary Notification
system through the Childminding Advisory Service. These Childminders care for approximately 106
preschool aged children. Childminders caring for four or more children are legally obliged to notify the
Preschool Inspection team of the Health Service Executive and are subject to an annual inspection under
the terms of the regulations. Six Childminders are notified under the Childcare (Pre-school Services)
Regulations.




                                                                                                       30
5.13    Specific requirements and unique features

There are a number of features of the demographic profile of Westmeath that are specific to the county
and that define the type and range of need of childcare services.

5.13.1 Distribution of Childcare Facilities
Notified childcare services in Westmeath are concentrated in and around urban areas, with rural
disadvantaged areas being the least likely to have childcare facilities. Children in rural areas are often at
a multiple disadvantage: firstly because of lack of available places; and secondly because where
childcare services exist in rural areas, these are only accessible to families with readily available
transport. Furthermore, rural areas often have a more difficult time attracting community-based resources
than urban areas because they tend not to have as many readily recognizable indicators of disadvantage
as urban settings do. Planning guidelines often stipulate that facilities must be located within village
boundaries or in areas indicated on village/town plans. These sites are often owned by developers and
pre-built facilities exist is some cases which are unsuitable and extremely expensive to purchase.
However, at present there are 6 empty purpose built childcare services in Westmeath which have not
been on the market for periods of over six months to a year.

5.13.2 Cost of childcare
The cost of quality childcare is an issue that has been addressed in both the local and national press and
has become a major political issue. Ireland has consistently been compared unfavourably to its European
and national counterparts in terms of childcare provision and funding. National childcare costs have risen
by 23% in the period from 2002 to 2005, according to a report issued by the Central Statistics Office
(2006). In the midland region, they report that childcare costs are second only to Dublin and have risen
from an average of €3.26 per hour in 2002 to €4.31 per hour in 2005. For families who require childcare
for 40 hours a week this constitutes a bill of over €170 per week, when the average bill 3 years ago was
€150. In the first quarter of 2005, the average cost of paid childcare was just over €120 per week.

Figure 5.1      Analysis of Weekly Cost of Childcare in Westmeath by Setting Type



               €180
               €160                                                        Rural Sessional
               €140
                                                                           Urban Sessional
               €120
               €100                                                        Rural Full Day Care
                €80                                                        Urban Full Day Care
                €60
                                                                           Rural Childminders
                €40
                €20                                                        Urban Childminders
                 €0
                                        rs
                                       rs
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                                                                                                          31
5.13.3 “Hidden” or non-notified childcare and Childminders
Childminding Ireland, the national support organisation for home-based Childminders, estimates that
Childminders comprise approximately 80 per cent of all childcare. Currently, this form of childcare
provision is the most difficult to quantify, consisting as it does of a range of provisions from relatives or
neighbours “minding” or providing basic care and supervision on a short-term or stop-gap basis, to
structured care and education provided by people who have chosen to provide childcare services from
their own homes. There were 6 notified Childminders in county Westmeath in May 2006, representing a
maximum of 12 to 24 childcare places, depending on age group of children attending. There are 53
voluntarily notified Childminders in Westmeath that are working within the Voluntary Notification
system through the Childminder Advisory Service.

5.13.4 Community Childcare in Athlone
Community childcare provision in Athlone has been piecemeal and fragmented to date, which prompted
WCCC to undertake a detailed study of community childcare need and current status in the area. In
Athlone, certain designated areas are the focus of a Government programme entitled RAPID, which aims
to combat comparative disadvantage by prioritising the areas for national and local resources and
investment through coordinated work between residents and agencies. The areas include
Clonbrusk/Ashdale/Woodland Grove, Sarsfield Square, St. Mel‟s Terrace and Blackberry Lane. Other
areas which are not designated disadvantaged under the RAPID programme have been highlighted by
community development workers and local groups as being in need of grant aid, re-development and
resource allocation. These areas include Brawney, Parnell Square and Willowpark. Some of the estates
are located in the Athlone East Urban DED, which at 14 % has one of the highest percentages of lone
parent families in the county (Census, 2002; Gamma, 2004). Furthermore, the proportion of those families
in Athlone East Urban that have all children under the age of fifteen is quite comparatively high at 5 per
cent. It is important to note that lone parent households in which all the children are under the age of
fifteen are highly at risk for poverty due to the fact that all the children are likely to still be financially
dependent on their parent.
The Athlone East Urban DED has the highest percentage of adults (29.8 %) in Westmeath who possess
no formal education or who possess a primary education only (Census, 2002; Gamma, 2004). This level
of educational disadvantage is an indicator of poverty and is often difficult to overcome without the help of
adult education and dedicated training programmes. The general environment of the estates is often poor
with drainage problems, lack of developed green areas and high volumes of through traffic causing
concern for residents, particularly those with small children. Residents groups are often active in
campaigning for better conditions and have also worked with the Gardaí to combat the problem of anti-
social behaviour in the localities.




                                                                                                            32
     IDENTIFIED GAPS by DED
     (based on current provision and
     population growth)

          Finea. Coole, Streete,
          Boherquill

           Castletown, Loughnavalley

           Killucan, Kinnegad

          Delvin, Collinstown, Killua

          Moate, Moydrum, Auburn




33
34
6       NEEDS ANALYSIS

6.1     Consultation
In order to understand the needs of children, parents and providers in the county the following
consultation was undertaken:

6.1.1   Broad Consultation and Review of Existing Stakeholder Plans
Review of the existing literature, development and strategic plans impacting on Childcare in Westmeath;
discussions were carried out with statutory and community agencies, l and national organisations as
appropriate arising from this review.
6.1.2   Consultation discussions with stakeholders
       Questionnaires were circulated to all providers at information sessions held on 3 occasions in
        October and November 2006; two of the sessions took place in Mullingar and one took place in
        Athlone. Participants were encouraged to explore and discuss any queries or issues with
        childcare contacts, support agencies and / or colleagues between the meetings, in order to
        facilitate more comprehensive discussion at the feedback sessions.

       A meeting was also held with members of the Diploma in Nursery Management course in order to
        discuss childcare management and training issues.
       A comprehensive study was undertaken of the current community childcare sector provision in
        county Westmeath . This was done through face to face consultations with the groups and also
        through telephone conversations.
       The Management committee of the County Childcare Committee, whose members consist of
        representatives of the statutory, voluntary and community sector facilitated an information-sharing
        process on behalf of their respective organizations. The Management Committee took part in
        review and monitoring exercises.
       Similarly, a cohesive plan for the future of Westmeath childcare was prepared through meetings
        between Westmeath Community Development and Athlone Community Taskforce.
       Two Childminders networks were facilitated on issues pertaining to Childminding in the county.
       2 public consultation meetings were held in 2 locations throughout the county.
       The staff of WCCC were consulted
       Two focus groups meeting were held – Disability Working group for Westmeath and Harmony
        CDP – Travellers and Ethnic Minorities.
These consultations strengthened the county networks available to Westmeath County Childcare
Committee; facilitated the analysis of needs and gaps, and ensured the identification of existing and
potential development for inclusion in the Programme of Activities. Through this wide consultation
process, the County Childcare Committee strategic objectives were validated and contextualised for
Westmeath, and additional issues identified for incorporation into the Committee‟s Planning sessions.


6.1.3 Individual submissions
Written submissions by post or e-mail were also invited by means of newspaper advertisements, a press
release in the local newspapers, local radio broadcasts and e-mails to relevant support and development
groups. Several submissions were carried out over the phone, and specific submissions were sought by
questionnaire and discussion from a range of groups and individuals involved in the development of
Childcare in Westmeath.




                                                                                                         35
The following individuals and organisations participated in consultation for Westmeath County Childcare
Plan:

Organisation    Attended      Contributed   Access to   One to Developed       Developed
               consultation   submission      Plans /    one    joint action Plan as part of
                 meeting                    Documents   meeting                Childcare
                                                                               Committee
ACT
                                                                                 
Pobal
                                                                                   
NVCO
                                                                                   
Barnardo’s
                                                
Childminders
                                 
DSCFA
                                                                                   
Fás
                                                                                   
Harmony CDP
                                                                                   
IPPA
                                                                                  
HSE
                                                                                  
MTAG
                                                           
NCNA
                                                
Parents
                                                                                 
Potential
Crèche                                                     
Developer
Childcare
                                                                               
Providers
WCD
                                                                                 
WCDB
                                               
WCEB
                                                                                    




                                                                                                      36
6.2     Issues raised during consultation

 6.2.1 Childcare Training and Work Experience (Childcare Providers)
 Consultation                 Details
 Issue
 Accredited Prior             Need for previous experience (regardless of qualifications obtained) to be taken into account for certain childcare workers
                                                                                            rd
 Learning                     in order to help them to gain access to further training and 3 level courses
 (APL)
 Work Experience              Need for students and volunteers to be properly vetted by Gardai
                              Need for better support structures in place for the supervision of students on work experience (more input from course
                              organizers required)
 Cost of Training             Cost of providing adequate training for staff in private settings is often prohibitive for private providers-they need to have
                              Quality staff but the cost of training Quality staff is currently very high
 Training for School          Lack of courses out there that deal with school aged childcare provision
 Aged Childcare               Staff need help in curriculum development for older children and in developing appropriate and developmentally- relevant
                              structures for older children
 Children‟s First - Child     Limited availability and long waiting lists of Children‟s First - Child Protection training. Not being adequately promoted by
 Protection                   the HSE in training terms
 Manual handling for          Need for more courses in this area and specific to lifting children
 babies
 Individualised               Support in the area of curriculum development and adaptation to meet the needs of individual children required
 Curriculum
 Lack of Qualified            Need for more tutors with more qualifications on a county-wide basis especially in the area of School Aged childcare,
 Tutors                       curriculum development, Children‟s First and Childcare Management
 Siolta Framework             Cost of training up childcare staff.
                              Lack of resources within WCCC to deliver this framework need more resources committed from OMC to deliver the
                              SIOLTA framework
                            6.2.2   Day to day running of the service

               Consultation                 Details
               Issue
               Sustainability in face of    More parents are job-sharing or working part-time. This places increased pressure on services to sustain
               adapting to parents          themselves as less families are availing of the services on a full-time basis
               needs




                                                                                                                                                    37
Rates and Water            Westmeath County Council are set to introduce these in 2007 placing increased costs on Providers
Rates
New Pre School             New ratios especially for the younger age groups will put increased pressure on services to sustain themselves.
Regulations
Wages and PRSI             10% of wage bill made up of employer PRSI which goes straight back to government and equated to €30 per
                           month per place
                           Increase in the minimum wage in January 2007
                           Wages account for 73% of turnover according to an NCNA survey
                           Difficulty in attracting suitable employees at current pay rate
                           Major pressure from parents to keep fees at a minimum
VAT                        NCNA attributes 5% of total costs to VAT
                           VAT is charged at 13.5% on all building work carried out by a service, on fuel costs and on refuge
                           VAT on rent is 21% in cases where providers are renting new buildings
                           All equipment, materials advertising and costs are inclusive of 21% VAT
Energy                     ESB increased by 11% between 2005 and 2006 with a further 15% increase in 2007
                           Gas set to increase by over 30% from January 2007
Lack of incentives for     Providers that make the effort to provide a Quality service are not recognised or rewarded by the government in
Quality Providers          the form of increased funding or incentives even though it costs providers a great deal to implement a Quality
                           programme
Planning Rules             A number of services built in line with the Department of the Environment guideline of one service per 75
                           houses are being built in close proximity to existing services, causing sustainability issues for both services
HR Support                 Childcare services are in need of a high level of Human Resources support from County Childcare staff and
                           Management
Service in non-            In a number of areas, converted semi-detached houses are being set aside for the location of a childcare
purpose built facilities   service-they are white elephants in many cases as their structure does not adequately meet childcare needs




                                                                                                                              38
6.2.3       Childcare Staff


         Consultation             Details Childcare Staff
         Issue
         Professional Profile     An improvement of the professional profile of childcare staff is required-both in terms of recognition for the work that
                                  is carried out and also in terms of pay parity with other professions
         Men in childcare         Men should be encouraged to work in the childcare sector
         Wages                    The wages in this sector is still very low and would not entice younger people into the sector.
         In Service Training      Lack of provision on in service training by employers. All training takes place at night or at the weekends and
                                  employees are not compensated fro attending and often have to pay for it themselves

6.2.4       After-school Provision
        Consultation             Details After School Provision
        Issue
        Location and transport   Ideally services should be located close to if not on a school site. This is a child-friendly solution which also limits the
                                 need for transportation between venues
        Curriculum planning      Older children have discrete developmental needs that should be addressed by a good quality After-school
        and childcare needed     programme. Staff in after-school services need to be given the proper training in order to implement a suitable child-
                                 centred curriculum and programme of activities
        Transport                It is not possible to locate an after school service close to a school, then transport between locations should be
                                 provided in order to suit parental needs and to ensure child safety. The use of school transport systems should be
                                 extended to take children from schools to childcare services.
        New schools              The planning and building of new primary schools should also include provision for breakfast club/after school
                                 facilities
        Play space               Suitable and adequate play space is intrinsic to the provision of a good Quality After-school service




                                                                                                                                              39
6.2.5     Social Inclusion




        Consultation               Details Social Inclusion
        Issue
        Information Availability   Parents who need to access information on special needs supports often have great difficulty and are not sure of
                                   the correct channels to go through in order to receive advice and support
        Additional Cost            Services face an additional cost if they are required to hire a Special Needs Assistant
        Community Childcare        Community childcare services rely heavily on capacity building support from the County Childcare Committee,
        Sustainability             especially in the case of large projects
        Ethnic Minorities          Curriculum should reflect diversity and a multi-cultural approach
        Community Childcare        Community childcare providers are overly reliant on Community Employment schemes, without the scheme and
        Staffing                   the provision of a staffing grant, they simply would not function
        Curriculum planning        Older children have discrete developmental needs that should be addressed by a good quality After-school
        and childcare needed       programme. Staff in after-school services need to be given the proper training in order to implement a suitable
                                   child-centred curriculum and programme of activities
        Transport                  This is a major issue in rural areas and also to access SAC services in the county.




                                                                                                                                       40
6.2.6   Parents

        Consultation             Details
        Issue
        Shortage of baby         Need for more places for babies both full and part time
        places
        Flexible Childcare       Places that are available on a part-time, flexible basis (a few days a week only, late in the evenings and early
                                 in the mornings) are required for parents who job share, work part-time or who commute to larger towns and
                                 cities such as Dublin for work
        Preferential Childcare   Purpose built, state-of –the-art crèche
        Situation if Money not   Outdoor play area is of huge importance
        an Object
        Rural Childcare          After-school clubs would be beneficial in rural areas-would create a sense of community and reduce the
                                 amount of travel required by parents between work and childcare locations
        Affordability            One-off child payment made no difference to expensive childcare fees
                                 Difficult to pay for childcare, particularly if more than one child is enrolled in childcare at the same time
                                 Not enough affordable childcare places available in the county
        Support                  Tax write-offs against fees would be advantageous for parents who use quality notified childcare services
                                 Courses dealing with topics such as parenting, special needs, baby yoga, baby massage and nutrition would
                                 be welcome
        Parent and Toddler       Group Insurance and group rates are needed
        Network                  One day seminars targeted at the network would be welcome




                                                                                                                                      41
6.2.7      Childminders




        Consultation             Details
        Issue
        Publicity                A much bigger input needed. Would like to see a National Campaign and a focus on increasing the professional
                                 profile of Childminders
                                 Website with information section on Childminding separate from other options
                                 Advertisement of training attained by Westmeath childminders
                                 Public Health Nurse and G.P‟s could provide information on Childminding
                                 Eu Mom baby bags could be a means of distributing information on Childminding

        Childminding             An open meeting for parents with regard to options for childcare.
        presented as an option
        Training Accessibility   On-line application for training events on WCCC Childminder website would be welcome
                                 Text reminders about events to all childminders
        Mentor System            Established Childminders could act as a mentor for potential or new childminders

        Childminders‟ Network    Build on the established network to develop and expand its reach
        Tax Breaks               An increase in tax breaks and incentives for childminders is needed
        Reductions and Group     A group scheme discount for Belvedere would be welcomed by childminders
                                                                                  st    nd
        schemes                  Free accountant mentoring for a childminders 1 and 2 visit

        Individual               Creation of a Childminding Advisory Officer position for Westmeath that does not also cater for Longford
        Childminding Advisory
        Officer for Westmeath
        Athlone Childminding     This initiative could be further extended to work with the Refugee Centre at Lisswollen in Athlone or to set up rural
        Initiative               Childminding initiatives.




                                                                                                                                          42
6.3     Future Service-Type Needs and Priority Responses

Certain local needs can be defined in terms of gaps in service-type provision.

6.3.1 Service Type Gaps
Special Needs Childcare
Special needs childcare needs to be increased in terms of range and level in Westmeath. A
recent report from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) says 190,303 children in
Ireland have special educational needs, equivalent to almost one child in five. Services that
provide for children with special needs should have access to trained staff and grant aid and in
case where this is not possible, the children should be alternatively accommodated. Parents who
have children with special needs require a conclusive source of information on their entitlements.
Response:
Special needs training should be made available to increased numbers of childcare workers and
funding for special needs childcare places should be resourced from multiple sources. A panel of
specially resourced special needs pre school assistants should be set up to help parents find
places and also to resource childcare providers to train and support their staff.

School-Aged Childcare
WCCC published a manual on School-Aged childcare as a response to a need recognised by the
WCCC development worker with regard to the resources in the area. The SAC FETAC modules
which will provide training to childcare workers in the centre should be delivered locally.
Response:
WCCC supports ACT in their plans to development and expand the range and level of their
Afterschools services. WCCC also commits to supporting and facilitating the rolling out of After-
school services through prioritisation of capital grant and staffing applications where need has
been determined. The development worker will also commit to strengthening of the After Schools
network which consist of workers from Afterschools services in Athlone. Liaison should also
occur with schools, pre-schools and planners and community groups to facilitate the development
of after-school facilities close to related services such as pre-schools, primary schools and
community resource centres.
WCCC will work with Westmeath VEC to deliver FETAC SAC modules.

Flexible, part-time places
From consultation with parents and providers, it transpires that they identify a shortage of part-
time, flexible childcare places as being problematic. From a parent‟s point of view these places
are required early in the morning and late in the evening and are not always necessarily required
on a five-day per week basis. Labour patterns have resulted in a move away from nine to five
jobs and job-sharing has increased the likelihood of parents working only a few days per week,
particularly in the case of mothers (see section5).Many parents commute long distances to work
as Mullingar joins the Dublin commuter-belt and many parents are at the mercy of train/bus
timetables and traffic flow when it comes to
establishing drop-off and collection times for their children. For providers, it is not sustainable to
offer part-time, flexible places only as high running costs and the cost of providing Quality,
regulation-compliant childcare requires a high capacity of children who often cover the cost of
provision by paying fees on a full-time basis.

Response:
Childcare still needs to the requirements of these families and in the future WCCC recommends
a move towards flexible, part-time childcare to cater for these parents and to ensure that local
childcare continues to evolve to meet the demands that labour force changes are bringing about.
This may be aided through the approval of increased grant aid for part-time places and through


                                                                                                   43
offering incentives to facilities that adopt flexible opening hours. Increased part-time staffing
grants may alleviate the financial pressure on providers, as might a waiving of rates and charges
payable to the County Council. Increasing paid maternity leave to cover the first year would
further take away the pressures on parents.




Increased places for those in the 3-4 age pre-school year
International best practice shows that children benefit from attending a pre-school programme for
at least one year (Schweinhart, 2005) before entering formal schooling. This is also particularly
true if the child is at risk in economic or social terms. An identified need to increase the number of
childcare places for this age group has been identified by the WCCC, in consideration of the
projected rise in the number of children of that age group in the range of 4 per cent by 2016. The
National Childcare Census for County Westmeath predicted a steady rise in the number of
required childcare places for 3-4 year olds, with the number of places required by 2011 standing
around the 1,300 mark alone.
Response:
Encourage all new services that are looking fro NCIP funding to look at the number of places that
they provide for the 3-4 year age group.

New Pre-school Regulations

The new regulations have set down changes across many areas that childcare providers have
had to familiarise themselves with and adopt in a relatively short period of time and without a
huge degree of supervision or guidance. There exists a need to work hand in hand with providers
with regard to the new regulations to ensure optimal compliance and smooth running of services
in the interim. Childcare providers also report a considerable degree of cost related to
compliance with the regulations

Response:
WCCC will liaise with the HSE and notified providers to identify difficulties providers are
experiencing in relation to the regulations and to facilitate the smooth adoption of any changes
that may be necessary. Work with the HSE to provide information session. Any services that will
need substantial adaptation to be supported to apply for NCIP funding.


6.4    Community Childcare Provision

Within many local communities, there is a need for a mixed type of community childcare service
that provides full day care, sessional and school-aged childcare such as a homework club. In
areas where many families in meet Department of Family and Social Welfare and Westmeath
County Council criteria for disadvantaged status, childcare that is accessible and affordable is a
necessity. Current community childcare provision stands at nineteen facilities, which are vastly
outnumbered by private providers. In addition to being an impetus for lone parents or unemployed
parents to rejoin the workplace, childcare services can help to combat early school leaving and
promote child development and education for any attending child. Participation in after-school
programmes would be likely to reduce the tendency towards anti-social behaviour on the part of
older children and teenagers that has been an issue in the area in the past. Accessible childcare
has also been found to be an incentive for those participating in adult education or training
courses.




                                                                                                   44
6.4.1   Community Childcare in Mullingar and its environs


Dalton Park Community Childcare
Dalton Park is a Local Authority Housing Estate comprising 196 houses located on the east side
of Mullingar town in County Westmeath. In addition, the area is adjoined by the Ginnell,
Springfield and Assumption estates, comprising 101, 50 and 24 former Local Authority houses
respectively. Westmeath County Council has been awarded a €40,000 Sports Grant to develop
community sports facilities on the Dalton Park estate. In the interest of coherent planning and
development, the Council has decided to fast-track plans for a Community Resource Centre on
the estate, and has asked the Dalton Park Community Childcare Centre to be part of an
integrated purpose community facility on the Dalton Park estate. With the opportunities presented
by EOCP/NCIP funding, and a demonstrable need for quality, affordable and flexible childcare
places in the locality, a Community Childcare Centre will provide a truly integrated, affordable and
flexible quality childcare service to a socially and economically diverse population on the rapidly
expanding east side of Mullingar.
Response:
WCCC is committed to carrying out pre-development work, training and planning with the
community groups at Dalton Park and to facilitate the identification of needs and resources. This
will build on the expansion of the Management committee and the support already provided which
culminated in submission of a grant application to Pobal for €1.4million capital funding. WCCC
propose to support this service to build and open its service in the future. WCCC will work with
Westmeath VEC to train staff for this new service.

 Grange Community Childcare
Local authority housing was built at Grange in the period from 1982 to 1997, which comprises
177 houses. The area is characterised by a high level of Local Authority Housing (143 houses).
Latest census figures indicate that the Mullingar Rural DED, in which Grange is located, contains
a substantial number of local authority rented houses compared to other Westmeath DEDs. It is
important to note that the presence of Local Authority housing in any location has been shown to
closely correlate with the concentration of poverty. In 2004, a scheme of 117 units was completed
in Raithin (which backs on to Grange) and this consisted of 70 social units and 47 affordable
units. It is currently proposed to construct a second phase of housing at Raithin consisting of 55
social units and 26 affordable units. Within the local community in Grange, there was a general
perceived need for a mixed type of community childcare service that provides full day care,
sessional and school-aged childcare such as a homework club. In addition to being an impetus
for lone parents or unemployed parents to rejoin the workplace, such a service would combat
early school leaving and promote child development and education for any attending child.
Response:
WCCC is committed to ensuring that Grange will secure appropriate funding to reopen the
Community childcare facility that closed in 2005. It is proposed that the service will initially
operate on a part-time, sessional basis and the aim is to develop the service to a full-time
capacity service over the period 2007-2010.

 Ennell Court:
Ennell community pre-school currently provides two sessional pre-school services a day in a
renovated house in Ennell Court.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee commits to continue supporting this Committee with
capacity building, training and information. We also commit to supporting them with additional
capital and staffing funding over the period 2006-2010.

 Women’s Community Projects
WCP Childcare Service, Mullingar is a purpose built childcare facility having received funding
under the EOCP Childcare Programme 2000-2006.


                                                                                                 45
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee are committed to continuing providing support to this
group around the staffing grant aid over the period 2007-2010 and any additional supports this
group might need with training or information.


 Kilbeggan
Kilbeggan Community Playschool ceased in June 2006 having provided a quality, age
appropriate, child centred, affordable pre-school service for 22 years.
Being the only Community pre-school within a 16 mile radius this playschool has prepared pre-
school children for Kilbeggan, Tyrrellspass, Rochfortbridge, Ballinagore and Castletown
Geoghegan Primary Schools.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee continues to support this Committee with capacity
building, training, information and securing appropriate additional funding under the NCIP
Childcare Programme 2006-2010 to re-open this community childcare facility.

 Kinnegad:
Cairdeas Childcare Service, Kinnegad is a purpose built childcare facility having received funding
under the EOCP Childcare Programme 2000-2006.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee are committed to continuing providing support to this
group around the staffing grant aid over the period 2007-2010 and any additional supports this
group might need with training or information.

 Killucan
K.I.D.S. Childcare Service, Killucan received funding under the EOCP Childcare Programme
2000-2006 for their proposed purpose built childcare facility.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee is committed to supporting this childcare project with
training, information and additional staffing grant aid over the period 2007-2010.

 Ballymore:
Ballymore pre-school currently provides a sessional pre-school service 5 mornings a week in the
local Community Hall in Ballymore.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee commit to supporting this group around Capital and
Staffing grant aid under the new childcare programme to expand and provide a full day childcare
facility. We are also committed to providing any additional supports this group might need with
training, information or capacity building for the committee.

 Rathowen:
Rathowen pre-school currently operates at the Community Centre, Rathowen providing a
sessional pre-school service and a SAC service.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee commits to continue to work with this group around
capital and staffing grant aid to expand and provide an all day childcare facility in Rathowen.
We also commit to providing any additional supports this group might need with training,
information or capacity building for the committee.

 Multyfarnham:
Multyfarnham Community Pre-school currently provides one pre-school session 5 days a week.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee commit to supporting this group around training,
information and capacity building for the committee




                                                                                               46
 Delvin Community Childcare
Delvin is a rural village in North Westmeath that has seen an increase in population from 2002 to
in 2006 (+34 per cent, Preliminary Census Report, CSO, 2006). Housing has also been
increased in the area with new housing estates being built in the last number of years. As a result
of the housing increase and allied increase in the population of Delvin, a decision was made to
apply for grant funding to support the opening of a community childcare facility in the locality. Pre-
development work took place with the Management Community of Delvin Community Childcare in
relation to capacity building for the committee, support for planning and building proposals and
information dissemination on the NCIP.
Response:
WCCC commits to further building the capacity of the Management Committee and to support
them in applying for capital and staffing grant aid over the period 2007-2010.


 Ballynacargy
Ballynacargy Childcare Service, is a recently renovated childcare facility having received funding
under the EOCP Childcare Programme 2000-2006.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee are committed to continuing providing support to this
group around the staffing grant aid over the period 2007-2010 and any additional supports this
group might need with training or information.


 Empor
Empor SAC is a purpose built SAC facility having received funding under the EOCP Childcare
Programme 2000-2006.
Response:
Westmeath County Childcare Committee are committed to continuing providing support to this
group around the staffing grant aid over the period 2007-2010 and any additional supports this
group might need with training or information. We will also facility this group to set up a Parent
and Toddler group for the community.




                                                                                                   47
6.4.2   Athlone Community Childcare Profile

 Clonbrusk Community Childcare
Ashdale and Woodland Grove are two local authority housing estates located on the northern
periphery of Athlone town centre. Ashdale was completed in 1997 and consists of 50 houses,
while Woodland Grove was completed in 2000 and consists of 30 houses. Westmeath County
Council and Athlone Town Council own approximately 2 acres where they propose to construct a
Community Facility after a need for Quality childcare was identified. Clonbrusk is located in the
Athlone East Urban DED, whose population has remained relatively unchanged from 2002 to
2006. In 2006, the estimated population of the area around Clonbrusk was approximately
300(Westmeath County Council Housing Office, 2006).
Response:
The development at Clonbrusk has been granted 1.4 million EOCP (now NCIP) funding to date.
WCCC aims to support the group to draw down the grant as appropriate in order to develop their
service from 2007 to 2010.

 Sarsfield Square
Sarsfield Square is a local authority housing estates located on the north eastern periphery of
Athlone town centre. Sarsfield Square consists of 135 houses, 119 of which are now privately
owned. The established profile of the Sarsfield Square development means that most residents
have been living in the area for thirty or forty years, a span of time that has enabled residents to
purchase their homes from the local authority. The development of both a pre-school and after-
school service at Sarsfield Square Community Centre has been long-mooted and called for by
community groups and local residents. Grant funding would allow for the equipping and fitting out
of Sarsfield Square Community Centre to HSE standards for childcare use.
Response:
The WCCC development worker undertakes to build capacity with the committee and continue
the application process to secure sufficient funding for the conversion of the existing Community
facility for childcare purposes. This will be done by using funding received by HSE. Should the
Committee which to further expand the service a detailed feasibility study would be essential

   Battery Heights
Battery Heights is a local authority housing development that is located in close proximity to the
Royal Canal in Athlone town. In response to environmental problems such as houses being in
disrepair and anti-social behaviour problems in secluded alleys, the Battery Heights Action Group
have campaigned for a total regeneration of the area. Their aim was to improve the quality of the
environment by refurbishing existing houses, selective demolition, blocking up back lanes,
reversing houses and constructing new houses. They planned to refurbish 10 houses, reverse 22
houses, extend 9 houses and demolish 2.
ACT set up a women‟s group in Battery Heights and noticed a distinct need for childcare when
the attendees had to bring their children along to meetings. While ACT established a childcare
service for the women‟s group, a dedicated, purpose built childcare facility for all the residents of
Battery Heights would be a long-term solution to childcare need in the area. The pre-school that
is located at the Dean Kelly School was asked to leave due to the space requirements of the
school and the After-schools service, which caters for 86 children, spends 3 days at one location
and 2 days at another location due to pressure for space. A clear need for a dedicated purpose-
built pre-school and After-school facility has been identified by all community groups working in
Battery Heights.
Response:
As a general regeneration of Battery Heights has been in the works for some time, WCCC
supports the plan to include a childcare facility in the regeneration scheme of the area. This
service will update the current facility.




                                                                                                  48
   St. Mel’s Terrace:
St Mel‟s Terrace comprises a total of 31 houses, seven of which are currently empty. Two houses
are knocked into one structure and house one family. Eleven of these households pay rent to the
council; one is a private rented house while the remaining households are in the process of or
have bought their houses from the council. A Community Audit conducted in conjunction with the
RAPID programme, reflected a number of issues that residents identified are intrinsic to St. Mel‟s
Terrace. A significant proportion of the population feel that the terrace has been neglected and
that it is uninhabitable and a dangerous place to live. Parents do not feel that their children have a
safe place to play and many parents would be interested in taking up adult education and training
opportunities if childcare was provided locally. Addiction problems, particularly amongst women
have been identified as being problematic for the area and thus create allied childcare needs in
terms of providing support for women who are attempting to give up drug-use. Youth-based
facilities targeted at the ten to eighteen year old age group were also identified as being a distinct
local need. Plans are under way to regenerate the whole St. Mel‟s Terrace area.
Response:
To work with the community workers in Athlone and taking into account all proposed new
childcare developments to undertake a detailed feasibility study of the services and the proposed
management structure along with the sustainability of existing services would have to be
undertaken.

 Blackberry Lane:
Approximately 29 Traveller families live at the halting site at Blackberry Lane, 18 of which live in
bays, five in houses and the others in an unofficial capacity in trailers at the back of another
residents‟ bay. Other traveller families live off site but have strong links to the Blackberry Lane
site and spend a significant amount of time at the site. Issues in Blackberry Lane do not
specifically centre on service provision as there is a Traveller pre-school on-site and an After-
schools service to cater for the young people of Blackberry Lane. Community groups who work
with the Travelling Community at Blackberry Lane identify the greatest need as being the difficulty
in engaging with and maintaining engagement with local families. The education of Traveller
children is best achieved through a holistic approach involving capacity building with the
children‟s parents and general community. However, such an approach is labour and time-
intensive and therefore puts a strain of childcare staff and development workers. Community
groups advocate the funding of a Childcare Manager at Blackberry Lane to assist in the co-
ordination of services, work directly with Traveller families and children and also to promote a
scheme of in-service training for staff on subjects related to Traveller culture.
Response:
In order to continue to promote childcare and education for Traveller children, the WCCC will
support staffing initiatives at the Blackberry Lane site in order to ensure that staff are facilitated in
adopting the intensive, holistic approach to Traveller education that community groups identify as
being crucial to the continuing success of the pre-school and After-school services in the area.
WCCC will work under guidance from Harmony CDP.




                                                                                                      49
 Brawney
Brawney is a relatively new development of houses, apartments and duplexes close to the
Regional Sports centre in Athlone, which has a mix of Social and Affordable and private housing.
Currently, there are 160 houses on site and a community centre. The population profile of the
area consists in the main of young families with childcare needs. A second phase public tender
for the construction of 101 houses at Brawney has been issued with a view to completion over a
two year period. In addition to the building of houses, the tender makes provision for the
construction of ancillary services, which will include a Community Resource centre. Given the
number of houses proposed on site and the fact that the housing will be local authority in nature,
there exists an identified need to provide a community childcare facility for current and future
residents of Brawny. The local residents group has been in consultation with community groups
with regard to the planning of a childcare facility for the Community resource centre. Current
provision consists of a playgroup 3 mornings per week, which was set up by Harmony
Community Development in response to identified need. However, future provision needs to be
full-time and within a purpose-built facility.
Response:
WCCC will work with Harmony Community Development and the Brawney residents group to
secure capital and staffing grants for the construction of dedicated childcare facility in Brawney,
which will provide both pre-school and after-schools childcare on a small scale, affordable basis.


 Willowpark
Willowpark is a large housing development opposite Athlone Institute of Technology that consists
of a mix of local authority and private rented houses. Many of the houses have fallen into
disrepair and community groups identify the dynamics of the area as being problematic due to a
mix of social problems such as crime, anti-social behaviour and high levels of unemployment.
Although, there are vacant houses in Willowpark that might accommodate a childcare facility,
such a venture would require a multi-agency approach or the development of a Taskforce in order
to ensure that appropriate supports were in place before children and families could utilise such a
facility.
Response:
A possible solution to the childcare problem in Willowpark could be the resourcing of a joint
community childcare venture between Athlone Institute of Technology and the Willowpark
residents. Location of a community childcare service on the site at AIT would mean that the
resources to support and facilitate the development of a childcare facility would already be in
place, whereas a similar facility at Willowpark would require a substantial amount of pre-
development work to ensure that the facility was a safe environment for childcare. Furthermore
this would enhance the capacity of AIT in relation to its childcare courses.
Any proposed new facility would have to prove that is would not displace any pre existing
services that are located in the near vicinity .




                                                                                                50
6.5      Geographical Gaps in Service Provision and Priority Responses
Need to monitor areas for sustainability issues
While an increase in the size of towns and villages is noted, careful monitoring of existing, unsold
purpose built facilities must also occur. In certain areas, private childcare places may be at
saturation. In Moate, there are 3 existing services and two services that remain unopened. Also in
areas such as Kinnegad, childcare facilities are being built in line with the 1-per-75 houses
guideline without taking into account the spare capacity of other services in the area.
Response:
Extensive monitoring of childcare facilities and promotion of NCIP grant aid in areas that have
identified as having discrete childcare need rather than in areas that have been identified as
being at risk of saturation due to unfilled capacity. To work with private providers who are
developing services in new estates to ensure, where possible, that no duplication of private
services takes place.

Need for Childcare in Dispersed, Rural Areas
In rural areas such as North Westmeath childcare provision is low (see Map 2). As the population
is dispersed in many rural areas, the need for childcare may not be best filled by a purpose-built
childcare facility. The issue of transport can tend to be prohibitive for rural families as long
journeys to a stand-alone facility can prove time-consuming and unfeasible. Furthermore, if
parents work in larger towns, they may choose to opt for childcare near their work as opposed to
in the locality due to added journey times.
Response:
WCCC advocate the adoption of a flexible rural childminding strategy. Childcare needs can be
met by a network of rural childminders, which also links in to the Committee‟s Childminding
Strategy commitment to increase the level and range of childminders across the county. Children
can be cared for close to their home and parents need not spend large amounts of time travelling
to and from childcare facilities.

6.6 Need to promote Quality Initiatives- SIOLTA
Westmeath County Childcare Committee has noted the keen interest expressed by a number of
services to take part in various quality programmes. Feedback from these programmes is very
positive yet childcare providers are incurring substantial costs to improve their services.

Response:

The government should make concessions for all services that meet agreed quality standards this
can be by way of grant aid for equipment or training. Training for all quality programmes form
both the County Childcare Committee and the NVCO‟s should be free of charge for all those
complete quality awards successfully.




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7       OBJECTIVE SETTING

The strategy aims to continue to aid and develop childcare in the county through the setting of a
number of objectives, which relate to diverse areas.
7.1     Strategic Objectives

Objective 1
     Maintain and build the local capacity to establish and sustain childcare
        places/services across all categories of childcare providers/services.

       Finalise mapping next year when requisite data is available from the 2006 Census.

       Update this mapping exercise annually in order that current information is available to
        inform discussions by the Committee. It is important to have objective and reliable
        information on local need, current and projected, uptake of places in existing facilities etc.
        in order to make informed decisions about what new services need to be established.

       Generate and agree objective criteria in the abstract that can then be applied to decisions
        regarding particular proposals.

       Consider how best to meet the needs of children with special needs including those with
        disabilities, Travellers and other ethnic minorities.

       Directory of services for children with special needs to be updated.

       Continue to inform new and existing providers of relevant regulations and directives. The
        new directive on food hygiene is more inclusive and will refer to facilities providing snacks
        as well as those providing hot meals (e.g. those offering sessional care); and the
        forthcoming revised childcare regulations.

       Write the county council indicating the Committee‟s interpretation that rates do not apply
        to childcare facilities as they are providing early education and therefore it is understood
        that they are exempt. (Ensure the position is clarified for the linger-term i.e. post election.

       Further explore ways of providing childcare in rural areas with dispersed populations e.g.
        north Westmeath and Loughnavalley/Milltown/Rathconrath. Encouraging mobile services
        will be considered.

       Consider extending Childminding model already established to north Westmeath.

       Areas of new development also need to be targeted e.g. Delvin/Castlepollard and parts of
        Athlone (Brawney amongst others).

Objective 2
      Develop and promote quality standards and targets for childcare in the county.
The strategy aims to support the development of quality, child-centred, accessible childcare
services by:

       Raising the level of awareness and knowledge of quality and best practice among:
       Childcare Committee Members, Childcare Providers, planners and developers and
        Parents



                                                                                                    52
       Identifying the training needs of childcare providers and staff;
       Promoting commitment to delivery of childcare services that are accessible to all children,
        irrespective of their physical, intellectual ethnic or cultural background.
     Continue the good work of the Quality sub-committee which is established and working
        well.
    Targets include:
              Getting information on the National Quality Framework to 100% of providers;
              Disseminate information for the CEDCE to all providers;
              Continue to work with groups to improve quality.

Objective 3
      Promote initiatives that enhance the level of appropriate service provision that
          targets disadvantage and social inclusion.
Identify and engage with the main players developing childcare and other relevant services in the
county, in order to:

       Establish the range and scope of existing services in the county
       Identify and address gaps
       Co-ordinate the delivery of existing childcare developments
       Integrate the development of childcare services with urban and rural regeneration,
        recreation, community and economic development, education support and social
        inclusion programmes in the county
       The development of sustainable childcare services that do not cause displacement of
        existing services.
       Develop services that meet the needs of those most disadvantaged groups within
        society.



Objective 4
     Enhance and develop co-ordination at all levels.

       Continue and improve good work on co-ordination with all statutory, voluntary and
        community, private sector representatives.

       Focus on developing/participating in a co-ordinated effort concerning children with special
        needs including those with disabilities and those from ethnic minority backgrounds
        including travellers.

       Be actively involved in the County Development Board which is looking after the Social
        Inclusion Measures and will be gathering information on local needs. Ensure that
        childcare is a priority topic.

       on a co-ordianted approach to avoid duplication.

Objective 5
     Establish, develop and maintain a relevant support strategy for childcare
        providers and at local level.

       Provider all new and existing Providers with access to information on the NCIP grant
        process.

       Provide capacity building and pre /post development support.




                                                                                                53
       Ensure all providers applying for funding are aware of the Strategic Plan and any
        updated research on the Childcare Census identifying key priority areas/




Objective 6
     Through the County Childcare Committee role in the NCIP application process,
        establish a strategic and proactive approach to be taken to childcare development
        at county level.

       Continue efforts to raise awareness including through working with the media.

       Launch the National Childcare Investment Programme

       Follow the recommendations of the needs analysis in the key priority areas for childcare
        development.

Objective 7
     Identify and promote initiatives targeted at the development and support of
        School-Age childcare in the county.

       Support the Development Workers to undertake work in this area. Needs analysis has
        included 7 schools with 6 others indicating an interest. One application has gone forward.
        This process needs to be followed up on and contact made with interested
        services/schools.

       Provide information and training supports to SAC services.

       New services to be developed to have early education focus and where possible to be
        part of integrated childcare service provision.



Objective 8
 Identify, promote and improve the supply of early childhood care an education
   services for 3-4 year olds.

       Prioritise sessions for 3-4 year olds.

       Target populations who do not have access to preschool e.g. travellers, children with
        special needs – depending on where they live, dispersed populations in rural areas who
        cannot get to preschool without having two cars per family. Mobile services could be an
        option to be explored.




                                                                                               54
Objective 9
 Promote initiatives targeted at the support and inclusion of childminders – including
   the development of voluntary notification with the local HSE
    The Childminding Working group aims to continue and build on existing work aimed at
       raising the profile of childminders and ensuring that childminders remain an accessible
       option for parents who prefer home-based services, especially where parents are
       accessing childcare supports to enable them to participate in education, training and
       employment

      Look at the opportunity of working with Athlone Childminding Initiative as appropriate,
       under the WCCC to further develop childminding in County Westmeath

      Continue to target RAPID areas and rural areas

      Double the number of voluntary notified childminders in County Westmeath

Objective 10
Enhance childcare networks appropriate to the range of childcare providers and workers
in the county. Develop Parents Networks that will feed into the CCC and into the Childcare
Networks.

      It is hoped that the strategy will further the development of the National Childcare
       Investment Programme through liaison with providers, parents and stakeholders, in a
       way that supports the existing informal networks in towns and villages. This will allow:

           o  Proactive identification and addressing of needs for training, mentoring and
              development
          o Exchange of information between parents, providers and the Childcare
              Committee
          o A voice for childcare providers and for parents
          o Facilitating people with common interests to network has proven to be particularly
              popular.
          o The Community Childcare Network works well and the childminding network‟s
              model is a very good example of best practice.
          o Private providers seem to prefer locally organised nights. Information evenings
              on topics that bring a cross-section of interests together e.g. Special Needs talk
              by local Special School Principal, Bob Keating in Mullingar.
      Continue offering training to workers.

      Explore ways in which training can be offered during work hours.

      Adopt clear policy of promoting equitable pay and conditions.

      Raise this issue and its implications in the context of supporting employers at national
       level.

      Support increased involvement of men in childcare as workers, e.g. profile men already
       involved, facilitate male childcare workers to network, encourage voluntary involvement
       of men.




                                                                                             55
Objective 11
Identify training needs, developing a relevant strategy in consultation and collaboration
with relevant training bodies/agencies.
WCCC aims to support and develop training in the county to develop a pool of qualified Childcare
trainers, who can, in turn train childcare workers. Training will be provided in conjunction with
partner agencies, with an overall aim of up-skilling the childcare workforce in Westmeath over the
course of the strategy.

       Continue role of co-ordinating and informing regarding how best to meet training needs
        stepping back from delivery except where gaps need to be filled.

       Provide comprehensive list of training available for September of each year.

       Circulate document stating that all childcare trainers should have related background in
        childcare.


Objective 12
Develop and improve information sharing and learning systems
The PR/Information strategy of the WCC is two-pronged. Firstly information is disseminated
through the individual website and secondly, the local media is utilised. The strategy aims to
develop and maintain mechanisms for delivering and exchanging targeted, relevant information to
parents, development and support organisations, information providers and the public.

       Convene meeting of those providing information and training with a view to getting an
        improved match between training and needs.
       Use WCCC meetings share information on specific relevant issues by dedicating a time
        for information-sharing.

Objective 13
Attract resources from local, regional and national sources to implement/supplement
specific initiatives.

       Develop initiatives to equip parents with knowledge in order that they can judge quality
        for themselves and their children.

       Continue „ground-up‟ approach by running focus groups of providers on a yearly basis

       Commission research on effects on children of current method of routing funds (see Item
        2 above)

       Ensure that Westmeath County Childcare Committee has sufficient staff and resources to
        deliver Westmeath County Childcare Plan.




                                                                                               56
Strategic Objective 1: Maintain and build the local capacity to establish and sustain childcare places/services across all categories of
        childcare     providers/services

                Goals                                           Objectives                                              Key Target Area
1 WCCC will utilise all available        Finalise mapping next year when requisite data is available       Co-ordination of National and local Statistics
  statistics and information to create   from the 2006 Census
  an accurate picture of local           Update this mapping exercise annually in order that current
  childcare and in order to plan for     information is available to inform discussions by the
  the sustainable future of local
  childcare                              Committee.
                                         It is important to have objective and reliable information on
                                         local need, current and projected, uptake of places in
                                         existing facilities etc. in order to make informed decisions
                                         about what new services need to be established.
2 Westmeath Childcare Committee          Generate and agree objective criteria in the abstract that can    Continuing Development of Westmeath
  members will be proactive in co-       then be applied to decisions regarding particular proposals.      County Childcare Committee
  ordinating childcare development                                                                         Quarterly reviews of work done
  within the County and nationally.      Generate and agree objective criteria in the abstract that can    Annual Review of Programme of Activities
                                         then be applied to decisions regarding particular proposals.      Implement the Performance Monitoring
                                         To provide training and development days for Westmeath            Procedure
                                         County Childcare Committee members
                                         To carry out regular reviews of work being done
                                         To review the Programme of Activities annually, and
                                         reshape or redesign activities where indicated by local or
                                         national findings

3 Childcare provision developed          To mainstream support for children with special needs             Information and training for childcare staff on
  under the County Childcare Plan        Consider how best to meet the needs of children with special      supporting children with special needs,
  will focus on the needs of all the                                                                       including children from minority backgrounds
  community‟s children                   needs including those with disabilities, Travellers and other     Links with Disability, Minority and National
                                         ethnic minorities.                                                Voluntary childcare organizations
                                         Directory of services for children with special needs to be       Complete resource lists that would support
                                                                                                           childcare services.
                                         updated.                                                          Set up a project that would provide expertise
                                         To integrate children from minority groups: travellers, non-      in the area of special needs to both parents
                                         nationals and refugees                                            that are looking for pre school places and for
                                                                                                           the services providers that are taking in these
                                                                                                           children.

4 Childcare providers and workers        To inform new and existing providers of relevant regulations      Revised Regulations
  will be provided with any relevant     and directives. The new directive on food hygiene is more         Networking with Providers
  information to help them in the day                                                                      Information Sessions on new Childcare Policy
  to day running of their service, as    inclusive and will refer to facilities providing snacks as well
  soon as iris available to the WCCC     as those providing hot meals (e.g. those offering sessional
                                         care); and the forthcoming revised childcare regulations.




                                                                                                                                                    57
Strategic Objective 1: Maintain and build the local capacity to establish and sustain childcare places/services across all categories of
        childcare     providers/services

                 Goals                                          Objectives                                          Key Target Area
5 WCCC will work with the County         Work with Westmeath County council to wave rates on            Childcare Providers
  Council in order to ensure better      childcare services.
  services and facilities for children
                                         Work with Westmeath County Council on the County
                                         Development Plan. Take an active role in all village and
                                         town plans in relation to childcare facilities.



6 Childcare to be prioritized in areas   Work with potential new providers to establish childcare       Childcare Providers- Parents in Rural areas.
  of dispersed population such as        services in these areas.
  North Westmeath , Loughnavalley ,
  Rathconrath ect
7 The Childminding model be              Work in areas of displaced rural populations or key areas of   Athlone
  expanded throughout the county         need like Lissywollen Refugee Centre                           Rural Areas of Westmeath

8




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Strategic Objective 2: Development and promotion of Quality standards and targets for childcare in the county
                 Goals                                             Objectives                                                 Key Target Area
Childcare providers will receive all
1                                            To disseminate information from organizations such as           Childcare providers and Childcare Workers will be
relevant information as efficiently as       the CECDE to providers                                          offered training and information on the SIOLTA.
possible. Information on Quality issues      To achieve this through meetings, mailings, newsletters,
will be disseminated to childcare            advertisements and information evenings
providers
Stakeholder groups will have access to
2                                            To build on and improve existing level of work being            Quality working Group
and into the continued development of        conducted with groups with a view to improving quality
standards and quality                        Dissemination of information on the national Quality
                                             framework
Quality will underpin all actions that are
3                                            All staff will ensure that all actions have a direct focus on   Quality Proofing of Actions
contained in the yearly action plan          quality throughout the plan




                                                                                                                                                     59
  Strategic Objective 3: Promote initiatives that enhance the level of appropriate service provision to target disadvantage and social inclusion

                  Goals                                                Objectives                                             Key Target Area

1 WCCC will promote social inclusion           To develop and participate in a co-ordinated effort to provide   Develop integrated childcare services in areas
  of all children in Westmeath                 for those with special needs or those from disadvantaged         designated as disadvantaged.
  irrespective of their background or          backgrounds or ethnic minorities                                 Be an active member of the SIM Working Group
  ability level, particularly in relation to   To liaise with trainers, stakeholders etc. to promote social     and the CDB.
  childcare                                    inclusion                                                        Promote childcare to the local County
                                               To continue the work on special needs being carried out by       Councillors by giving a yearly briefing session.
                                               the CCC
                                               To continue the work carried out in RAPID areas, which
                                               profiled childcare needs within disadvantaged communities
  Stakeholder groups will have                 To build on and improve existing level of work being             Quality working Group
  access to and into the continued             conducted with groups with a view to improving quality
  development of standards and                 Dissemination of information on the national Quality
  quality                                      framework




                                                                                                                                                       60
Strategic Objective 4: Enhance and develop co-ordination at all levels

                Goals                                              Objectives                                              Key Target Area
1 Working with other stakeholders to      To develop and participate in a co-ordinated effort to provide   Share information gathered from childcare
  further the cause of Social Inclusion   for those with special needs or those from disadvantaged         census with other agencies to enhance the
                                          backgrounds or ethnic minorities                                 provision of play and recreational facilities.
2 Develop Co-ordiantion and               To provide yearly facilitated sessions for board members so      Ensured enhanced co-ordiantion of childcare
  information sharing at Bard Level       they can feed back to the representative organizations.          services.

3 Be an active member of the BMW          To provide information sharing on policy and training            Attend BMW Co-ordinators Bi Monthly meeting
  Co-coordinators network

4 Feed into the National Co-              Feed local issues from Childcare Providers in the county into    The NCCC is an agenda item on the
  ordinating Childcare Committee          the BMW Representative of the NCCC.                              Management Committee and is an opportunity
                                                                                                           of WCCC to feed in local childcare issues.




                                                                                                                                                61
Strategic Objective 5: Establish, develop and maintain a relevant support strategy for childcare providers at local level
                Goals                                             Objectives                                             Key Target Area
1 Childcare providers will have          To stage information evenings on topics that bring a wide         Support Strategy
  access to local support, information   range of interests together                                       Locally based networking initiatives including
  and training which is also linked to   To ensure that locally based initiatives are available in order   Provider Networks, Parents Networks and SAC
  a country-wide network                 to facilitate as many childcare providers and workers as          Networks.
                                         possible




Strategic Objective 6: Develop the CCC role in the NCIP application process to establish a strategic and proactive approach to childcare
        development at county level
                Goals                                           Objectives                                               Key Target Area
1 Raised public awareness through        To use multiple media outlets in order to publicise the NCIP      Local media
  advertising and media initiatives                                                                        Mailing lists
                                                                                                           Newsletters
2 Successful launching and               To identify and deliver appropriate capacity-building and pre-    Capacity Building and Support for Childcare
  stewardship of the NCIP                development interventions in areas that are targeted for          Providers
                                         NCIP investment                                                   NCIP Co-ordination and pre-development
                                         To continue the cause of After-school and Childcare,              PESC sub-committee
                                         particularly in areas that have been profiled by the CCC as
                                         meriting community childcare



                                                                                                                                                62
Strategic Objective 7: Identify and promote initiatives targeted at the development and support of School-Age Childcare in the county
                Goals                                           Objectives                                            Key Target Area
1 An increase in providers offering     To identify and develop school-aged childcare in target       Liaison with interested schools
  School-Age childcare across the       areas                                                         RAPID areas
  county                                To provide support to those that have expressed an interest
                                        in establishing school-aged childcare already
2 Second develop worker to be           To further the cause of school-aged childcare in targeted     Promote Early Education framework and
  supported to undertake the            areas                                                         SIOLTA Frameworks. Ensure staff are trained
  development of school age             To ensure that such services have an early education focus    and supported in delivering these services.
  childcare                             by providing information or training on best practice
3 Ensure that FEATC accredited          To work with Westmeath VEC to ensure that FETAC               SAC Workers skilled to FEATC Level 5 in SAC
  training in SAC is available in the   Modules are delivered throughout the County
  County
4 An increase in SAC Tutors that are    To work with the NVCO‟s to up skill SAC Tutors to FETAC       Deliver a train the trainer in SAC Modules Level
  available throughout the County       Level 5                                                       5




Strategic Objective 8: Identify, promote and improve the supply of early childhood care and education services for 3-4 year olds
                Goals                                            Objectives                                         Key Target Area
1 An increase in providers offering     To identify suitable applications                             Sessional Childcare
  sessional care for 3-4 year olds      To prioritise sessions for 3-4 year olds

2 An increase in services for those     To target populations that are not currently being provided   Travellers
  who do not already have access to     for e.g. Travellers, dispersed populations in rural areas     Dispersed Rural Populations
  preschool for their 3-4 year olds     To explore the option of a mobile service




Strategic Objective 9: Promote initiatives targeted at the support and inclusion of childminders-including the development of voluntary
        notification with the HSE
                Goals                                            Objectives                                         Key Target Area
1 Continuation of the positive          To consider tanking in the support of Athlone Childminding    Athlone Childminding Initiative
  relationship between childminders,    Initiative as appropriate, under the WCCC                     RAPID areas
  the Childminding Advisory Officer     To develop childminding in RAPID areas and rural areas.       Childminding Network
  and the CCC


                                                                                                                                             63
2 Continuation of the Childminding        Training, Information and Networking supports to be offered      Yearly action plans to be developed to increase
  Supports                                through WCCC and CMO                                             the number of voluntary notified Childminders in
                                                                                                           the county
3 Continuation of the Childminding        Through the CCC administer these grants to new                   CCC and CMO to work with potential
  Development Grants                      Childminders in Westmeath                                        Childminders in Westmeath




Strategic Objective 10: Enhance childcare networks appropriate to the range of childcare providers and workers in the county
                Goals                                            Objectives                                                Key Target Area
1 Childcare workers will have access      To offer increased accredited training to childcare workers      Facilitate the employment of Childcare
  to appropriate conditions, pay and      To promote a clear policy of equitable pay and conditions        Development staff through increased training
  accredited training opportunities       To increase the professional profile of childcare workers        Pay Equity
                                                                                                           Linkage to national debate on Childcare workers
                                                                                                           and invites international comparisons

2 An increase in the number of men        To profile men already involved in childcare to act as an        Male network
  involved in childcare in the county     example for others considering entering the field                Volunteerism
                                          To facilitate male childcare workers in networking
                                          To encourage voluntary involvement of men




Strategic Objective 11: Identify training needs and develop a training strategy in consultation and collaboration with relevant training
        bodies/agencies
                 Goals                                              Objectives                                             Key Target Area
1 Childcare workers and providers         To assess training on a national and local basis and to          Facilitate the employment of qualified Childcare
  will have access to training in areas   provide for local childcare workers where gaps in training are   Development staff
  that have been identified both          identified                                                       To conduct bi yearly training needs analysis
  nationally and locally as being of      To offer different types of training to childcare workers        To put in place a support structure for Childcare
  significant importance for their        To promote a clear policy of equitable pay and conditions        Tutors in the county.
  professional development                To provide a comprehensive list of training available
                                          To circulate a document stating that all childcare trainers
                                          should have a related background in childcare
  Childcare Workers to have access        To promote AIT third level childcare management courses          Work with AIT to promote third level childcare
  to third level childcare courses        both on a full and part time basis.                              training.
                                                                                                           Promote the use APL in these courses.




                                                                                                                                                   64
Strategic Objective 12: Develop and improve information sharing and learning systems
                Goals                                          Objectives                                          Key Target Area
1 WCCC will operate via an open        To convene a meeting with those who provide information         Development of the organisational structure of
  channel of communication through     and sharing with a view to improving the match between          the WCCC
  which information is smoothly and    training and needs
  easily disseminated and shared       To use CCC meetings to share information on specific
                                       issues by allotting a dedicated period of time for information-
                                       sharing
  To provide information via the       To use the local papers and radio and our website to          To use local papers the local radio and the
  media                                promote the work of the CCC                                   website to promote the work of WCCC to
                                                                                                     parents and childcare providers/ potential
                                                                                                     providers and Childminders
  To provide a One Stop Shop for       To open a one stop shop to the public to access childcare     Parents and Childcare Providers will have
  information                          information.                                                  access to information




Strategic Objective 13: Attract resources from local, regional and national sources to implement/supplement specific initiatives
                  Goals                                         Objectives                                          Key Target Area
1 That parents will be equipped to     To develop initiatives for parents                            Quality
  judge and decide on issues of                                                                      Parental Involvement-parents groups
  Quality as it relates to their own                                                                 Síolta
  children
2 That the ground up approach          To run focus groups of providers on regular basis             Provider network
  continues to thrive i.e. providers
  concerns are considered when
  forming initiatives and making key
  decisions
3 That the CCC will obtain             To commission research on the effects of current method of    Funding
  information on the relationship      routing funds on the children involved                        Children‟s Development
  between funding, provision and
  children‟s development
  To access additional funding from    To use these resources to compliment the work of the          Children
  the HSE, FAS, and VEC‟s,             partner organization with WCCC in relation to childcare       Childcare Providers
  Westmeath County Council and                                                                       Parents
  other agencies.

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66
8       LINKAGES AND COLLABORATION


Linkage between Westmeath County Development Board Plan and County Childcare Plan
Westmeath County Council has established a Community and Enterprise office to support and
enable Westmeath County Development Board and Westmeath Community and Voluntary Forum
in carrying out their mission, and to lead the council‟s work in community and enterprise
development.

Westmeath County Development Board was established in March 2000. The Board brings
together representatives from local government, local development agencies, social partners
(including the community and voluntary sector) and state agencies active at local level. The
Board will prepare and implement a comprehensive strategy for the economic, social and cultural
development of County Westmeath. It also promotes and fosters the co-ordination and integration
of public service delivery at local level. The Board strives to work in a participative way, in
consultation with all relevant bodies and interests within the county. This includes linking with the
community and voluntary sector through the newly established Community and Voluntary Forum
at area and county level.

The purpose of the Community and Voluntary Forum is to facilitate the representation of and
participation by community and voluntary groups in matters relating to Westmeath County
Development Board and Westmeath County Council, and to enable the Community & Voluntary
Sector to fulfil its role as a Social Partner at local level. Other agencies represented on
Westmeath County Development Board are encouraged to work through the Community &
Voluntary Forum and to consult with them in matters relevant to their own area of interest or
responsibility. Some of the Strategic Concerns of the County Development Board include:
 Strengthening the identity of Westmeath as a County
 Developing a Multi-Cultural Society
 Ensuring Social Inclusion
 Creating a Sustainable Environment
 Addressing Transport and Access Issues
 Integrating Housing, Youth, Social and Community Development
 Creating a Vibrant Rural Development Process, and Agriculture Sector
 Developing the Non-Agricultural Economy

A representative of the CDB attends meeting of the WCCC .The representative has been active
in both the Management and Staffing and Finance working groups of WCCC and has ensured a
smooth communication system between the Westmeath County Council (WCBD) and the WCCC.
The Westmeath County Council (WCDB) has also collaborated with the WCCC on the Play Policy
for Westmeath, in addition to community childcare development at locations such as Brawney,
Dalton Park, Clonbrusk and Grange. A representative of WCCC also serves on the County
Development Board and SIM working group and is responsible for ensuring that the childcare
priority set down under the CDB strategy is promoted, supported and implemented as
appropriate. WCCC has collaborated with Westmeath County Council on the rolling out of the
Play policy, directed at ensuring child-centered play spaces such as playgrounds and sports
grounds are prioritised and planned for the county‟s children.



Westmeath‟s County Childcare Plan aims to implement practical supports, make intelligent use of
available resources, and adopt a clear-thinking approach to long term, sustainable, child-centred
services. Above all, the Plan aspires to develop childcare services that enshrine the National
Childcare Strategy principles, and address the needs and rights of children, equality of access
and participation, diversity, partnership and quality. Westmeath County Childcare Plan shares




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objectives with Westmeath County Development Board, and will be a partner in delivery of
County Development Board goals in these areas of strategic concern:

To Ensure Social Inclusion
Goal 1 All agencies in Westmeath will work together proactively, co-operating and sharing
        information to meet the goal of social inclusion
Goal 4 The Traveller Community in Westmeath will have access to high quality services and
        infrastructure and respect for their unique heritage and culture
Goal 5 Westmeath will provide support and services to assist lone parents in the county
Goal 6 People living with a disability will have equal opportunity to participate in social, cultural
        and economic activity in the County
Goal 7 Refugees and Asylum Seekers will be welcomed, supported and valued in the community
Goal 8 Disadvantage or experience of social exclusion in Westmeath due to poor or inadequate
        education will be eliminated
Goal 9 All people in Westmeath will have access to employment opportunities and support
        services
Goal 10 All people in Westmeath will have access to high quality childcare

To Integrate Housing, Youth, Social and Community Development
Goal 1 Westmeath will support, encourage and facilitate an integrated, co-operative and targeted
        Inter-Agency approach to Community Development, in consultation with the Community
        and Voluntary sector, while ensuring that people are empowered to access
        comprehensive and relevant information on all available supports and services
Goal 7 All new housing developments will incorporate provision of high quality social
        infrastructure
Goal 9 Westmeath will value and develop children and youth in the county

To Promote Health, Education and Safety
Goal 4 All children in Westmeath will leave school functionally literate and numerate

Westmeath County Council
While still maintaining its traditional role as a provider of essential local services, Westmeath
County Council has now been given a broader remit, including
    (a) to support community involvement with Local Authorities in a more participative local
        democracy and
    (b) to enhance the role of Elected Members.
The council consists of twenty-three members, directly elected by the system of proportional
representation by means of the single transferable vote. The functions of Westmeath County
Council are divided into reserved and executive functions. The elected members discharge the
reserved functions e.g. adoption of the annual estimates, the borrowing of money, the making of
the development plans etc.
The County Manager performs executive functions, which include employment of staff, property
management, planning decisions, and the day-to-day administration of the Council's business.

Westmeath County Council, like other Local Authorities, has gone through a period of substantial
change as provided for in Better Local Government and it now delivers its services on an area-
based system, under the guidance of the new Strategic Policy Committees and Corporate Policy
Group. The management structure has been strengthened with the provision of five Directors of
Services in the following areas:
     Environment, Economic Development & Planning
     Transportation & Infrastructure
     Housing, Social & Cultural Affairs
     Community & Enterprise
     Finance




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The community and enterprise sector headed up by the Director of Community and Enterprise will
be an important cross cutting link, interacting with both service delivery and policy areas.
Westmeath County Council has published its Corporate Plan and Customer Service Action Plan
on the County Council website. The challenge for the Council for next year is the implementation
and monitoring of these Plans.

Website:                http://www.westmeathcoco.ie



Other Collaborations

Westmeath County Childcare Committee has been instrumental in setting-up and maintaining key
linkages with stakeholder organizations and has sought to initiate and regularise collaboration
with numerous statutory and voluntary organizations, with the ultimate aim of advancing the
mission statement of the Committee on a local and nation basis.




Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs
"It is the Department's mission to promote social well-being through income and other supports
which enable people to participate in society in a positive way." The Department of Social,
Community and Family Affairs will assist in the development of out-of-school hours childcare
services by community groups.

Completion Process
The Government, recognising the progress made in these negotiations, and following a
completion process with the social partners, will adopt, before the end of 2000, an equitable
strategy to support parents in meeting their childcare needs, for implementation in the period of
this Programme. This completion process will address proposals such as those put forward in
these negotiations, which included proposals for direct payments per child.

Family Support
A Family Affairs Unit has been established in the Department of Social, Community and Family
Affairs, with a range of responsibilities in relation to developing policy and services to support
families. In the context of this Programme, the Government reaffirms its commitment to protect
families through administrative, economic and social measures to support the stability of the
family.
Website:         http://www.dscfa.ie/

Health Services Executive
PRE SCHOOL SERVICES
The Midland Board supports and monitors quality in childcare services by:
 Inspections of existing and new services to ensure that the HSE‟s statutory obligations to pre
   school children are met.
 Advisory visits to new and existing services seeking to open, upgrade, relocate or expand.
 Delivering training to service providers so as to improve their knowledge and skills in child
   care as well as respond to the changing environment in the pre school sector.
 Representation on childcare working groups in area based partnerships in the region which
   provide a forum to discuss and resolve childcare issues at local level.
 HSE have employed a Childminding Advisory Officers to work for four days covering
   Westmeath.
 HSE provide financial support to WCCC for yearly actions to promote social inclusion.

Website:                www.hse.ie



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Fás
FÁS - the Training and Employment Authority - was established in January 1988 under the
Labour Services Act, 1987, to provide a wide range of services to the labour market in Ireland. Its
functions are to provide:
  Training and re-training; employment schemes; placement and guidance services assistance
    to community groups and workers‟ co-operatives towards the creation of jobs;
  Assistance to people seeking employment elsewhere in the EU;
  Consultancy and human resource related services on a commercial basis outside the State.

FÁS provides its services on a regional and local basis, and is divided into 10 regions, each with
Employment Services Offices and FÁS Training Centres. Fás is a major provider of Childcare
Training in Ireland.
FAS provide financial support to WCCC for training initiatives in county Westmeath.

Employment Services Offices are located in:
Church Avenue, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath:
Townhouse Centre, St. Mary's Square, Athlone, Co. Westmeath:
The Fás Training Centre for Westmeath is located in Garrycastle, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.
Website:               www.fas.ie

Westmeath Vocational Education Committee
Westmeath VEC Adult Education Board aims to provide a comprehensive, inclusive and
accessible Adult Education programme that will cater for the continuing educational needs of all
adults in the community. Westmeath Vocational Education Committee believes that education
should be accessible to all citizens throughout their lives. For various reasons some people were
unable to avail of education in their earlier lives and Adult Education can now provide them with a
second chance. It can mean learning new skills, gaining new qualifications, acquiring new
hobbies or simply making new friends. In recent years Second chance programmes such as
VTOS, Back to Education courses and the Adult Literacy Schemes have been very successful
Adult Education initiatives. Westmeath VEC offers an Adult Community Education Programme
that is active in towns and villages throughout Westmeath.
Westmeath VEC provide training in FETAC childcare courses and first aid courses throughout
county Westmeath.


Westmeath County Enterprise Board Ltd.
Westmeath County Enterprise Board provides business advice and assistance to small
businesses including childcare providers, and a range of business programmes in addition to
grant assistance.
Address:               Business Information Centre, Church Avenue, Mullingar.
Website                www.westmeath-enterprise.ie

Non-statutory organisations

Citizens Information Centres
Citizens Information Centres are non-statutory organisations funded by Comhairle that provide
information on any issues that concern the general public including social welfare benefits and
entitlements, rules and regulations on rented accommodation, and also on pension rights. This
service will also provide help filling out forms. There are Citizens Information Centres in Mullingar
and Athlone.

Chambers of Commerce
There are Chambers of Commerce in Mullingar and Athlone. Their functions include:
(1) Working to promote the area served
(2) Setting up local networks for the business community


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(3) Promoting businesses
(4) Providing help and support to the business community

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
VTOS is a full-time Education and Training Course organised by County Westmeath VEC. The
course provides further education/training opportunities to individuals over 21 years who are in
receipt of unemployment benefit/assistance. VTOS offers the following range of subjects:
 English, Communications, Interview Skills, Typing, writing.
 Work Placement and First Aid.
 Maths, Music and French.
 All aspects of Computers.
 Business Studies.
 Arts and Crafts
 Childcare

Qualifications obtained include: Junior and Leaving Certificate, FETAC (NCVA), Pitman and SEB.
Participants continue to receive social welfare payment. Post Leaving Certificate courses include
FETAC (NCVA) Certified Business Studies and Information Technology, Childcare, Tourism, and
Social Care.

Community Employment and Social Economy
Many organisations and community groups locally are partly staffed by participants on FAS
Community Employment or Social Economy Schemes. Participants access training, work
experience and soft skill development, which will lead to future long-term employment/training
opportunities. Participants are encouraged to progress from these schemes to the commercial
working world, having had opportunities to integrate and experience work and working life on a
part time basis, thus facilitating a gentler approach to employment/ fulltime employment
opportunities. CE employees work in Community run projects that have a brief in alleviating
poverty and its causes, while Social Economy projects concentrate of generating enterprise within
communities and providing demand-deficit services. Such projects would not have the necessary
resources to employ members of staff within the usual commercial profit-making sector. There
interventions are diverse by their nature, thus provide support in a variety of different areas
ranging from enterprise, tourism, administration, recreational and after school support to
community development projects.

Westmeath Community Development Limited
Westmeath Community Development is a bottom-up partnership aimed at rural development and
reconstruction throughout the county. The Partnership is committed to the empowerment of
people so that they may seek to overcome disadvantage and enhance the quality of their lives.
Westmeath Partnership delivers the Leader Programme and the Local Development Social
Inclusion Programme in County Westmeath.
Representative of the Westmeath Partnership holds the position of chairperson on the
Childminding Advisory Group and plays a key role in the Childminding working group.



Athlone Community Taskforce
Athlone Community Taskforce, which is fully owned by the community, was established in 1992
as an initiative of the Athlone Rotary Club in order to stimulate employment-generating activities
in Athlone. Through effective partnerships between community groups, statutory bodies and
social partners, ACT‟s mission is to create employment and enterprise opportunities, and
measures leading to these, in consultation with the Athlone community and the statutory
agencies. ACT is based in the Business Development Centre, which was opened in 1995. ACT
has delivered the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme since 1996. ACT works on a
strategic consultative basis to develop measures and meet the expanding needs of the target
group, in partnership with local community groups and agencies.


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The representative acted as the chair of the Staffing, Finance and Development group.
Furthermore, the representative collaborated with WCCC in the promotion and development of
After-schools and community childcare projects in Athlone. Submissions by the ACT have been
key in determining future strategic measures appropriate for the continuing development of
community childcare in Athlone.


 Department of Education and Science
The Department of Education and Science representative on the WCCC attended all meetings
and was instrumental in securing departmental support for the development of the School Aged
Childcare programme in Co. Westmeath. Information for the Strategic Mapping Report was also
provided by the representative.


 Harmony Community Development
Harmony Community Development contributed and collaborated on aspects of the Strategic Plan
2007-2010, through elucidation of the key issues that relate to community childcare provision in
Athlone. Submissions made by a Harmony representative helped to identify need and indeed
mould the priority responses that are advocated by WCCC over the course of the current plan.

 Triple P Parenting Strategy for Longford-Westmeath
WCCC will adopt the Triple-P Parenting Partnership Programme, which aims to provide parents
with skills that will help them in the raising of their children. WCCC have set up linkages with both
Fás and the HSE to secure funding for the initiative. To date, two tutors have been trained to
deliver the programme to local parents and WCCC proposes to train 3 more tutors to deliver the
seminars to as wide a local audience as possible.

 Centre of Early Childhood Development and Education (CECDE)
WCCC set up a linkage between the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education
through approaching the Centre with regard to promoting the National Quality Framework entitled
Síolta. This resulted in an information seminar for local providers on the new national framework
and collaboration is possible in the future in relation to the rolling out of the framework on a
practical level with individual services.

 National Voluntary Childcare Organisation (NVCO’s)
Westmeath County Childcare Committee will work with to promote the work of the NVCO‟s to
childcare providers in County Westmeath. They will support training and information sessions
hosted by these organizations. Theses organizations include:
                             Barnardos’
                             National Children’s Nurseries Association
                             National Childminding Association of Ireland
                             Irish Pre School Playgroups Association
                             Irish Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Association
                             St. Nicholas Montessori Society of Ireland
                             Forbairt Naionrai Teo




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9       REVIEW AND MONITORING

                             Performance Monitoring Procedure
                        Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited

The review and monitoring of the programme can be broken up into different sections:

Pobal and OMC Reporting Mechanisms

Yearly monitoring will take place on the four quarterly intervals and was reported back to Pobal.
Comparisons were made against set targets and actual achievements
Any amendments will be made in July for new actions that were under taken because funding
had been received form outside agencies.

The following is a list of reports sent to Pobal
    Quarterly Returns                           January
    Quarterly Returns                           April
    Quarterly Returns                           July
    Quarterly Returns                           October
    Half Yearly Performance Indicators          July
    Half Yearly Written Report                  July
    Training Report                             July
    Annual Report
    Action Plan
    Quarterly Reports from the PESC Committee for processing by Pobal

The following is a list of reports sent to the Office of the Minster fro Children
    Quarterly Notified Childminders Figures
    Expression of Interest Reports Monthly
    Strategic Mapping Report
    Action Plan

Management Committee Monitoring
    At the Management Committee meeting in January all actions are approved to
      commence work The actions are monitored through monthly work reports from both the
      Co-ordinator and staff and are presented at monthly Management Committee Meetings
    At each quarterly staffing and finance meeting a review of the spend on the programme is
      given by the Co-ordinator to the Working Group.
    All information sessions and training programmes were reviewed through evaluation
      forms completed by participants.
    The Co-ordinator reviews the work of staff on Actions against yearly targets set in Action
      templates. These are forwarded to both the management committee at monthly meeting
      and are used for both Pobal and OMC reporting and monitoring.




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Management Committee Review and Planning
Westmeath County Childcare Committee take a hands on approach when it comes to their role in
the strategic management of the company.

WCCC management committee will complete the following yearly planning sessions:

      Forward Planning session
      Management Training and Review Session
      Strategic Planning Session linking actions to strategic plan
      Strategic Planning Session for Co-ordinator and Staff
      Review of Memorandum and Articles of Association
      Yearly review Westmeath County Childcare Committee Handbook – Policies and
       Procedures
      Yearly Review Westmeath County Childcare Committee Staff Hand Book
      Yearly Childcare Census




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                                   Reports – Template Version 1
Procedure:
This template is to be used as a workload planning tool and is to be signed of by the
Manager. This template contains work sheets for recording reports that have been
completed. All reports should be saved on the shared drive and also in hard copy format.
Emails regarding reports that confirm receipt should be printed and saved with hard copy.
All registered post receipts should be copied and kept on file.

Report Title               Date of Letter                Report                         Date Report
                           from Pobal                    Completed and                  Posted
                                                         Approved
Quarterly Returns

Quarterly Returns

Quarterly Returns

Quarterly Returns

Half Yearly
Performance
Indicators
Half Yearly Written
Report
Training Report

Annual Report

Action Plan
 st
1 Quarterly Report
from the PESC to
Pobal
  nd
2 Quarterly Report
from the PESC to
Pobal
  rd
3 Quarterly Report
from the PESC to
Pobal
  th
4 Quarterly Report
from the PESC to
Pobal




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Management Committee Reporting

Report Title             Date of Email                 Report Completed               Date of Report
                         OMC                           and Approved                   Emailed
January Meeting and
Approval of yearly
plan
February Meeting

March Meeting

April Meeting and
AGM
May Meeting

June Meeting

September Meeting

October Meeting

November Meeting

December Meeting

1st Quarterly
Staffing and Finance
review of spend
2nd Quarterly
Staffing and Finance
Review of spend
3rd Quarterly
Staffing and Finance
review of spend
4th Quarterly
Staffing and Finance
review of spend
Strategic Mapping
Report

Action Plan 2007




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                                     Reports to the OMC

Report Title            Date of Email                 Report                         Date of Report
                        OMC                           Completed and                  Emailed
                                                      Approved
January EOI

February EOI

March EOI

April EOI

May EOI

June EOI

July EOI

August EOI

September EOI

October EOI

November EOI

December EOI

1st Quarterly
Notified
Childminders
Figures
2nd Quarterly
Notified
Childminders
Figures
3rd Quarterly
Notified
Childminders
Figures
4th Quarterly
Notified
Childminders
Figures
Yearly Childcare
Census
Action Plan




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                     Management Committee Review and Planning

Report Title            Date                          Report                         Date Report
                                                      Completed and                  Posted
                                                      Approved
   Forward
   Planning
   session

   Management
   Training and
   Review Session
   Strategic
   Planning
   Session linking
   actions to
   strategic plan

   Strategic
   Planning
   Session for Co-
   ordinator and
   Staff
   Review of
   Memorandum
   and Articles of
   Association

   Yearly review
   Westmeath
   County
   Childcare
   Committee
   Handbook –
   Policies and
   Procedures

   Yearly Review
   Westmeath
   County
   Childcare
   Committee Staff
   Hand
   Yearly Childcare
   Census




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Role of Westmeath County Childcare Committee Members
 Role on Committee
Many members are on the Committee primarily to represent the group or agency for which they
work or are members of at local or national level. This involves ensuring that the WCCC is
apprised of the priorities of these agencies in terms of their relevance to Childcare and to
feedback to their respective agencies the issues that are pertinent. Thus the opportunity for
collaboration and coordinated effort in relation to the provision of Childcare in Westmeath is
facilitated. Developing childcare in Westmeath in the context of the „bigger picture‟ and
contributing to the direction of childcare at national level was also emphasised.
Role of the Committee
The following responsibilities were identified:
Determining policy and strategy for Westmeath County Childcare;
 Ensuring that a plan is in place to achieve strategic objectives;
 Monitoring and reviewing performance/implementation;
 Supporting Co-ordinator and staff and ensuring accountability;
 Ensuring financial systems are adequate and that WCCC is financially accountable;
 Feeding back locally and nationally in relation to Childcare issues.



 Contribution to Committee
Members bring substantial experience, expertise and skills to the Committee. Some skills are
deployed to ensure that the business matters relating to staffing and finance are appropriately
supported and monitored. Other members offer their experience and skills on other
subcommittees or at the Committee meetings. Some newer members are in a learning situation
and are contributing the perspective of their organisation at meetings.

Given the oversight role of the Committee is the importance of having a balanced view and
concern for all Childcare was stressed. (e.g. Community, Private, Centre-based, Childminding,
etc.). Being adequately informed by having relevant information and knowledge of current and
forthcoming developments is considered essential to discharge these responsibilities.


 Getting something out of participation on the Committee
Members commented that they were happy to offer support to the co-ordinator and staff in as far
as they could and derived satisfaction from assisting in ensuring that plans were implemented
and monitored. Putting forward the particular perspective of those they represent was also
regarded as important. Some members represent agencies for which Childcare is not a core
concern while for others it is central in their everyday work. It is clear that there is a personal as
well as agency representative commitment from many on the Committee which undoubtedly is an
important ingredient to its success.

 Feeding Back
Some participants‟ feedback to their respective organisations in a formal manner. This either
takes the form of separate written reports or is incorporated into other larger written reports.
Others feedback informally as appropriate or relevant. For some there is little or no evident
interest on the part of their employers to what happens at meetings of the WCCC.

 Establishment of the Current Structure
As with many such committees the current structure has been established somewhat informally
without a systematic approach to the election of members. It was agreed that a more
conventional systematic approach to nominating and electing members by secret ballot at
A.G.M.s would be adopted.




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 Meetings and Decisions
The purposes of different kinds of meetings were discussed.
    Committee meetings should facilitate members to contribute to discharging the duties of
       the committee as described above.
    Some items on the agenda will be for decision, others for discussion and others for
       information sharing. It might be helpful to distinguish between these. Members need to be
       adequately informed in order to make decisions and this might mean that an item for
       decision could appear on two agenda, firstly as a discussion item at one meeting and as
       an item for decision at a later meeting..
    It is difficult for committees to undertake all of their responsibilities fully if time is not
       apportioned adequately. Generally forward thinking and proactive planning are more
       likely to suffer if a conscious effort is not made to apportion time. Suggestions that might
       be helpful were made:
            o Sub-groups of the Committee can take responsibility to tease out and explore
                 issues and present the Committee with recommendations having given the
                 matter detailed consideration;
            o Reports from the Co-ordinator and the sub-committees can be circulated and
                 read by members beforehand thus allowing the time to be used to discuss
                 priorities that need to be highlighted in these reports.
            o Remembering that on the Committee members wear a different hat then they do
                 at sub-committee meetings (or at meetings of other groups). It takes discipline to
                 focus on the important tasks of the Committee in a balanced manner.
            o A.G.M.s and E.G.M.s should follow particular formats and have Standing Orders.




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                                               APPENDICES




                        MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION

                        THE COMPANIES ACTS 1963 to 2000
         COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE AND NOT HAVING A SHARE CAPITAL
            ________________________________________________________

                            MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION
                                          -of-
                THE WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE LIMITED
              __________________________________________________________

1) The name of the Company is “THE WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE
   LIMITED” (hereinafter and in the Articles of Association referred to as “the Company”)

2) In this Memorandum and in the Articles of Association the expressions:

      I. “POBAL” shall mean Community;
      II. “the Area” shall mean the area for which the Company is to have responsibility and
          whose boundaries are the boundaries of the county of Westmeath or other boundaries
          as laid down by POBAL from time to time, subject to the agreement of the Minister or
          Minister of State as has been nominated for this purpose by the Taoiseach

3) The main objects for which the company is established are:

    a) To develop and a co-ordinate strategies for childcare provision in the County
    b) To increase the supply of affordable, sustainable, quality childcare services in the areas
        where needed
    c) To monitor the implementation of the strategy


The objects set out above at Paragraphs 3(a) to (c) inclusive are the main objects of the
Company and all others listed hereafter are subsidiary and ancillary thereto
        i)    To support and develop local countrywide networks of childcare providers


        ii)   To update and develop the baseline data provided in the National Childcare census

        iii) To develop an information strategy concerning the provision of childcare within the
             county

        iv) To establish and maintain effective links with the appropriate county structures such
            as the county development board, local development boards, health boards, (national
            children‟s strategy) etc




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v) To provide support advice training and information to local childcare providers

vi) To undertake research and analysis of childcare service provision in the area

vii) To maximise the effectiveness of the support available under existing childcare
     services

viii) To cooperate with statutory and voluntary bodies and agencies within the area to
      facilitate the combination, co-ordination and integration by those bodies and agencies
      of the various childcare services and initiatives provided by them within the area.

ix) To engage in any business or activity and to undertake, provide and carry out any
    service or contract of works and provide any facility and carry out any research
    whether within or outside the Area or elsewhere which is deemed necessary or
    advantageous in promoting the objects of the Company or for the purpose of
    generating capital or income to facilitate the furthering of the objects of the Company.

x) To promote and further the objects of the Company by conferences, public or private
   meetings, discussions, publications, conducting studies and surveys, or by such
   other means as may be deemed desirable or necessary.

xi) To promote, establish, co-operate with, become a member of, or assist by advice or
    by the grant of loans, donations or gift or otherwise, any association, institution or
    body whatsoever and whether established or incorporated in Ireland or elsewhere
    having objects or purposes wholly or partially similar to those of the Company.

xii) To advertise and make known the Company and its objects, purposes and aims by
     such means as may be deemed expedient and to solicit , receive and hold donations

xiii) To take or otherwise acquire and hold shares and securities of any company and to
      sell, hold, re-issue or otherwise deal with the same and to promote any company or
      companies to be incorporated with the intention of furthering the main objects of the
      Company

xiv) To take over, purchase, lease, exchange, hire or otherwise acquire an real, leasehold
     or personal property and to sell, lease, mortgage, exchange, dispose of or otherwise
     deal with any such real, leasehold or personal property.


xv) To receive grants, donations, contributions, subscriptions, and generally to manage,
    invest and expend all properties and money belong to the Company.

xvi) To act as trustees of any property, real or personal, for any purpose that may seem
     conductive to the furtherance of the objects of the Company.

xvii) To guarantee the payment of any debts of the Company or the performance of any
      contract or obligation of the Company or its association or undertakings or of any
      persons employed by the Company and to give indemnities for the obligations of the
      Company or of its associations or undertakings or of any persons employed by the
      Company either with or without the Company receiving any consideration or benefit
      and to secure any such guarantee and any such indemnity in any manner and in
      particular (without limitation) by the creation of charges or mortgages (whether legal
      or equitable) or floating charges or the issue of debentures charged upon all or any of
      the property and rights of the Company both present and future, including its goodwill
      and uncalled capital.




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       xviii)   To make advances to any company, firm, association, body or person with or
            without security, and to create mortgages, charges or liens upon all or any of the
            property or assets of the Company (both present and future) including its uncalled
            capital.

       xix) To engage in any kind of publicity for the purpose of fostering the objects of the
            Company and to print, publish and distribute and arrange for the printing, publication
            and distribution of any literature, newspapers, periodicals, books or leaflets as the
            Company may think fit.

       xx) To apply for, promote or obtain any Order or Statute to enable the Company to carry
           its objects into effect, or for any other purpose it may deem expedient.

       xxi) To promote, commence or oppose any proceedings or applications which may seem
            calculated, directly or indirectly, to advance, appertain to or prejudice the interests of
            the Company.

       xxii) To employ such personnel as the Company may think desirable or necessary for the
             furtherance of its objects.

       xxiii)  To open, maintain, operate and close an account or accounts with a Bank or
            Banks or similar financial institutions.

       xxiv)   Subject to the provisions of Clause 4 of this Memorandum, to remunerate any
           person, firm or company rendering services to the Company

       xxv)     To pay all or any expenses incurred in connection with the formation, promotion
           or incorporation of the Company, or to contract with any person, firm or other body,
           that may seem to be in furtherance of the Company‟s objects

       xxvi)   To enter into any arrangements with any Government or authority, supreme,
           municipal, local or otherwise or any Corporation, company or person, association or
           other body, that may seem to be in furtherance of the Company‟s objects

       xxvii) To support and subscribe to any charitable or public object, or any institution,
           society or club which may be for the benefit of the Company or its employees, or may
           be connected with the Area; to give pensions to any person or persons who may
           have served the Company, or to the spouses or children of such persons;

       xxviii) To draw, make, accept, endorse or issue promissory notes and other negotiable
           instruments;

       xxix)   To sell or dispose of the undertaking or property of the Company or any part
           thereof for such consideration a the Company may think fit; to sell, improve ,
           manage, develop, exchange, lease, mortgage, charge, dispose of, turn to account or
           otherwise deal with all or any of the property and rights of the Company;

       xxx)    To acquire and become registered proprietors of copyrights and trade marks and
           any other form of intellectual property

       xxxi)   To do all or any of the above things as principals, agents, contractors, trustees or
           otherwise, and by or through Trustees, agents or otherwise, and either alone or in
           conjunction with others

4) The income and property of the Company, whencesoever derived, shall be applied solely
   towards the promotion of the objects of the Company as set forth in this Memorandum of



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    Association, and no portions thereof shall be transferred directly or indirectly by way of
    dividend, bonus or allowance howsoever or by way of profit to the members of the Company,
    provided that nothing herein shall prevent the payment in good faith of reasonable and proper
    remuneration to any officer or servant of the Company or to any member of the Company in
    return for any special service actually rendered to or special work done for the Company, or
    prevent the payment of any interest from time to time on money lent, or prevent the payment
    of reasonable and proper rent for premises demised or let by any member of the Company,
    or prevent the payment to any member of the Company of money due on foot of any contract
    for work done or services rendered, goods supplied, or for the sale of real or personal
    property to the Company, but so that no member of the Company shall be appointed to any
    salaried office of the Company or any office of the Company paid by fees, nor shall any
    member of the Company enter into any contract for the supply of goods or services or the
    doing of work with the Company or any demise or contract of tenancy or contract for sale of
    any real or personal properties of the Company.

5) The liability of the members is limited

6) Each member of the Company undertakes to contribute to the assets of the Company in the
   event of its being wound up whilst he is a member or within one year thereafter for the
   payment of the debts and liabilities of the Company contracted before he ceased to be a
   member and of the costs, charges and expenses of winding up and for adjustment of the
   rights of contributories between themselves, such amount as may be required not exceeding
   €1.00.

7) If upon the winding up or dissolution of the Company there remains after the satisfaction of all
   debts and liabilities any property whatsoever, whether real or personal, no part of such
   property shall be given or distributed among the members of the Company, but shall be
   given or transferred to some other charitable institution or institutions having main objects
   similar to the main objects of the Company and which shall prohibit the distribution of its or
   their income and property among its or their members to an extent at least as great as is
   imposed on the Company under or by virtue of clause 5, such institution or institutions to be
   determined by the members of the Company, at or before the time of dissolution, and if and
   so far as effect cannot be given to such provisions, then to some charitable subject.

8) The Company may alter or add to this Memorandum and its Articles of Association only by a
   resolution of members passed by not less than 75 per cent of such members as, being
   entitled to do, vote in person, or where proxies are allowed in the Articles of the Company, by
   proxy at a general meeting of which not less than 21 days‟ notice specifying the intention to
   propose the resolution as a Resolution requiring a Special Majority, has been duly given.
   Such a resolution shall be known as a Resolution requiring a Special Majority.
   Notwithstanding the foregoing, a resolution in writing signed by all the members for the time
   being entitled to attend and vote on such resolution at a general meeting (or being bodies
   corporate by their duly appointed representatives) shall be as valid and effective for all
   purposes as if the resolution had been passed at a general meeting of the Company duly
   convened and held and described as a Resolution requiring a Special Majority, shall be
   deemed       to     be    a     resolution   within     the   meaning       of     this clause.

    No addition, alteration or amendment shall be made to the provisions of this Memorandum of
    Association for the time being in force unless same shall have been previously approved in
    writing               by              the            Revenue                  Commissioners


9) Annual Audited accounts shall be kept and made available to the Revenue Commissioners
   on request




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10) This Memorandum shall apply with equal effect to, and shall comprise the Memorandum of
    Association of, any company or companies established, subject to Paragraph 3(o) above, by
    the Company.




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                       THE COMPANIES ACTS 1963 to 2000
        COMPANY LIMITED BY GUARANTEE AND NOT HAVING A SHARE CAPITAL
           ________________________________________________________


                               ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION


                                                   -OF-


            WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE LIMITED

     __________________________________________________________

1. The regulations contained in Table C in the First Schedule to the Companies Act 1963 shall
   not apply to the Company.

2. In these Articles, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

    ”the Area” shall have the same meaning as in the Memorandum of Association; “the Act”
    means the Companies Act, 1963

    ”the Board” means the directors of the Company, being the members for the time being of the
    Board hereby constituted;

    ”State Agency Director” means a person appointed to be a State Agency Director pursuant to
    Article 4 (a));

    ”Social Partner Director” means a person appointed by an employer representative
    organizations, IBEC, Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions etc. pursuant to Article 4 (b);

    ”Childcare Sector Director” means a director appointed by organizations representing
    childcare services, local childcare providers or organizations which have an advisory role in
    regard to Childcare, pursuant to Article 4 (c)

    ”Community Director” means a person appointed to be a Community director pursuant to
    Article 4 (d);

    ”The Companies Acts” means the Companies Acts 1963 to 2000 and any Act amending
    extending or replacing them and every Act for the time being in force regulating companies;

    ”the Company” means Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited;

    ”POBAL” means Community, “the Office” means the registered office of the Company; “the
    Seal” means the Common Seal of the Company;

    ”the Secretary” means any person appointed to perform the duties of the Secretary of the
    Company;




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   ”Social Partners” means employer representative organizations, IBEC, Chambers of
   Commerce, City or County Enterprise Boards, trade unions and organizations representing
   farmers or farming interests including, but without limitation, the ICTU, the IFA, ICMSA, the
   ICOS and Macra na Feirme

   ”State Agencies” means
        (i) The Department of Health and Children via the Health Services Executive
        (ii) The Department of the Environment via local authorities/CDB staff
        (iii) The Department of Education and Science via VEC/school staff
        (iv) The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment via FAS staff
        (v) The Department of Social Community and Family Affairs via local office Staff
   “Childcare Sector” means organizations representing childcare services, local childcare
   providers or organizations which have an advisory role in regard to childcare provision
   including, but without limitation, Barnardos, the IPPA, NCAI, ISPCC, NCNA, An Comchoiste
   Reamhscolaiochta, Children in Hospital, Ireland, Irish Steiner Kindergarten Association, St.
   Nicholas Montessori Society of Ireland.

   ”Community Sector” means area-based Partnership Companies and Community Groups
   including community and voluntary sector groups elected via the Community Forum and
   persons representing Parents availing of childcare services.

   ”in writing” means written or printed or partly written or printed and shall unless a contrary
   intention appears, be construed as including reference to printing, lithograph, photographs
   and any other modes of representing or reproducing words in visible form;

   Words importing the singular number shall include the plural number and vice versa, and
   words importing the masculine gender only shall include the feminine and neutral gender and
   reference to persons shall include bodies corporate and unincorporated associations.

   Unless a contrary intention appears words or expressions contained in these Articles shall
   bear the same meaning as in the Companies Acts.

   Where a reference is made to a particular section or sections of any Act the reference shall
   be to such section or sections a same may be from time to time amended or replaced.

MEMBERS/DIRECTORS

3. The number of members (hereinafter referred to as either “the members” or “the Directors”
   where appropriate) with which the Company proposes to be registered is 20. The directors
   may from time to time register and increase of members.
                                                          th
4. The directors of the Company as at this date (30 April 2007)are:

   a) Eamonn Farrell, Patricia Gibney, Rina McKenn, Helen Flynn who shall be State Agency
      directors,
   b) Tracey Tallon, Ann Holt who shall be Social Partner directors and,
   c) Jimmy Redmond, Regina Bushell, Anna-Marie Smith, Willie Penrose who shall be
      Childcare Sector directors and,
   d) Ann Galvin, Frank Murtagh, Joyce Furlong, Chris Murtagh Liz Fletcher who shall be
      Community directors

5. The board shall keep a register of Members in which will be entered their names and
   addresses




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6. No remuneration shall be payable to the directors. The directors may be paid all travelling,
   hotel and other expenses properly incurred in connection with the affairs of the company
   provided that same are properly vouched to the Board

7. The Board may determine the rights, privileges and obligations of Members provided that
   same are consistent with the provisions of the Articles of Association of the Company.

DISQUALIFICATION OF MEMBERS/DIRECTORS

8. The Board shall, subject to the provisions of Article 10 hereof, have power by resolution
   approved by not less than two-thirds of the directors present and voting at a meeting specially
   convened for the purpose of expelling from the Company any Member whose continued
   association with the Company the Board considers not to be in the best interests of the
   Company.

9. A Member whose expulsion is to be considered by the Board under the provision of Article 8
   hereof shall receive not less than 14 days‟ notice in writing of the relevant meeting of the
   Board and short particulars of the grounds thereof and shall be given the opportunity to
   address such meeting. Where it is decided to expel a member he/she shall be notified in
   writing of the decision of the Board.

10. (a) No person shall be eligible to be a director of the company if he/she:-

        (i) holds any other office or place of profit under the Company; or
        (ii) is an un-discharged bankrupt or has made any arrangements or composition with his
              creditors generally; or
        (iii) has been and remains prohibited from being a director by reason of any order made
              under section 184 of the Companies Act 1963; or
        (iv) has had made against him/her, and remains subject to, a disqualification order (as
              defined in section 159 of the Companies Act, 1990) or is deemed, under part VII of
              the Companies Act, 1990, and remains deemed to be, subject to, a disqualification
              order: or
        (v) has, within the previous five years, been (within the meaning of section 150 of the
              Companies Act, 1990) a person to whom section 150 of that Act applies;
        (vi) has been convicted of an indictable offence, unless the Board otherwise determines;
              or
        (vii) is an elected member of any Local Authority or of either house of Oireachtas.
        (viii)     Fails to comply with the legal and Revenue requirements of a Company Director
    (b) The office of director shall be vacated if:
        (i) Any such event as is mentioned in Article 10 (a) occurs to any director after he/she
              has been appointed as director of the Company; or
        (ii) He/she resigns his office by notice in writing to the Company; or
        (iii) He/she is directly or indirectly interested in any contract with the Company and fails
              to declare the nature of that interest in manner required by section 194 of the
              Companies Act 1963; or
        (iv) Unless the Board otherwise determines, he/she fails to attend six consecutive
              meetings of the directors; or
        (v) Not being a director appointed pursuant to Article 64, he/she ceases to be a member
              of the Company; or
        (vi) On his/her death

11. A former member of the Company shall remain liable for all sums due by him under the
    Memorandum of Association of the Company




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11b . Every member shall be bound to use all reasonable endeavours to further the objects and
    interests of the Company.

12. The Company may, by ordinary resolution for which extended notice has been given in
    accordance with 142 of the Act remove any director before the expiration of this period of
    office notwithstanding anything in these Articles or in any agreement between the company
    and such director. Such removal shall be without prejudice to any claim such director may
    have for damages or breach of any contract or service between him and the Company.

GENERAL MEETINGS

13. General Meetings of the Company shall be held in the State.

14. The First General Meeting shall be held at such time not being more than eighteen months
    after the incorporation of the Company and is such place as the Board may determine.

15. Subsequent to the First General Meeting, the Company shall in each year hold a General
    Meeting as its Annual General Meeting in addition to any other meetings in that year and
    shall specify the meeting as such in the Notices calling it and not more than fifteen months
    shall elapse between the date of one Annual General Meeting of the Company and that of
    the next one.

16. An annual General Meeting shall be held at such time and at such place in the State as the
    Board shall appoint.

17. All General Meetings other than Annual General Meetings shall be called Extraordinary
    General Meetings.

18. The Board may whenever it thinks fit convene an Extraordinary General Meeting. An
    Extraordinary General Meeting shall also be convened on a requisition or in default may be
    convened by such requisitions as provided by Section 132 of the Companies Act 963, and
    any reference in the Act to a Director shall be construed as meaning a Member of the Board.
    If at any time there are not within the State sufficient Members of the Board capable of acting
    to form a quorum, any two Directors may convene an Extraordinary General Meeting in the
    same manner as nearly as possible as that in which Meetings may be convened by the
    Board.

19. Subject to Sections 133 and 141 of the Companies Act 1963, an Annual General Meeting
    and a Meeting called for the passing of a Special Resolution shall be called by twenty-one
    days‟ notice in writing at the least and a Meeting of the Company (other than an Annual
    General Meeting or a Meeting for the passing of a Special Resolution) shall be called by
    fourteen days‟ notice in writing at the least. The Notice shall be exclusive of the day on
    which it is given, shall specify the place, the day and the hours of the Meeting, and in the
    case of special business the general nature of that business, and shall be given in a manner
    hereinafter mentioned to such persons as are under the Articles of Association of the
    Company entitled to receive such Notices from the Company.

PROCEEDINGS AT GENERAL MEETINGS

20. The accidental omission to give notice of a Meeting or the non-receipt of notice of a Meeting
    by any person entitled to receive notice shall not invalidate the proceedings at that Meeting.

21. All business shall be deemed special that is transacted at an Extraordinary General Meeting,
    with the exception of the consideration of the accounts, balance sheets and the reports of
    the committees and the Board, the election of Directors, the re-appointment of the retiring
    Auditors and the fixing of the remuneration of the Auditors.



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22. At the first Meeting of the Board to be held after each Annual General Meeting, the Members
    of the Board shall elect from amongst their number a Chairperson

23. No business shall be transacted at any General Meeting unless a quorum of fifty per cent of
    Members is present at the time when the Meeting proceeds to business. Save as herein
    otherwise provided one third plus one of Members personally present or represented under
    Article 4 shall be a quorum.

24. If within a half hour from the time appointed for the Meeting a quorum is not present, the
    Meeting, if convened upon the requisition of the Members, shall be dissolved and in any
    other case it shall stand adjourned to the same day in the next week at the same time and
    place or to such other day and at such other time and place as the Board may determine,
    and if at the adjourned Meeting a quorum is not present within half an hour form the time
    appointed for the Meeting, the Members present shall be a quorum.

25. The Chairperson, if any, of the Company shall preside as Chairperson at every General
    Meeting of the Company and at every meeting of the Board, or if there is no such
    Chairperson or if he is not present within fifteen minutes after the time appointed for the
    holding of the Meeting or is unwilling to act, the Members of the Board present shall elect
    one of their number to be Chairperson at the Meeting

26. The Chairperson may wish with the consent of any meeting at which a quorum is present
    (and shall if so directed by the Meeting) adjourn the Meeting from time to time and from
    place to place, but no business shall be transacted at an adjourned meeting other than the
    business left unfinished at the Meeting, from which the adjournment took place. When a
    Meeting is adjourned for thirty days or more, notice of the adjourned Meeting shall be given
    as in the case of an original Meeting. Save as aforesaid, it shall not be necessary to give any
    notice of any adjournment or other business to be transacted at any adjourned Meeting.

27. At any General Meeting a Resolution put to the vote of the Meeting shall be decided on a
    show of hands unless a poll is (before or on the declaration of the result of the show of
    hands) demanded:

    (b) by the Chairperson, or;
            (ii)    by at least three members personally present or represented under Article 4

28. Unless a poll is so demanded, a declaration by the Chairperson that a Resolution has on a
    show of hands been carried or carried unanimously or by a particular majority or lost and an
    entry to that effect in the Book containing the Minutes of the proceedings of the Company
    shall be conclusive evidence of the fact without proof of the number or proportion of the
    votes recorded in favour or against such Resolution

29. The demand for a poll may be withdrawn

30. Except as provided in Regulation 29 of these Articles, if a poll is duly demanded it shall be
    taken in such a manner as the Chairperson directs and the result of the poll shall be deemed
    to be the Resolution of the Meeting at which the poll was demanded.

31. Where there is an equality of votes, whether on a show of hands or on a poll, the
    Chairperson of the Meeting at which the show of hands takes place or at which the poll is
    demanded shall be entitled to a second or casting vote.

32. A poll demanded on the election of a Chairperson or on a question of adjournment shall be
    taken forthwith. A poll demanded on any other question shall be taken at such time as the




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    Chairperson of the Meeting directs and any business other than that upon which a poll has
    been demanded may be preceded with pending taking of the poll.

33. subject to Section 141 of the Act a Resolution in writing signed by all the Members for the
    time being entitled to attend and vote on such Resolution at a General Meeting of the
    Company duly convened and held and if described as a Special Resolution shall be deemed
    to be Special Resolution within the meaning of the Act.



VOTES OF MEMBERS

34. No objection shall be raised to the qualification of any voter except at the Meeting or
    adjourned Meeting at which the vote objected to is given or tendered and every vote not
    disallowed at such Meetings shall be valid for all purposes. Any such objection made in due
    time shall be referred to the Chairperson of the Meeting whose decision shall be final and
    conclusive.

35. The instrument appointing shall be deemed to confer authority to demand or join in
    demanding a poll.

BORROWING POWERS

36. The Board may without any limitation as to amount exercise all the powers of the Company
    to borrow money and to mortgage or charge its undertakings and property or any part
    thereof and to issue debenture stock and other securities whether outright or as security for
    any debt, liability or obligation of the Company or of any third party.

POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE BOARD

37. The business of the Company shall be managed by the Board who may exercise all such
    powers of the Company that are not by the Companies Acts or by these Articles required to
    be exercised by the Members in General Meeting. Subject nevertheless to the provisions of
    the Act and of these Articles and to such directions being not inconsistent with the aforesaid
    provisions as may be given by the company in general meeting: but no direction given by the
    company in general meetings shall invalidate any prior act of the board which would have
    been valid if that direction had not been given.

38. The Board may from time to time and at any time by power of attorney appoint any company
    firm or person or body or persons whether nominated directly or indirectly by the Board to be
    the attorney or attorneys of the Company for such purposes and with such powers
    authorities and discretions (not exceeding those vested in or exercisable by the Board
    under these Articles) and for such provisions for the protection and convenience of persons
    dealing with any such attorney as the Board may think fit and may also authorize any such
    attorney to delegate all or any of the powers, authorities and discretions vested on him.

39. A Memorandum in writing signed by all the Directors for the time being and pasted in or
    attached to the Minute Book shall be as effective for all purposes as a Resolution of the
    Directors passed at a Meeting duly convened, held and constituted.

40. All cheques, promissory notes, drafts, bills of exchange and other negotiable instruments
    and all receipts for monies paid to the Company shall be signed, drawn, accepted, endorsed
    or otherwise executed as the case may be by such person or persons and in such manner
    as the Board shall from time to time by Resolution determine.

41. The Board shall cause Minutes to be made and Books provided for the purpose:



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           I.        Of all appointments of officers made by the Board
             (ii)      of the names of Directors present at each meeting of the Board and names
                       of all persons present at each meeting of any committee of subcommittee of
                       the Board
             (iii)     of all Resolutions and proceedings at all meetings of the Company and the
                       Board, committee, and sub-committees

42. The Board shall have the power from time to time to make such Bye-Laws as they may
    deem necessary or expedient or convenient for the proper conduct and management of the
    business and administration of the Company and may alter and repeal any such Bye-Laws
    PROVIDED ALWAYS that no Bye-Law shall be inconsistent with or shall affect or repeal
    anything contained in the Memorandum or Articles of Association of the Company to
    constitute such an amendment of or addition to the Memorandum or Articles as could only
    lawfully be made by a Special Resolution.

    All such Bye-Laws so long as they are in force shall be binding on all Member of the
    Company.

43. The Board on behalf of the Company may appoint employees, the appointment of whom is
    to be made in such manner and at such salary and under such conditions and terms of
    employment as the Board may prescribe within the limits set down by POBAL and the Office
    of the Minister for Children, or other Government Department which is accountable to Dail
    Eireann for moneys expended by the Company.

VOTING ON CONTRACTS

44. A director shall not vote in respect of any contract or arrangement in which he/she is
    interested or any matter arising there out and if he/she shall so vote, his/her vote shall not be
    counted, nor, so far as any such contract, arrangement or matter is concerned, shall he/she
    be counted in the quorum present at the meeting.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE BOARD

45. The Board may meet for the dispatch of business, adjourn and otherwise regulate their
    meetings as they think fit. Questions arising at any meeting shall be decided by a majority of
    votes. In case of an equality of votes, the chairperson shall have a second or casting vote.
    A meeting of the Board may be called at any time by notice in writing signed by 3 directors
    and a meeting of the Board shall be called by the Secretary if requested by 3 directors
    comprised as aforesaid.

46. Save as herein otherwise provided one third of members plus one personally present or
    represented under Article 4 hereof shall be a quorum for meetings of the Board.

47. The continuing directors may act notwithstanding any vacancy in their body but, if and so as
    the continuing directors do not constitute the necessary quorum pursuant to the Articles of
    the Company the continuing directors may act in accordance with Article 64 for the purpose
    of increasing their number to that number, but for no other purpose.

48. All acts done by any meeting of the Board or of a Committee of the Board, or by any person
    acting as a director, shall, notwithstanding that it is afterwards discovered that there was
    some defect in the appointment of any such director or of any committee or person acting as
    aforesaid, or that they or any of them were disqualified, be as valid as if every person had
    been duly appointed and was qualified to be a director or of such committee a the case may
    be.




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COMMITTEES OF THE BOARD

49. (a)     The board may delegate any of its powers to committees consisting of such
             persons (who need not be members of the Company) as it thinks fit; any
             committee so formed shall in the exercise of the powers so delegate conform
             to any regulations that may be imposed on it by the board
     (b)    The meetings and proceedings of any such committee consisting of two or
            more individuals shall be governed by the provisions of these Articles
             regulating the meetings and proceedings of the directors, so far as the same
are applicable and are not superseded by any regulations made by the
directors under Article 49 (a). In particular (and subject to any regulations so made by the
directors) questions arising at any meeting shall be decided by a majority of votes.

50. The Board shall require that any committee shall keep careful minutes of its proceedings and
    furnish copies to the Board together with copies of any reports, surveys or other documents
    presented to the meetings of the committee.

51. A committee may elect a chairperson of its meetings; if no such chairperson is present within
    five minutes after the time appointed for holding the same, the members present may
    choose one of their number to be chairperson of the meeting.

52. A committee may meet and adjourn as it thinks proper. Questions arising at any meeting
    shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present, and in case of an
    equality of votes the chairperson shall have a second or casting vote.

ROTATION OF DIRECTORS

53. At each annual general meeting of the Company, one third of each of the Social Partner
    directors, State Agency directors and Community directors for the time being (or if their
    number is not three or a multiple of three, then the number nearest one third) shall retire
    from the office with effect from the end of the meeting. Directors retiring in the course of the
    year shall be deemed to be part of the one third retiring from office at the Annual General
    Meeting

54.     (a) Any person who is appointed a director of the Company, other than pursuant
            to Article 60 and who is not already a member of the Company, shall deemed
            to have agreed to become a member of the Company and shall thereupon
      become a member accordingly

          (b) The directors to retire in every year, as between persons belonging to the same
              category of director, shall be those who have been longest in office since their last
              election and as between persons who become directors on the same day, those to
              retire shall (unless they otherwise agree amongst themselves) be determined by lot.

55. Retiring directors shall be eligible for re-appointment

56.      (a) The relevant State Agency will be entitled to fill the office vacated by a
      retiring State Agency Director or occurring amongst the State Agency
      directors for any other reason by appointing any eligible person thereto
      provided that the aggregate of the number of State Agency directors to be
      appointed under this Article shall not exceed six.

          (b)    The relevant Social Partners will be entitled to fill the office vacated by a retiring
                Social Partner Director or occurring amongst the State Agency directors for any other
                reason by appointing any eligible person thereto provided that the aggregate of the




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            number of Social Partner directors to be appointed under this Article shall not exceed
            four.

        (c) The relevant Childcare Sector member body will be entitled to fill the office vacated
            by a retiring Childcare Sector Director or occurring amongst the Childcare Sector
            directors for any other reason by appointing any eligible person thereto provided that
            the aggregate of the number of Childcare Sector directors to be appointed under this
            Article shall not exceed six

        (d) The relevant Community Sector member body will be entitled to fill the office vacated
            by a retiring Community Sector Director or occurring amongst the Community Sector
            directors for any other reason by appointing any eligible person thereto provided that
            the aggregate of the number of Community Sector directors to be appointed under
            this Article shall not exceed six

        (e) Any appointment of a director shall be effected by notice in writing to the Company

57. The Community directors, Social Partner directors and State Agency directors shall each
    have power at any time, and from time to time, to appoint any person to be director of the
    Board, to fill a casual vacancy occurring in their respective category of directors.
    Any such appointment shall be effected by notice in writing by all of the directors
belonging to the category concerned

59. (a) Provided that not less than two thirds of directors (other than any Co-opted directors
    defined below) for the time being agree (or if their number is not a multiple of three then
    number nearest to two thirds), the Board shall have power at any time and from time to time
    to appoint any person to b a director as an addition to the existing directors, any such director
    to be known as a “Co-opted director”. Co-opted directors shall not be entitled to vote in
    relation to the appointment of any further Co-opted directors.

    (b) Co-opted directors shall hold office only until the next annual general meeting and shall
    then be eligible for re-appointment in accordance with Articles 62 or 64 (a) but shall not be
    taken into account in determining the directors who are to retire by rotation at such meeting.

    (c) Any Co-opted director who does not stand for re-appointment or who does so but is not
    re-appointed at an annual general meeting my nonetheless be co-opted again by the Board
    thereafter pursuant to this Article.

59. The Company may be ordinary resolution of which extended notice has been given in
    accordance with section 142 of the Companies Act 1963 remove any director of the Board
    before the expiration of his period of office, notwithstanding anything in these Articles or in
    any agreement between the Company and such director. Such removal shall be without
    prejudice to any claim such director may have for damages for breach of contract of service
    between him and the Company. Such removal shall give rise to a casual vacancy for the
    purpose of Article 63.

SECRETARY

60. The Secretary shall be appointed by the Board for such term and upon such conditions as
    they may think fit, and any secretary so appointed may be removed by the Board. No
    remuneration shall be payable to the Secretary

61. A provision of the Companies Acts or these Articles requiring or authorizing a thing to be
    done by or to a director of the Company and by the Secretary shall not be satisfied by its
    being done by or to the same person acting both as director of the Board and as, or in place
    of , the Secretary.



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SEAL

62. The Seal shall be used only by the authority of the Board and every instrument to which the
    Seal shall be affixed shall be signed by two Directors of the Company or by one Director and
    the Secretary or by some other person appointed by the Directors for that purpose.

ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT

63.      (a) The board shall cause proper Books of Account to be kept in relation to:
             I. All sums of money received and expended by the Company and the matters in
                respect of which the receipt and expenditure takes place
            II. All sales and purchases of goods by the Company; and
           III. The assets and liabilities of the Company

             Proper books shall not be deemed to be kept if there are not kept such books of
             account as are necessary to give a true and fair view of the state of the Company‟s
             affairs and to explain its transactions

         (b) All sums of money received by the Company or by the Officers and servants thereof
             from persons or bodies for services rendered to such persons or bodies by the
             Company or by any officer or servant thereof on behalf of the Company shall be
             lodged to the credit of the Company
                                                                 st
         (c) The financial accounts shall be made up to the 31 day of December in each year
             and shall be audited as soon as practicable thereafter by the Auditors appointed by
             the Company in General Meeting.
         (d) The Books of Account shall be kept in the Registered Office of the Company or,
             subject to section 202 of the Companies Act 1990, at such place or places as the
             Board shall think fit and shall be always open to inspection by the members.
         (e) A copy of the audited accounts and the Auditors Report shall be presented to each of
             the members of the Company in each year at least twenty-one days before the date
             fixed for the Annual General Meeting. At every Annual General Meeting of the
             Company, the Board shall lay before the Members a statement of the preceding year
             and also a Balance Sheet made up to the date of the last day of the same period,
             together with a Directors Report as to the state of the Company‟s affairs.

64. The Board shall from time to time determine whether and if so to what extent and at what
    times and places and under what conditions or regulations the accounts and books of the
    Company or any of them shall be open to the inspection of members not being directors of
    the Company, and no member (not being a director of the Company) shall have any right of
    inspecting any account or book or document of the Company except as conferred by statute
    or authorized by the Board or by the Company in general meeting.

ELECTION OF AUDITOR

65. The Company at each Annual General Meeting shall appoint an Auditor or Auditors to hold
    office until the next Annual General Meeting and shall measure the fees or otherwise fix the
    remuneration of such Auditor or Auditors. The duties of the Auditors shall be regulated in
    accordance with Sections 160 to 163 of the Companies Act 1963.

INDEMNITY

66.        (a) The Directors, and Members of the Company and the employees, servants,
      agents or officers of the Company, shall be indemnified by the Company
      against, and it shall be the duty of the Company out of funds of the
      Company to pa, all costs, losses and expenses which any such person may



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      incur or become liable for by reason of any contract entered into or any act or thing done by
      him within the scope of his/her membership of the Board, Committee or office of employment.
           (b) No Director, Member or Officer of the Company shall be liable for the act,
      neglects or defaults of any other Director, Community Member, Member or
      Officer for joining in any receipt or other act for conformity or for any loss or expense
      happening to the Company through the insufficiency or deficiency of title to any property
      acquired by Order of the Members, or Board for or on behalf of the Company or for the
      insufficiency or deficiency of any security in or upon which any of the monies of the
                Company shall be invested or for any loss or damage arising from the
      bankruptcy, insolvency or tortuous acts of any person with whom
      any monies, securities or effects shall be deposited or for any other loss,
      damage or misfortune whatsoever which shall happen in the carrying out of his/her duties as
      a Director or Member of in the execution of his office or in relation thereto unless the same
      happens through his/her own wilful act, neglect or default.

NOTICES

67.        (a) A Notice may be given by the Company to and Director, Community Member or
      Member, either personally or by sending it by post to him to his registered address. Where a
      Notice is by post, service of the Notice shall be deemed to be effected by properly
      addressing, pre-paying and posting a letter containing the Notice and to have been effected
      in the case of a Notice of a Meeting at the expiration of twenty-four hours after the letter
      containing the same is posted and in any other case at the time at which the letter would be
      delivered in the ordinary course of post.
      Notice of every General Meeting shall be given in any manner hereinbefore authorized to:

          i) every Director
          ii) every Member
          iii) the Auditor of the Company




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WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE LIMITED



                   MEMBERS HANDBOOK




                           VERSION 1




                     DATE: MARCH 2007




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Contents


  1. Standing Orders of the Management Committee

  2. Procedure for the Election of Officers at the Annual General Meeting

  3. Internal Disputes

  4. Customer Charter

  5. Complaints Procedure

  6. Child Protection Policy




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                  STANDING ORDERS




                               OF




WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE LTD




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Meetings of the County Childcare Committee Ltd: At least six meetings of the County
Childcare Committee will be held in each calendar year from 2000. The Chair may at any
time call a meeting of the County Childcare Committee. If the Chair refuses to call a
meeting after a requisition for that purpose signed by three members of the County
Childcare Committee has been presented to the Chair; any three members of the County
Childcare Committee may forthwith on that refusal call a meeting with one third plus one
of committee members attending. If the Chair (without so refusing) does not within seven
days after such presentation call a meeting to be held within fourteen days of the call, any
three members of the County Childcare Committee may on the expiration of the seven
days call a meeting.

1.       Chair: The members of the County Childcare Committee will select the County Childcare
         Committee Chair who will be from among their numbers. At a meeting of the County
         Childcare Committee, the Chair of the County Childcare Committee if present shall
         preside. If the Chair is absent from a meeting of the County Childcare Committee, the
         vice Chair, shall preside as acting Chair, until the arrival of the Chair. Such acting Chair
         shall have the same powers, rights and duties as are under Standing Orders possessed
         by the Chair.

2.       Quorum: At meetings of the County Childcare Committee, one third plus one of
         members shall constitute a quorum. The Chair at every meeting of the County Childcare
         Committee shall be taken within ten minutes after the time appointed for the meeting,
         provided a quorum is present. If after the expiration of fifteen minutes after the time
         appointed for the meeting, a quorum shall not be present, the County Childcare
         Committee shall rise and the meeting shall stand adjourned to a date to be then named
         by the Chair of the meeting.

3.       Notice of meetings: Five clear days at least before any meeting, a notice to attend a
         meeting, specifying the business to be transacted thereat and signed by the Coordinator
         of Westmeath County Childcare Committee (or in the absence of the Coordinator, the
         duly appointed deputy), shall be left or delivered by post at the nominated place of
         work/abode of each member of the Childcare Committee. Want of service of the notice
         on any member or members of the Board shall not effect the validity of the meeting. No
         business shall be transacted at a meeting of the County Childcare Committee other than
         that specified in the draft agenda accompanying the notice of the meeting.

4.       Order of business:

        Election of a Board member to preside if the Chair is absent;

        Approval of draft of agenda;

        Confirmation of the minutes;

        Issues arising

        Report of working groups;

        Actions for approval

        Co-ordinators Report

        Issues to bring to Pobal/NCCC;

        Correspondence;



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         Business prescribed by the Chair and/or the Coordinator of the Childcare Committee for
          transaction at that meeting

         AOB

5.        Minutes: The minutes of every County Childcare Committee meeting when adopted shall
          be signed by the Chair at such meeting at which the minutes are considered, and shall be
          kept and certified by the Coordinator No minutes shall be considered for confirmation
          unless a copy thereof shall have been previously and a least five days before the
          Childcare Committee meeting transmitted by the Coordinator to every member of the
          County Childcare Committee. Any discussion on the Minutes except as to their accuracy
          is out of order and the Chair shall rule accordingly. The Minutes of all meetings shall
          contain the names of the members and officials present together with particulars of all
          resolutions passed, decisions arrived at or recommendations made.

6.        Participation and decision making: The Chair shall ensure that participation by all the
          members of the Board is facilitated. Decision-making shall be based on consensus. If
          the members are divided on a recommendation/decision item, the Chair shall direct that a
          report on the specific item be prepared and considered at the following meeting. If there
          is a vote on any specific topic all directors and members can vote.

7.        Structures supporting the work of the County Childcare Committee: (i) Committees:
          The County Childcare Committee shall have the right to appoint Committees for specific
          purposes and to prescribe terms of reference for the said Committee. All members of the
          County Childcare Committee or their nominees will be eligible for membership of said
          committees. The Chair of the Committee (will be a director of Westmeath County
          Childcare Committee) and shall be responsible to the County Childcare Committee for
          the general management of the business entrusted to that Committee.
          Minutes shall be kept of the proceedings of every Committee by the Coordinator of the
          County Childcare Committee or by an official deputised to attend the Committee. The
          recommendations of Committees shall not become binding until approved by the County
          Childcare Committee. (ii) The County Childcare Committee may also delegate for
          consideration specific tasks to existing structures (expanded as necessary) among the
          four sectors (Local Government, Local Development, State Agencies, Social Partners).
          Current structures can be requested to process tasks on behalf of the County Childcare
          Committee subject to conditions which the County Childcare Committee may specify.

8.        Substitution of Members: Substitute delegates (for members who cannot attend
          meetings) shall not be allowed.

9.        Attendance of the Public and Media: Members of the public and the media shall not be
          permitted to attend meetings of the County Childcare Committee. An information sheet
          listing the generic items under review at the meeting and the resolutions adopted shall be
          made available electronically (via e-mail) to any interested parties within four days of the
          close of the meeting. Media briefings will be arranged as appropriate.

10.       Attendance by Members at Board meetings: In the event that a nominated member of
          the Board misses three consecutive meetings without a reasonable explanation, the
          member will be notified by letter by the Chairperson asking to give an explanation on their
          absence. If this explanation is not received within 10 working days from the post date,
          they will be considered as having resigned from the Board, and the matter will be referred
          back to the relevant nominating body, either to re-nominate the member or to select a
          new member if they consider this is necessary.




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            PROCEDURE FOR THE ELECTION OF OFFICERS AT THE AGM


1. Two Management Committee meeting prior to the AGM all eligible directors will be
   notified of AGM meeting date.

2. At this time current elected Officers will make it known to the Board whether they are
   seeking re-election or not.

3. Then at this meeting any Director of the Board who wishes to seek election for any of the
   officers positions will let it be known to the Board.

4. If there are more than one nomination for any of the officers an ballot paper will be drawn
   up and circulated to all directors. This will be retuned to the office two days prior to the
   AGM.

5. If there is only one person for the position they will be nominated by a Director for that
   Office.

6. In the event of a tie the Chairperson will have the casting vote.

7. In the event of an Officer retiring during the year the Board will nominate an Acting Officer
   for the remainder of that year until the next AGM.

           Please note that the normal procedure of the stepping down of one third of the
            Board will take place.
           The newly elected chair person will chair from the first Management Meeting
            after the AGM.
           The new officers will take their positions at the first Management Meeting after
            the AGM.




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                   WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE LIMITED



                                 INTERNAL DISPUTES PROCEDURE


The Staffing and Finance Working Group recommend to the main Management Committee to
implement the following procedure in the event of a dispute arising internally in the company.

Internal
Issue                                        Contact Person
     Staff Member with Staff Member - Co-ordinator
     Staff Member with Co-ordinator - Chairperson of the Staffing and Finance Working
         Group or vice versa
     Committee Member with Staff Member - Co-ordinator
     Committee Member with Co-ordinator – Chairperson of WCCC
     Co-ordinator with Committee Member – Chairperson of WCCC
     Co-ordinator with Chairperson- Chairperson of the Staffing and Finance or vice versa
     Committee Member – Committee Member – Chairperson of WCCC
     Committee Member – Chairperson – Chairperson Staffing and Finance or vice versa
     Chairperson – Vice Chairperson – Chairperson Staffing and Finance or vice versa



All efforts will be made by the nominated parties (indicated in black italics above) to settle any
disputes quickly and informally in a fair and open manner. If this does not work the following
procedure should be applied:


    1.   Initiate informal mediation
    2.   Issue as formal letter – detailing dispute – internal mediation
    3.   Failing resolution at this stage then initiate external mediation
    4.   Explore any other avenues




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                                       CUSTOMER CHARTER

                      WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE
Who we are
      The mission of Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited is to assist in the co-
      ordination of Childcare, both nationally and locally and to assist in prioritizing funding.
      The purpose is broadly in line with the Policy Context of the Office of the Minister for
      Children.

               The key aims of Westmeath County Childcare Committee are:
               To develop a co-ordinated strategy for childcare provision in Westmeath
               To increase the supply of Childcare Services
               To monitor the implementation of the Strategy
               To support and develop local networks of Childcare Providers
               To establish and maintain effective links with the appropriate county structures –
                county Development Board, Local Development Boards, National Childcare
                Strategy and Health Services Executive .

        Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited is a not-for-profit company with
        charitable status that manages programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the
        EU.
        For information on the National Childcare Investment please visit our website on
        www.westmeathchildcare.ie

Our commitments to you
In managing the National Childcare Investment Programme, Westmeath County Childcare
Committee Limited is committed to the processes, principles and practices of developing quality
affordable childcare delivered through a customer-focused approach that reflects the ethos of
Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited. We make the following commitments to you,
our customer:

        1. Timeliness
        Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will offer you a prompt, accurate &
        efficient response in all our dealings with you appropriate to the service you are availing
        of, and the Programme you are dealing with. All processes involved in the National
        Childcare Investment Programme funding applications will be followed accurately. Due
        process will be given to all applications.

        2. Access
             Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will endeavour to use methods
               of communication which are accessible and to meet customers in a mutually
               convenient/suitable location that facilitates people with specific requirements and
               which meets occupational and safety standards.

        3. Choice
             Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will endeavour to provide you
               with choice in order to gain maximum access to our services through the
               provision of a staff structure with named contact personnel. All information will be
               available in a user-friendly format and will utilise emerging technologies e.g.
               website, electronic format (email/disk) etc.




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4. Courtesy
     Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will approach all our
       interactions with you in a professional manner, promoting an environment of
       courtesy, sensitivity and mutual respect.

5. Transparency
     Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited is committed to transparency in
       all of its decision-making processes (in line with the Freedom of Information and
       Data Protection Acts) and will deal with customers in a conscientious and honest
       manner ensuring impartiality at all levels.

6. Better Co-ordination
     Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited commits to linking and co-
        ordinating in a flexible manner with other structures at national/regional/local
        level as appropriate to help advance better co-ordination of the types of services
        we deliver, particularly those that target the provision of local childcare facilities.

7. Reviews
     Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will maintain a formalised,
       simple-to-use and accessible system of review the National Childcare Investment
       Programme for customers who are dissatisfied with decisions in relation to grants
       or other services.

8. Equality/Diversity
     Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will conduct its business in
       accordance with Equality Legislation and Westmeath County Childcare
       Committee Limited Employment Policies.

9. Feedback to you
     In our approach to delivering National Childcare Investment Programme
       Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will endeavour to provide you
       with useful feedback appropriate to the service you are availing of, and the
       Programme you are dealing with.

11. Feedback from you
     Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will welcome and take on board
       as appropriate any feedback you may provide to help us to continuously improve
       our service delivery and in our role of identifying good practice for others etc.



12. Complaints
     All complaints will be handled within specified timeframes in a fair, impartial and
       confidential manner, mindful of our obligations under the Freedom of Information
       Act.
     How to make a complaint
     All complaints must be made in writing (by fax, email or letter) and must state
       clearly that a complaint is being made; the basis for the complaint and what
       follow up action is envisaged as a result of the complaint.
     For the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act, you should also state
       whether you require your complaint to be treated in a strictly confidential manner.
       Please also note that:

        • Your complaint should be sent in the first instance to the Chairperson of
        Westmeath County Childcare Committee



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      Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited have a detailed complaints
       procedure which is available from the office or from our website.

How to contact us

Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited
6 St. Johns Terrace,
Blackhall,
Mullingar,
Co. Westmeath

Tel:044 9335454
Fax: 044 9347962
Email: info@westmeathchildcare.ie
Web: westmeathchildcare.ie




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     COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE – FOR ALL NON NCIP COMPLAINTS
Purpose
The purpose of this is to inform all Westmeath County Childcare Committee staff and
service stakeholders of WCCC’s Complaints Procedure.



Scope
All WCCC staff, service stakeholders and other agencies using the Service.


Definitions and Abbreviations
WCCC – Westmeath County Childcare Committee Ltd


Responsibility
Muriel Martin: Co-ordinator

Responsible for ensuring that this is implemented and adhered to by Muriel Martin
Responsible for ensuring that the regular monitoring and reviewing of this document is
carried out by Muriel Martin.

                Responsible for the circulation of all up-dating copies to all named
                 parties and that this is recorded accurately
                Responsible for ensuring that all copies are maintained and archived
                 correctly

                Responsible for ensuring that all interventions undertaken on behalf of
                 the WCCC adhere to this Procedure

Procedure
A complaint is:
‘An expression of dissatisfaction about the standard of service, actions or lack of
action by the Board or its staff, affecting an individual’. )


A copy of the complaints procedure will be posted in the One-Stop –Shop.

Each service user will be made aware by the co-ordinator outlining how to make a
complaint and how it will be dealt with when a complaint arises.

A complaint may be made by any member of the Public using the service of WCCC.

WCCC aims to provide a quick and satisfactory resolution to complaints where possible.
In order to achieve this, the following steps will be taken:




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       Step 1.Where possible the co-ordinator will resolve verbal complaints on the spot
       in a sensitive and practical manner.
       Step 2.Co-ordinator will discuss verbal complaint with WCCC staff and board members
       where relevant who will speak to the complainant in an attempt to resolve the
       complaint.
       Step 3.Verbal complaints and outcomes will be recorded in the Complaints
       database.




                                  Complaints Procedure Flowchart



                                     Verbal complaint received & recorded




      Co-ordinator resolves          Co-ordinator unable to resolve complaint
           complaint




                              Written complaint received                         Complaint discussed with
                                                                         Staff and Board Members where relevant




    WCC guidelines for Complaint                    Satisfactory resolution reached
Management & Investigation are followed




       Frequency of Review
       This procedure will be reviewed annually


       Method used to check compliance with Policy
       1          A log of all complaints received, and outcomes will be maintained.
       2          Complaints received will be recorded on the complaints database.
       3          On review of complaints will take place monthly and will be included on the
                  agenda of the Staffing and Finance Working Group.
       4          The procedure will be reviewed yearly.




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                                    CHILD PROTECTION POLICY


Policy Statement

Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited undertakes to promote the general welfare,
health and full development of children and protect them from harm of all kinds in line with articles
19 and 34 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited will ensure that each member of staff is trained
in the Children‟s First –National Child Protection Guidelines.
Westmeath County Childcare Committee will work with the Health Services Executive to ensure
that Children‟s First training is available to Childcare Providers in the County.




Procedure for Suspected Abuse:

When out on site visits
   If any member of staff has concerns about a child being neglected or physically ,
      emotionally or sexually abused or if a child discloses abuse to an adult this should be
      raised with the manager of WCCC and of the Service.
   In a case of disclosure by a child, it is essential that direct questions, such as the name of
      a specific person or any intimate details are not asked, as such questions could
      complicate an official investigation at a later stage.
   Following the raising of concerns, observations will be made and records will be kept on
      the individual child.
   These confidential records will include:
   Name, address and age of child.
   Circumstances in which the concern arose or a particular incident occurred
   Time and date of the observation
   A factual description of the child‟s behaviour/appearance, without comment or
      interpretation.
      The exact words spoken by the child
   Signature of the recorder.
   Having built up a good relationship with the parents from the start, the
      manager/supervisor should be in a position to check out sensitively with the parents any
      change in behaviour or unexplained bruises/marks. A second person should always be
      present.
   Contact the PHN – Ann Gerety for advice or support.
   It is important for all staff to be aware of the sensitive nature of these matters but to
      ensure that no commitments regarding secrecy be made.

When a formal written or oral report is made
   Firstly gain permission for the person to record details in designated book if it is a
      conversation. Ask the individual for a written report.
   Explain the Children‟s First – stating that all persons have an obligation to report
      suspected abuse.


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   State that our own child protection policy ensures that we report all suspected cases to
    the HSE.
   Explain that they can contact the Health Services Executive – PHN Ann Gerety
    themselves or that we can contact then on their behalf.
   Report and record all such meeting at the monthly staffing finance and development
    working group.




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                     STAFF HANDBOOK




             NAME:_________________




            SIGNED: _________________




        REVISED VERSION 4 OCTOBER 2006




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Westmeath County Childcare Committee
Westmeath County Childcare Committee was established in May 2001 and is a key element of
the Government‟s co-ordinated strategy to develop quality childcare in Ireland. The membership
of Westmeath County Childcare Committee comprises nominated representatives from Statutory
Bodies, Social Partners, Community & Voluntary Sector, Childcare Providers, Parents, non-
voluntary Childcare Organisations, Partnerships and Community Groups.

The purpose of Westmeath County Childcare Committee is to assist in the co-ordination of
Childcare, both nationally and locally and to assist in prioritising funding. This purpose is broadly
in line with the Policy Context of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform for County
Childcare Committees.

The key aims of Westmeath County Childcare Committee are:
    To develop a co-ordinated strategy for childcare provision in Westmeath
    To increase the supply of Childcare Services
    To monitor the implementation of the Strategy
    To support and develop local networks of Childcare Providers
    To establish and maintain effective links with the appropriate county structures – County
       Development Board, Local Development Board, HSE, National Childcare Strategy etc.




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                                              Welcome To



This handbook is designed to give you all the information you will need about the
Westmeath County Childcare Committee Ltd. and also your contract. Your contract will be
given to you by the Co-ordinator and you should read through and sign it when you fully
understand it.

There is a lot of information within this handbook, the main areas will be discussed
however you must take time to read through the handbook completely. If you do have any
questions please ask the Co-ordinator.




Personal and professional conduct

Westmeath County Childcare Committee Ltd. expects you to carry out your duties in such a
manner that your personal and professional conduct at all times promotes a positive image of
Westmeath County Childcare Committee Ltd. and meets the highest ethical standards. In
particular:

(i) Appearance
The dress code is business. You are required to dress and conduct yourself at all times in an
acceptable manner. No track suits, combat trousers, platform shoes or trainers, ripped or torn
clothes are permitted on weekdays.

(ii)Smoking
No smoking is permitted in the building whatsoever. Westmeath County Childcare maintains a
smoke free workplace. Smoking is prohibited in all premises of the company in accordance with
legislation.
 Please respect our property and grounds by disgarding with any cigarette butts or litter in the bin
provided in the area.

(iii)Equipment
Each employee is responsible to use consideration in their area. This includes keeping the
equipment clean. Any employee caught abusing the equipment may be forced to pay for new
equipment or dismissed from employment depending on the severity of the damage.

(v) Work area
Each representative will receive a seating assignment from the Co-ordinator. It is the individual‟s
responsibility to leave the desk/table clean and organised each evening.

(vi) Drug Free Workplace
Employees will not be permitted to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Employee‟s who
come to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be subject to disciplinary action up to
and including dismissal. Employees who are taking prescribed medication must report this to
their manager where they believe such medication may have an adverse effect on their ability to
perform their duties in a safe manner.




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Code of Practice
“Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures”

S.I. NO. 146 of 2000

Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (Code of Practice on Grievances and Disciplinary
Procedures) (Declaration) Order, 2000

WHEREAS the Labour Relations Commission has prepared under subsection (1) of section 42 of
the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (No. 19 of 1990), a draft code of practice on grievance and
disciplinary procedures and which code is proposed to replace the code set out in the Schedule
to the Industrial Relations Act, 1990, Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures ( Declaration)
Order, 1996 (S.I. No 117 of 1996);

AND WHEREAS the Labour Relations Commission has complied with subsection (2) of that
section and has submitted the draft code of practice to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and
Employment;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mary Harney, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, in exercise
of the powers conferred on me by subsections (3) and (6) of that section, the Labour ( Transfer of
Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) order, 1993 (S.I. No 18 of1993) and the
Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) order, 1997
(S.I. No 305 of 1997) and after consultation with the Commission, hereby order as follows:

       2. 1 This Order may be cited as the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 (Code of Practice on
          Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures) (Declaration) Order, 2000.
       3. 2. It is hereby declared the code of practice set out in the Schedule to this Order shall
          be a code of practice for the purpose of the Industrial Relations Act. 1990 (No. 19 of
          1990).
       4. The code of practice set out in the Schedule to the Industrial Relations Act, 1990, Code
          of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures (Declaration) order, 1996 (S.I. No. 117 of 1996),
          is revoked.

         Schedule

  1.     Introduction

         1   Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 provides for the preparation of draft
             codes of Practice by the Labour Relations Commission for submission to the
             Minister, and for the making by him of an order declaring that a draft Code of Practice
             received by him under section 42 and scheduled to the order shall be a Code of
             Practice for the purposes of the said Act.


       2. In May 1999 the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment requested the
          Commission under Section 42 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 to amend the Code
          of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures (S.I. No. 117 of 1996) to take account of the
          recommendations on Individual Representation contained in the report of the High Level
          Group on Trade Union Recognition. The High Level Group, involving the Departments
          of the Taoiseach, Finance and Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Irish Congress
          of Trade Unions (ICTU), the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) and



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           IDA-Ireland, was established under paragraph 9.22 of Partnership 2000 for inclusion
           Employment and Competitiveness to consider proposals submitted by ICTU on the
           Recognition of Unions and the Right to Bargain and to take account of European
           developments and the detailed position of IBEC on the impact of the ICTU proposals.

  3. When preparing and agreeing this Code of Practice, the Commission consulted with
     the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment , ICTU, IBEC, the
     Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Health and Safety Authority and took account of
     the views expressed to the maximum extent possible.

  4. The main purpose of this Code of Practice is to provide guidance to employers,
     employees and their representatives on the general principles which apply in the
     operation of grievance and disciplinary procedures.

2. General


   1        This code of practice contains general guidelines on the application of grievance
            and disciplinary procedures and the promotion of best practice in giving effect to such
            procedures. While the code outlines the principles of fair procedures for employers
            and employees generally, it is of particular relevance to situations of individual
            representation.

   2        While arrangements for handling discipline and grievance issues vary considerably
            from employment to employment depending on a wide variety of factors including the
            terms of contracts of employment, locally agreed procedures, industry agreements and
            whether trade unions are recognised for barging purposes, the principles and
            procedures of this Code of Practice should apply unless alternative agreed procedures
            exist in the workplace which conform to its general provisions for dealing with
            grievance and disciplinary issues.


3. Importance of Procedures



       1     Procedures are necessary to ensure both that while discipline is maintained in the
             workplace by applying disciplinary measures in a fair and consistent manner,
             grievances are handled in accordance with the principles of natural justice, and
             fairness. Apart from considerations of equity and natural justice, the maintenance of a
             good industrial relations atmosphere exists in the workplace requires that acceptable
             fair procedures are in place and observed.

       2     Such procedures serve a duel purpose in that they provide a framework which
             enables management to maintain satisfactory standards and employees to have
             access to procedures whereby alleged failures to comply with these standards may
             be fairly and sensitively addressed. It is important that procedures of this kind exist
             and that the purpose, function and terms of such procedures are clearly understood
             by all concerned.

       3     In the interest of good industrial relations, grievance and disciplinary procedures
             should be in writing and presented in a format and language that is easily
             understood. Copies of the procedures should be given to all employees at the
             commencement of employment and should be included in employee programmes of
             induction and refresher training and, trade union programmes of employee
             representative training. All members of management, including supervisory personnel



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         and all employee representatives should be fully aware of such procedures and
         adhere to their terms.

4.   General Principles

     1   The essential elements of any procedure for dealing with grievance and disciplinary
         issues are that they be rational and fair, that the basis for disciplinary action is clear,
         that the range of penalties that can be imposed is well defined and that an internal
         appeal mechanism is available.

     2   Procedures should be reviewed and updated periodically so that they are consistent
         with changed circumstances in the workplace, developments in employment
         legislation and case law, and good practice generally.


     3   Good practice entails a number of stages in discipline and grievance handling. If not
         resolved, matters are then progressed through a number of steps involving more
         senior management, HR/IR staff, employee representation, as appropriate, and
         referral to a third party, either internal or external, in accordance with any locally
         agreed arrangements.

     4   For the purpose of this Code of practice, “employee representative” includes a
         colleague of the employee‟s choice and a registered trade union but not any other
         person or body unconnected with the enterprise.

     5   The basis of the representation of employees in matters affecting their rights has
         been addressed in legislation, including the protection of Employment Act, 1977;
         The European Communities (Safeguarding of Employees Rights on Transfer of
         undertakings) Regulations, 1980; Safety, Health and Welfare at work Act, 1989;
         Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Act, 196; and the
         Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. Together with the case law derived the
         legislation governing unfair dismissals and other aspects of employment protection,
         this corpus of law set out the proper standards to be applied to the handling of
         grievances, discipline and matters detrimental to the rights of individual employees.

     6   The procedures for dealing with such issues reflecting the varying circumstances of
         enterprises/organisations, must comply with the general principles of natural justice
         and fair procedures which include:

                That the employee grievances are fairly examined and processed;
                That details of any allegations or complaints are put to the employee
                 concerned; ensuring that they understand clearly;
                That the employee concerned is given the opportunity to respond fully to any
                 such allegations or complaints;
                That the employee concerned is given the opportunity to avail of the right to
                 be represented during the procedure;
                That the employee concerned has the right to a fair and impartial
                 determination of the issues concerned, taking into account any
                 representations made by, or on behalf of, the employee and any other
                 relevant or appropriate evidence, factors or circumstances.


     7   These principles may require that the allegations or complaints be set out in writing,
         that the source of the allegations or complaints be given or that the employee
         concerned be allowed to confront or question witnesses.



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        8    As a general rule, an attempt should be made to resolve grievance and disciplinary
             issues between the employee concerned and his or her immediate manager or
             supervisor. This could be done on an informal or private basis.

        9    The consequences of a departure from the rules and employment requirements of
             the enterprise/organisation should be clearly set out in procedures, particularly in
             respect of breaches of discipline which if proved would warrant suspension or
             dismissal.

        10 Disciplinary action may include:
            Caution/Counselling
            An oral warning
            A written warning
            A final written warning
            Suspension without pay
            Transfer to another task. or section of the enterprise
            Demotion
            Some other appropriate disciplinary action short of dismissal
            Dismissal


        11 Generally, the steps in the procedure will be progressive, for example, an oral
           warning, a written warning, a final written warning and dismissal. However, there may
           be instances where more serious action, including dismissal, is warranted at an
           earlier stage. In such instances, the procedures set out at paragraph 6 hereof should
           be complied with.

        12 An employee may be suspended on full pay pending the outcome of an investigation
           into an alleged breach of discipline.

        13 Procedures should set out clearly the different levels in the enterprise or organisation
           at which the various stages of the procedures will be applied.

        14 Warnings should be removed from an employee‟s record after a specified period and
           the employee advised accordingly.

        15 The operation of a good grievance and disciplinary procedure requires the
           maintenance of adequate records. As already stated, it also requires that all
           members of management, including supervisory personnel and employees and their
           representatives be familiar with and adhere to their terms.


Given under my Official Seal,
This 26th day of May 2000

Mary Harney
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment

P.n No 8608

EXPLANATORY NOTE

This note is not part of the Instrument and does not purport to be a legal interpretation.

The effect of this Order is to declare that the draft code of practice set out in the



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Schedule to this Order is a code of practice for the purposes of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.




                                     The Disciplinary Procedure


                                                 PURPOSE

The primary purpose of a disciplinary procedure is to help the employee whose conduct or
performance falls below Westmeath County Childcare Committee Ltd. standards to improve.
While we also wish to maintain compliance with organisational rules and standards, the „help‟
focus should significantly influence the manner and tone of all our investigations and subsequent
actions. The disciplinary procedure is also an effective means of protecting against wrongful
discharge claims.




                                               PROCEDURE

Disciplinary problems require immediate management attention and can usually be corrected by
an early approach to an employee. Where disciplinary measures are required it is agreed that
the following procedures shall apply in all cases and are designed to ensure fairness and
consistency of treatment in similar situations:




                                     STAGE 1 – COUNSELLING

A verbal, non-recorded counselling shall in the first instance, be arranged with the employee and
the employee‟s immediate supervisor.


                           STAGE 2 – RECORDED VERBAL WARNING

A verbal recorded warning shall be given to the employee by their supervisor, in the event of any
other breach of conduct or any aspect of work or conduct that requires improvement. Targets for
improvement must be agreed. A reasonable timescale for achievement of said targets should
also be agreed at this stage.




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                                 STAGE 3 – WRITTEN WARNING

In the event of a subsequent breach of conduct, or of the required improvement not taking place,
a „written warning‟ will be issued to the employee by the County Childcare Committee Staffing,
Finance & Development Working Group. This letter should inform the employee that s/he may be
given a „final written warning‟ if the required and specified improvements are not forthcoming. .
Targets for improvement must be agreed. A reasonable timescale for achievement of said
targets should also be agreed at this stage.


                             STAGE 4 – FINAL WRITTEN WARNING

Should the required improvement(s) not take place, or if a further breach of conduct occurs, the
members will be given a „final written warning‟ by the County Childcare Committee Staffing,
Finance & Development Working Group stating that if the required improvement does not take
place the employee‟s contract will be terminated. Targets for improvement must be agreed. A
reasonable timescale for achievement of said targets should also be agreed at this stage.


                                       STAGE 5 – DISMISSAL

The employee will be dismissed in the event that the conduct or performance has not improved to
the required level following the warnings set out above. The final decision to dismiss will not be
taken by the employees immediate superior, but only by the Chairman of the Committee.


a) With the exception of the habitual offenders it is agreed that should the employees conduct
   improve to the required standard or should the specified improvement in the members
   particular aspect of work take place for at least the periods set out hereunder, the member
   shall revert to the disciplinary stage immediately before the stage at which they were most
   recently disciplined:

Stage 2          6 months without further warning
Stage 3          6 months without further warning
Stage 4          9 months without further warning

b) It is agreed, with the exception of Stage 1, above, that an employee under this procedure
   may be accompanied by an Employee Representative of their choice.


BREACH OF SERIOUS RULE/GROSS MISCONDUCT:

Where summary action under this heading may be required, immediate suspension pending
investigation shall attach to the alleged breach of the most serious rule/gross misconduct. The
main examples under this heading are set out below, and in such cases the following steps shall
apply:

Step A: The employee will be suspended by the Westmeath County Childcare Staffing, Finance
& Development Working Group or the most Senior Manager on duty and sent home pending
further investigation of the alleged offence (with pay to the end of the shift).




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Step B: Following investigation, the employee will be met by the County Childcare Committee
Chairman or Chair of Staffing, Finance & Development Working Group and the Co-Ordinator and
any charges will be put to them at such meeting.

Step C: Following investigation and meeting, the employee may be dismissed/suspended/warned
in writing, as appropriate without recourse to the normal procedure set out above in the event of
Gross Misconduct being established and the provisions (at Clause a) above, shall not apply.

c) In the event of disagreement at any stage of this procedure it is agreed that the provisions of
   the Grievance/Disputes Procedures will be fully utilised in the interests of maintaining good
   industrial relations.




                             EXAMPLES OF GROSS MISCONDUCT

The parties to this agreement agree that it is impractical to list every possible item of gross
misconduct. However, as an example the following breaches of good conduct would render an
employee liable to disciplinary action by the Company:

 Falsification of information supplied on the employment application form, references.

 Reporting for or being at work under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances or having
  same on the premises.

 Theft or fraud.

 Indecent behaviour.

 Abuse or defacement of Company facilities or equipment/other employees property.

 Insubordination, which is defined as refusal to obey supervisor‟s reasonable instructions or
  wilful disobedience when directed to perform work unless the assignment would legitimately
  endanger your safety.

 Falsifying records or reports (includes time cards, misrepresenting script programmes, and/or
  purposely entering inaccurate information on any form).

 Rude or abusive language or behaviour, regardless of provocation towards a client/other
  employee.

 Physical or verbal abuse of another employee.

 Punching another employee‟s time card.


 Possession of an offensive weapon on company property.

 An unreported absence form work of a duration of 3 consecutively scheduled days (job
  abandonment)

 Failure to notify one‟s supervisor when leaving at times other than at the conclusion of the
  work day.




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 Reckless disregard for or wilful violation of any safety or security rules where such disregard
  or violation endangers the safety of any person or the property of the Company, a visitor, or an
  employee.

 Gross neglect of duties or job responsibilities.

 Other serious misconduct, including reporting time worked by another employee or giving a
  false excuse for absence.



GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

The objective of the grievance procedure is to enable grievances to be dealt with promptly and
fairly.

The most satisfactory way in which good working relationships are promoted is through
consultation with employees and through the resolution of grievances as close as possible to the
point of origin.


Stage 1
Any grievance or dispute which arises at the workplace should be discussed, in the first instance,
between the employee(s) and County Childcare Committee Co-Ordinator.


Stage 2
If agreement cannot be reached, the matter should be referred to the County Childcare
Committee Chairman at the earliest opportunity but in any event not later than one week following
the completion of Stage 1. At this stage the grievance may be in writing. If either party considers
necessary/appropriate, they may involve an employee representative. It should be noted that for
group disputes Stages 1 and 2 may be combined.


Stage 3
If agreement cannot be reached at this level, the County Childcare Committee should clarify the
issue in dispute and refer it to the Chairman. At this stage the Co-Ordinator should also be
advised by the County Childcare Committee Chairman of the issue in dispute.

A meeting will then be arranged with the employee or group as soon as reasonably practicable.


Stage 4
Should the parties fail to agree, the grievance may be dealt with as follows:
 By appeal to the County Childcare Committee.
 Ad-hoc arbitration by agreement.
 Under the Scheme for Conciliation and Arbitration for employees who have access to it.
 By reference to the machinery established under the Industrial Relations Act, 1990




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DATA PROTECTION ACT

Should a consumer wish, they must be provided with the following information:-
        What information is held on them
        Where the data came from
        The right to correct any information held on them
        The right to be removed from the mailing list

All information held on our systems is confidential such as home address, income, telephone
numbers, credit card numbers, bank account details etc. Under this law the company and its
employees must comply with certain principles. The ones that apply mainly to employees
concern the question of Disclosure (how the information is used and to whom it is passed to).

You should always establish the identity of the person asking for the information by carrying out
standard checks on the date of birth and address details. You can not take instruction from
someone else to alter the details held on our systems.


Another aspect of the act is to protect “against unauthorised use, loss, disclosure or destruction
and against accidental loss or destruction”. Some of safeguards are listed below:-
        It is imperative that your password is not shared or known by others
        Unauthorised/illegal software/hardware must not be introduced
        All sensitive data/disks should be kept secure
        Ensure that you know who is in the building at all times

It is your responsibility to ensure that you maintain the safeguards listed.



RATES OF PAY

The rates of pay, allowances and other pay related conditions are determined through
negotiations between the staff organisations and management representatives.

Incremental credit may be given for previous experience where a salary grade exists. Documents
confirming experience with previous employers should accompany applications for credit.


PAY FREQUENCY

You will be paid weekly by Standing Order. The normal working week is 41.5 hours with
1.15hours for lunch break.


DEDUCTIONS FROM PAY

INCOME TAX

All employers are obliged to deduct income tax from salaries, wages and allowances paid to their
employees.

The Inspector of Taxes determines the amount of tax free allowance due to each employee and
this is notified to both employer and employee by means of a “tax free allowance certificate”. The
rate at which tax is deducted is also indicated on the certificate.



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Until a tax free allowance certificate is issued tax must be deducted at emergency rates.
Therefore each employee should submit a certificate of tax free allowance to his/her supervisor.


SOCIAL WELFARE

Pay related social insurance is deducted from salaries and wages of all employees. The
deduction is in respect of the health services contribution and the social insurance contribution.
N.B. Revised Social Insurance status and conditions of service of certain officers – With certain
                                                                                 th
exceptions employees appointed to pensionable officer posts on or after the 6 April 1995 are
liable for class A rate of PRSI. This change has implications for superannuation contributions and
pension entitlements. Officers to whom this change applies may be entitled to social insurance
benefits during periods of sick leave or maternity leave. Such employees are required on
recruitment to sign mandate(s) authorising the Dept. of Social Welfare to make payments in
respect of such benefits to their employing authority.




LEAVE ENTITLEMENT

All applications for leave should be made in writing to the Co-Ordinator on the leave application
form. If you are unable to attend work due to illness or other reasons you should notify the Co-
Ordinator as soon as possible, but not later than two hours after the start of duty. Subsequently
you should apply formally in writing for the day‟s leave.
When you are absent owing to illness for more than two consecutive days, a medical certificate
must be submitted on the third day. However, the County Childcare Committee may require a
medical certificate even though the absence does not exceed two days.
All leave records are kept on file in the County Childcare Committee offices.
Absence without leave will lead to disciplinary action. Employees absent without leave for more
than five days will be deemed to have terminated employment.

ANNUAL LEAVE
                                st                 st
The leave year extends from 1 January to 31 December and application for leave should be
made on the leave application form at least two weeks in advance where there is no leave roster
in operation. In special circumstances the Committee can waive this requirement.

SICK LEAVE

Absence because of illness must be notified to the Co-Ordinator by telephone early on the first
day of illness and a medical certificate must be sent so as to arrive with the Co-Ordinator on the
third day of illness. Two consecutive days may be taken without a medical certificate.

UNCERTIFIED SICK LEAVE
It is the company policy that in the event of uncertified sick leave exceeding 7 days in a 12 month
period, there will be no entitlement to pay for the eight and subsequent days.




MEDICAL

Arrangements in the event of an employee having to attend for a medical examination are as
outlined in your contract of employment.


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MATERNITY LEAVE
All employees covered by the Act are entitled to a minimum period of 22 weeks maternity leave,
subject to certain conditions. Westmeath County Childcare Committee will pay staff for this leave
less social welfare benefits.

Of the 22 weeks, an employee must take at least two weeks before the end of the week in which
her baby is due (as medically certified) and four weeks after that week. The remaining 20 weeks
may be taken before or after the birth as the employee wishes.

From the 1st of March 2007 the entitlement is for a minimum period of 26 weeks.


ADDITIONAL MATERNITY LEAVE
An additional period of twelve weeks leave may be taken immediately following the maternity
leave period. This is referred to as ‟additional maternity leave‟. No social welfare benefits is
payable during this period.

From 1sth March 2007 the entitlement is for a period of 16 weeks.


COMPASSIONATE LEAVE

An employee may be allowed up to a maximum of five working days with pay on the death of a
husband, wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister.

On the death of a near relative the Committee may allow one or two days with pay or without pay
according to circumstances.

SPECIAL LEAVE

Subject to approval, which should be sought from the County Childcare Committee, special leave
with pay may be granted in the following circumstances:
    (a) Where appointed by a Government Minister to be a member of any Commission,
        Committee or Statutory Board or a Director of a Company – special leave to attend
        meetings.
    (b) When invited by a Local Appointments Commission, Civil Service Commission, a
        Government Department, a Health Board or Local Authority to act on a selection board –
        special leave to serve on the Board.
    (c) For annual training with the Defence Forces/reserves – details on request.
    (d) For sitting examinations which in the opinion of the County Childcare Committee are
        relevant to the work on which the employee is engaged, and where the leave is
        necessary for the examination.
    (e) For attendance at certain courses, conferences, etc. relevant to the work on which the
        employee is engaged – leave with pay.




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ADOPTION LEAVE

Paid adoption leave of 16 weeks is available to female employees on the occasion of their
adopting a child. Application for this leave can be made at the stage where the employee
receives notice of acceptance by the adoption society. The leave commences as soon as the
child is placed with the adoptive parents.




Fire Threat

On discovery of a fire
 Raise the alarm immediately
 Warn colleagues in the immediate area
 Notify a member of the management team and/or call the emergency services

N.B Do not attempt to tackle the fire unless you are fully trained to do so


When the alarm sounds
 Gather personal belongings close at hand
 Remain calm and do not panic
 Go to the nearest fire exit unless otherwise advised
 Assemble outside the main in your normal working group for a fire alert.

Do not
 Run or cause panic
 Leave doors open
 Leave the assembly area or re-enter the building until advised to do so




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                                      HEALTH & SAFETY STATEMENT



To each employee, participant, contractor or visitor:

This document sets out the Safety policy of the Company and specifies the means provided to
achieve that policy. Our objective is to endeavour to provide a safe and healthy work environment
for all our employees. The success of this policy will depend on your co-operation. It is therefore
important that you read the document carefully and understand your role and the overall
arrangement for health and safety in this centre.

Safety Policy:

This Safety Declaration is made by Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited.

In order to state clearly its policy on safety in relation to its premises at 6 St Johns Terrace
Blackhall, Mullingar

(hereinafter referred to as the “premises”) taken together with the statement identifying hazards
and setting out risk reduction policies, it forms the safety statement in respect of the premises.

Objective:

Our objective is to provide a safe and healthy environment for all members of our staff and
directors and those who may work in or, use the premises for any of the purposes for which it is
designated.

The success of the policy will depend on your co-operation. It is therefore important that you take
notice of this declaration and acquaint yourself with this document, which will form the Safety
statement you should understand the overall arrangements for health and safety within the
premises.

Recognises its duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the Safety, Health and Welfare
of all its members and of all members of the public using the premises or working in them as
required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1989 and all regulations existing under the Act
and under new legislation such as the Safety in Industry Acts 1955 and 1980 or as required under
European Community law.


Muriel Martin is the Safety Officer. The Safety Officer‟s functions shall be:

    (1) to ensure compliance as far as practicable with all the risk reduction policies set out in the
        statement identifying hazards and setting out risk reduction policies
    (2) to ensure that all those using the premises are aware of such risk reduction policies
    (3) to ensure that all safety equipment on the premises is in full working order
    (4) to advise the committee of such further safety measures or equipment as may from time
        to time be required and such further hazards as shall from time to time arise.


The Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited recognises its responsibility to:




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            (a) Provide instruction to all members, to those who may work in or use the
                premises to ensure that as far as it is reasonably practicable the premises are
                utilised in a manner which will ensure the health and safety of all working in or
                using it.
            (b) Make available all necessary safety devices and proper equipment and to
                provide guidance on their use.

All are requested to co-operate in the operation of this policy as set out in the Health and Safety
and Welfare Act 1989 as follows:

To take reasonable care for his/her own safety, health and welfare and that of any person who
may be affected by his/her acts or omissions while on the premises.
To co-operate with the Safety Officer.
To such an extent as will enable them to comply with any of the relevant statutory provision.
To report to the Safety Officer without unreasonable delay, any defects in plant, equipment, place
of work or system of work which might endanger safety, health or welfare of which he/she
becomes aware.
To deist from intentionally or recklessly interfering with or misusing any appliance protective
clothing, equipment or other means or things provided in pursuance of any of the relevant
statutory provisions or otherwise for securing the safety, health or welfare of persons on the
premises.




MAIN OFFICE

    HAZARD IDENTIFIED                  RISK REDUCTION ACTION                           RISK CATEGORY
Incorrect use of equipment        The necessary training has been
If computers are used with        given, for the correct procedure to
wet hands the staff risks         follow when using a                              Medium
electric shock.                   computer/printer/photocopier.

Prolonged exposure to the         Adequate breaks from the computer
Computer Screen                   are provided.
Staff risk headaches and          A wrist pad is provided to avoid wrist           Medium
eyestrain if they spend long      strain.
looking at a computer screen.     Energy Star Computers are provided
They risk wrist strain if they    to ensure safety from exposure to
spend too long typing data        radiation. Also anti-glare screens are           Medium
into the computer.                included on each P.C.

Computer Chairs                        1. Swivel chairs have been
                                          provided with lumbar support.
                                       2. Check that the chair is in the           Medium
                                          correct position before sitting
                                          down as they are on                      High
                                          coasters.
                                       3. Do not swing on chairs
                                                                                   High




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GENERAL BUILDING

HAZARD IDENTIFIED                  RISK REDUCTION ACTION                            RISK CATEGORY
Fire Prevention                    Fire Extinguishers

If there are not the proper        To be in place and checked daily to
facilities to prevent the          ensure that they are fully charged.              Medium
spread of fire, then
employees may face serious         Fire Extinguishers to be the correct
injury should a fire break out.    type i.e. A. B. C. Category of fire.
                                                                                    Medium
                                   Fire blankets to be in place in the
                                   kitchen areas.
                                                                                    Medium

Use of kettle                      Follow manufactures instruction
                                   carefully. Use caution when moving               High
                                   with kettle with boiling water.

Use of Binder                      Follow manufactures instructions
                                   Carefully. Use caution when moving               Medium
                                   and lifting equipment
Use of Guillotine                  Follow manufactures instructions
                                   carefully. No staff member may use
                                   this equipment unsupervised by                   High
                                   either by Muriel Martin or Teresa                Never use
                                   Hynes. Care should be taken when                 unsupervised
                                   moving this equipment ensue that
                                   safety lock is in place.

Detergents and Cleaning            Follow manufacturers instructions
Products.                          carefully.                                       High
                                   Use of rubber gloves is essential.
If the detergents and
cleaning products are not
used properly they could
cause skin irritation.



GENERAL BUIDLING

                                   RISK REDUCTION ACTION                            RISK CATEGORY
HAZARD IDENTIFIED

Injury Treatment                   All posters listing Doctor on Call,
                                   Hospital, Ambulance Service etc. be              Medium
Lack of training and facilities    clearly shown.
could result in delay in injury
treatment leading to serious       Staff to do First Aid Course.                    Medium
consequences.
                                   First Aid Kit to be examined on a                Medium
                                   weekly basis.




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General Housekeeping              Representatives to be fully aware of
                                  the need to work area clean and tidy
If the work area is untidy and    and free from obstruction at all times.          High
not kept clean and at all
times then accidents and          Representatives to highlight areas
injuries are more likely to       where untidiness is occurring.                   High
occur.


Staircase                         Please take care when proceeding up              High
                                  and down the stairs. Always hold the
                                  handrail and take care. Alert the
                                  safety officer is you witness any
                                  defects in the stairs or tears in the
                                  carpet.

Manual Handling                   Training in manual handling
                                  techniques for trainees in areas
If material, tools and            identified as carrying a significant risk
equipment are not correctly       or injury.                                       High
handled when they are being
used then there is the            All staff are alerted to poor practices
possibility of injury to back,    in manual handling and will remind
body and hands.                   other staff of risk.‟
                                  Always follow instructions as per
                                  Manual Handling training when lifting            High
                                  equipment of heavy loads especially
                                  when changing Ballygowan Water
                                  Coolers.


                                  All staff must hold a full drivers
Driving for Work Purposes         licence. All staff must ensure that              High
                                  their vehicle is in a road worthy
                                  condition. All staff must indemnify
                                  WCCC and provide details of Class 2
                                  insurance to cover them while they
                                  are at work.
                                  Staff are not permitted to use a
                                  mobile phone while driving .
                                  All staff must be medically fit to drive




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Recruitment Policy


The purpose of this policy is to ensure clarity about recruitment and selection for Westmeath
County Childcare Committee and to provide guidelines for the people responsible for recruitment
and selection and to ensure a consistent and fair approach.

       Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited is committed to ensuring that the
        procedures and practices used in recruitment and selection are fair, consistent and
        effective.
       Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited is committed to ensuring that the
        recruitment and selection policy and procedures comply with equal opportunities
        legislation and policy.
       Recruitment of staff will be made from the widest possible field. Therefore positions will
        be advertised internally and externally, including through the local media. Internal
        recruitment may apply and will be judged on a position by position basis.
       Applications of present staff will be treated on an equal basis with external applications.
       Individuals will be selected on the basis of merit. Candidates for positions will not be
        treated less favourably on the grounds of sex (gender), marital status, disability, age,
        religion, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, or put at a disadvantage
        by unjustifiable conditions or requirements.
       Advertisements and information sent to candidates about posts should state clearly that
        Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited is an equal opportunities employer.
       Job sharing will be considered.
       A person specification will be drawn up for each post to be filled, describing the
        experience, skills, and other attributes required to carry out the job.
       A job description will be drawn up for each post outlining the duties, tasks and
        responsibilities for the job.
       Every effort will be made in representing both sexes on interview panels.
       Interview panels will be given guidelines on good interview practice and on the prevention
        of discrimination.
       For each vacancy advertised a file will be kept for twelve months from the date of
        appointment which contains the following: Candidates‟ Applications, Person
        Specification, Job Description, Job Advertisement, Record of Candidates‟ Assessment,
        Correspondence with Candidates.
       Any candidate who feels that they have been discriminated against has a right of
        complaint, which can be made in writing to the Management Committee.




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POLICY GUIDELINES ON BULLYING IN THE WORKPLACE


Bullying is the form of harassment or intimidation, which can affect the health and well being of
individuals or groups of staff.

It can create an environment in the workplace, which damages morale and hinders the proper
performance of employees.

Bullying will not be tolerated in the Westmeath County Childcare Committee‟s work environment.


                                                 PRINCIPLES

The Westmeath County Childcare Committee recognises the right of every employee to be
treated with dignity and respect at work and is committed to ensuring that all staff members are
free to do their work without harassment or bullying.


                                             WHAT IS BULLYING

Bullying at work constitutes offensive treatment through vindictive, cruel, malicious or humiliating
attempts to undermine an individual employee or groups of employees. These persistent negative
attacks on their personal and professional performance are totally unpredictable, irrational and
often unseen. Bullying can cause such chronic stress and anxiety that the employee gradually
loses belief in themselves, suffering physical ill health and mental stress.

Bullying is by no means always characterised by overt aggression and interpersonal rows but
rather more frequently typified by covert and manipulative behaviour patterns which have the
effect of undermining a person‟s confidence and personality by means of a continual occurrence
of minor and often visible actions. While bullying may manifest through expressions of
aggressions such as showing or personal insults, this behaviour is often behind closed doors
thereby making it very difficult for the victim to gain a credible hearing. In addition, the bully will
frequently be well versed in how “to manage” complaints from the victim thereby minimising their
influence or nullifying them. A typical strategy on the part of the bully at work is to mask the
problem under the guise of work performance or a clash of personalities.


                                                  PHYSICAL


       Gesturing of a sexual nature
       Unnecessary touch
       Indecent exposure
       Actual assault, up to rape


                                                   VISUAL


       Displaying pornographic material at the workplace.

Harassment most frequently takes two forms:



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       Harassment of a more junior employee by a superior. This may be linked to success in
        promotion or transfer applications and in any event represents an abuse of authority or
        status by the senior employee.
       Harassment by colleagues, without any element of abuse of authority or seniority.


                          WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE BEING BULLIED

You can approach the matter through informal or formal procedures.


                                        INFORMAL PROCEDURES


       Talk to colleagues, friends or family for advice. It is important to get support for yourself.
       Check with colleagues to see if anyone is receiving similar treatment.
       Talk to your union/staff association representative.
       If possible, talk to the bully and make it clear that his/her behaviour is unwelcome and
        ask them to stop. (The intimidating nature of bullying may mean that this approach is not
        possible except in the very early stages of the problem).
       Approach your Co-ordinator informally for assistance. If this is not possible, e.g. if the Co-
        ordinator is the bully, you can approach a more senior manager. If this is not possible you
        should approach the personnel officer.




                                               PREVENTION

All staff members have a responsibility to ensure that the work place is free from harassment or
bullying.
As bullying can at times be unintentional all staff should examine their own treatment of fellow
staff members in the light of these new guidelines. It is not correct to assume that bullying only
happens in cases when a supervisor/manager bullies or harasses one of his/her staff. Bullying
can occur between staff in the same level and between staff in different grades.




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                                     FREEDOM OF INFOAMTION ACT




Basics of F.O.I.

   A legal right to official information
   Correction of personal information
   Reasons for decisions affecting the individual
   Release rather hold information
   Must disregard reasons for application of information e.g. possibility of litigation
   Keep proper records including reasons for decisions
   On personal files, block out details about other people


Requests for information
 If information which is usually for sale is requested, then F.O.I. does not apply
 Goodwill. Release information where possible
 Immediate action. Contact A.D.M. request in writing


How applications are processed
 Acknowledge applications within 2 weeks
 Locate all records
 Consult others if their information (personal, business or “in confidence”) is requested
 Information should be delivered within 4 weeks

Who will come under F.O.I.
 ADM along with a range of other public bodies
 Beneficiaries under contract to ADM will not be public bodies for FOI purposes
 However their records in providing a service under contract for service to ADM will be
   potentially accessible under FOI


What records can be requested
                              st
 All records created after 21 April 1998
 All personal records whenever created
                                       st
 All personal records created after 21 April 1995
 Earlier records if needed to understand later records which are accessed
 All decisions made by ADM from November 2002


Beneficiaries
 Beneficiaries must furnish copies of all documents relevant to the request ADM for decision
 While ADM will consult with beneficiary, final decision on release of information rests with
   ADM
 Records management critical issue for beneficiaries

Impact of FOI on staff
    Write objectively
    Support opinions with facts


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       Ensure it is relevant to the matter
       Document reasons for decisions
       Refer to policies in decision making
       Accurate recording, filing and retrieval of records




INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY POLICY

This policy outlines the procedures that all employees of Westmeath County Childcare must
follow when using e-mail, accessing the internet, using other channels of internal and or external
communication and in the use of all computers and other technologies and systems employed
within Westmeath County Childcare. The policy explains what you are allowed to do and where
legal problems may arise for Westmeath County Childcare. and or yourself in a number of key
areas. These areas are:

•       Internal ICT systems
•       Electronic mail
•       Harassment
•       Defamation
•       Pornography
•       Internet
•       Confidential information

Failure to comply with the rules set out in this policy may:
    (a) result in legal claims against Westmeath County Childcare or yourself, and or
    (b) lead to disciplinary action being taken against you, which in certain circumstances may
         lead to summary dismissal since breaches of the policy may be viewed as gross
         misconduct.

It is important that you familiarise yourself with this policy. Should you have any queries please
refer them to your immediate Manager or Supervisor.

You are also reminded that this policy will also apply to other means of communications within
Westmeath County Childcare and the outside world and includes such matters as use of
telephone, fax or letter correspondence, verbal, written and electronically transferred data.


OPERATION OF HANDBOOK

This handbook comes into force at the date of signing below by the employee and the Managing
Director of Westmeath County Childcare. Employees and the Company are required to abide by
this handbook and any existing Terms and Conditions of Employment, which are in writing or are
applied through custom and practice at Westmeath County Childcare. The Handbook shall
remain in force, and cater for amendments agreed in writing by both the employee and
management until the termination of the contract of employment between Westmeath County
Childcare and the employee. Additions and amendments may be considered by management to
this handbook from time to time. Where this arises any such additions and or amendments will be
discussed with employees and each member of staff will subsequently be issued with a revised
document. New employees will receive this handbook as well as their contract of employment at
the time of joining the company.




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                                               APPENDIX 1


                    LEAVE MATTERS – BASIC LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS

                                  Female Employees                        Male Employees
Annual Leave                      20 days ( if work 1,365+hours)          20 days (if worked
Organisation of Working Time      unless otherwise stated. Part           1,365+hours) unless otherwise
Act, 1997                         time employee: 8% of the                stated. Part time employee:
                                  hours worked in a leave year            8% of the hours worked in a
                                  OR 1/3 of a working week for            leave year OR 1/3 of a
                                  each month in which                     working week for each month
                                  employee worked 117+hours               in which employee worked
                                                                          117+hours
Public Holidays                   9 public holidays:                      9 public holidays:
Organisation of Working Time      - paid day off on the holiday           - paid day off on the holiday
Act, 1997                         - paid day off that month               - paid day off that month
                                  - extra day‟s annual leave              - extra day‟s annual leave
                                  - extra day‟s pay provided they         - extra day‟s pay provided they
                                  have worked 40 hours in                 have worked 40 hours in
                                  previous 5 weeks.                       previous 5 weeks
Maternity Leave                   22 weeks statutory (2 weeks             No entitlement to leave bar
Maternity Leave Act, 1994 and     to be taken before birth) and           once-off right to paid time off
Maternity Protection              12 weeks additional unpaid              work to attend the two
(Amendment) Act, 2004             leave. Also entitled to                 antenatal classes immediately
                                  reasonable time off for medical         prior to the birth. In event of
                                  visits connected with                   mother‟s death, entitle to the
                                  pregnancy                               following:
                                                                                                          th
                                                                          _ if she dies before the 16
                                          st
                                  From 1 March 2007 it will               week of confinement may take
                                                                                                          th
                                  change to 26 weeks statutory            leave until expiry of that 16
                                  and additional unpaid leave             week.      Also entitled to 8
                                  will change to 16 weeks.                additional weeks.
                                                                                                   th
                                                                          - if she dies after 16 week,
                                                                          may take leave until expiry of
                                                                             th
                                                                          24 week…

Adoptive Leave                                                            Sole male adopter: 16
                                          st
Adoptive Leave Act, 1995          From 1 March 2006 a total of            consecutive week‟s statutory
                                  20 consecutive weeks                    and additional adoptive leave
                                  statutory paid leave with 12            of 8 consecutive weeks
                                  weeks additional unpaid                 unpaid.
                                  adoptive leave also available.          Leave only available to father
                                              st
                                  And from 1 March 2007 at                in event of mother‟s death for
                                  total of 24 consecutive weeks           entire period if mothers dies
                                  statutory paid leave with 16            on or after the date of
                                  weeks additional unpaid                 placement. Father also
                                  adoptive leave also available.          entitled to entire period of
                                                                          additional adoptive leave or
                                                                          balance of period if mother
                                                                          dies on or after the
                                                                          commencement of additional
                                                                          adoptive leave.

Carer’s Leave                     13 – 65 weeks if continuously           13 – 65 weeks if continuously
Carer’s Leave Act, 2001           employed by that employer for           employed by that employer for


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                                  12 months                               12 months
Parental Leave                    14 weeks per child under 8 if           14 weeks per child under 8 if
Parental Leave Act, 1998          continuously employed by that           continuously employed by that
                                  employer for 12 months. In              employer for 12 months. In
                                  cases of adoption, leave                cases of adoption, leave
                                  available for child between             available for child between
                                  ages of 3 and 8.                        ages of 3 and 8.
Force Majeur Leave                3 days in any 12 month period           3 days in any 12 month period
Parental Leave Act, 1998          or 5 days in 36 month period            or 5 days in 36 month period




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I have read and fully under stand all the information and procedures contained in this staff
handbook .



Signed: ________________________________
Employee


Signed: ________________________________
Employee


Signed: ________________________________
Employee


Signed: ________________________________
Employee


Signed: ________________________________
Employee


Signed: ________________________________
Employee

Signed: ________________________________
Employee


Signed: ________________________________
Employee




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Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited


         Internal Financial Procedure

                               March 2007




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                   MEMBERS OF WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE




               COMPOSITION OF WESTMEATH COUNTY CHILDCARE COMMITTEE

Committee Members

Officers                                         Organisation represented

Chairperson            Christopher Murtagh       Parents Representative
Vice Chairperson       Regina Bushell            National Voluntary representative
Secretary              Patricia Gibney           Westmeath County Development Board
Treasurer              Frank Murtagh             Partnership & Community Groups
                       Eamonn Farrell            Health Services Executive
                       Vacant                    Dept. of Enterprise Trade and Employment
                       Anna Marie Smith          National Voluntary Childcare Organisations
                       Rina McKenna              VEC
                       Jimmy Redmond             Service Provider representative
                       Joyce Furlong             Community & Voluntary Sector
                       Liz Fletcher              Community & Voluntary Pillar
                       Helen Flynn               Fás representative
                       Orla McEntee              Pobal representative
                       Ann Holt                  DSCFA
                       Willie Penrose            Community Childcare representative
                       `Mairead Reynolds         Department of Education
                       Tracey Tallon             Westmeath County Enterprise Board
                       Ann Galvin                Westmeath Community Development Board

Sub-Committees


PESC (Project Evaluation Sub Committee)
Ann Gerethy, Louise Meehan, Tracey Tallon, Chris Murtagh, Orla McEntee, Muriel Martin and County Council
Representative

1.1.2      Staff, Finance & Development Working Group
Chris Murtagh, Patricia Gibney, Frank Murtagh, Ann Holt,

1.1.3      Quality Sub Group
Anna-Marie Smith, Regina Bushell, Joyce Furlong, Ann Gerathy, Louise Meehan, Jimmy Redmond, Eamonn Farrell,
Caroline O’ Connor-Hughes, Martina Boyce




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Structure of Company




                                            MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE




Staffing,                                       Quality Sub
Finance      &                                  Group                                                PESC Sub group
Development
Working Group




            Co-ordinator

                                                                                         Part-time
                                                                                         Contract
                                                                                         Workers




    Clerical                Development
    Officer                 Workers




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Registered company number
636684R


Charitable status:

Yes – No. CHY 14993

Limited Company

Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited was incorporated under the Companies Acts
                     st
1963 to 1999 on 21 of August 2001.




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Westmeath County Childcare Committee

Westmeath County Childcare Committee was established in May 2001 and is a key element of
the Government‟s co-ordinated strategy to develop quality childcare in Ireland. The membership
of Westmeath County Childcare Committee comprises nominated representatives from Statutory
Bodies, Social Partners, Community & Voluntary Sector, Childcare Providers, Parents, non-
voluntary Childcare Organisations, Partnerships and Community Groups.

The purpose of Westmeath County Childcare Committee is to assist in the co-ordination of
Childcare, both nationally and locally and to assist in prioritising funding. This purpose is broadly
in line with the Policy Context of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform for County
Childcare Committees.

The key aims of Westmeath County Childcare Committee are:
    To develop a co-ordinated strategy for childcare provision in Westmeath
    To increase the supply of Childcare Services
    To monitor the implementation of the Strategy
    To support and develop local networks of Childcare Providers
    To establish and maintain effective links with the appropriate county structures – County
       Development Board, Local Development Board, Health Boards, National Childcare
       Strategy etc.

The core action of the County Childcare Committee is the development of a County Childcare
Plan 2007 – 2010. The 3-year strategy will cover the direction set out by the Committee based on
a shared vision and analysis of the needs within the county.




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Accounts Practice


   Two current accounts has been set up with AIB, Mullingar A/C No. 28209065 (EOCP grant)
    and a second account for match funding No. 28209222.
   Cheque books issued and there are four signatories who are assigned to sign cheques –
    there must be two of these signatures on each cheque.
   Pre-signing of blank cheques is prohibited.
   Bank requisition form to be filled in (name and purpose of payment) and approved at Staff,
    Finance and Working Group meeting.
   Cheques made only on the strength of supported certified documentation.
   Cheque requisition form to be attached to invoice or certified documentation.
   Bank statements are issued at end of each month.
   Bank statements to be reconciled with cheques journal at end of each month
   The clerical officer is responsible for cheques journal and cash book, bank reconciliation,
    petty cash book and is overseen by the Co-ordinator.
   Four members of the Committee are assigned to sign cheques – two signatures on each
    cheque. These four members are Patricia Gibney, Frank Murtagh, Ann Holt and Muriel
    Martin. (Muriel Martin can only sign cheques up to €5,000).
   The cheque books are kept in a locked drawer in a cabinet.
   Accountant is appointed each year at the AGM which is normally held in February. It has
    been RBK who is normally assigned. (responsible for returns to companies office)
   The clerical officer is responsible for the maintenance of the Assets Register, minutes of
    management and staffing and finance committee meetings, monthly returns to revenue.
    These are reviewed and checked by the Co-Ordinator.
   Records of all “other” funders are kept on relevant files.

Cash Book – Postal Receipts

   Income sources and collection points identified
   Restrictive crossing applied to cheques etc.
   Adequate arrangements made to safeguard cheques/cash whilst on hands
   Official pre-numbered receipt forms (in duplicate) issued for all income received by staff
   Individual receipts analysed and entered in the Cash Book
   Cash Book to be totalled on a monthly basis and reconciled with bank statement.
   Direct credits to bank to be extracted from bank statements and entered in Cash Book.
   Bank Reconciliation to be carried out on a monthly basis.




Funding:

       Our main source of funding is from the Office of the Minister for Children and sourced
        through Pobal.
       Athlone Community Task Force agreed to pay half the salary for one full time
        Development Worker to the end of 2002, this amounted to €6,000.
       We got a temporary loan at the beginning of April 2002 of €2,000 from Westmeath
        Community Development Ltd. to cover our wages for the first few weeks. This was repaid
        in June 2002. (was not used)
       Up to April 2002 Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited operated their account
        through Westmeath County Council and there was an outstanding balance of €11,211




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        from the first quarter which was reimbursed in July 2002 from the Westmeath County
        Childcare Committee account.
       Other funders include Health Services Executive, Mullingar Credit Union and Westmeath
        County Council, Comhairle and Course Fees.




Payment records/Cheques journal

       Details of issued cheques (including cancelled cheques) entered sequentially in cheques
        journal on excel
       Payments analysed and charged to the appropriate funding category at the time of entry,
        name and purpose of payment to be stated.
       Cheques journal to be totalled on a monthly basis.
       Separate page to be kept in cheques journal each month for recording all payments.
       Direct debits and Standing Orders by bank extracted from bank statements and entered
        in payments records.
       At the end of each 3 months the totals from the proceeding three months to be extracted
        and recorded and signed by the Co-ordinator and Clerical Officer and dated.
       The cumulative figures for the three months are used to prepare the      quarterly
        returns for submission to Pobal.

Petty Cash

   A Petty Cash book to be maintained to keep records of all minor expenses.
   These expenses must be supported by receipts or some form of documentation – dated for
    each payment.
   It is necessary to draw down appropriate cheque each month to keep the Petty Cash at
    €100.00 at beginning of each month.
   The clerical Officer is responsible for maintaining and reconciling the Petty Cash float.
   Receipts pertaining to previous month‟s expenditure to be placed in an envelope and noted
    on same and filed as supporting documentation for the cheque issued.
   No IOU‟s should be permitted from Petty Cash.
   No personal cheques should be cashed.
   Details of monthly balancing and reimbursement to the original set amount to be carried out.




                                       TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

Documentation of all travel and subsistence to be recorded on T & S Forms for which public
service regulations have been adopted.
Rates of travel and subsistence are paid in line with Public Service rates.
Documentation of all staff members for travel and subsistence to be recorded on the T & S File
and all claim forms to be signed by the claimant and reviewed and certified by the Coordinator
before being submitted for payment at the end of each month.
It is the responsibility of each member of staff to fill in their own T & S form at the end of each
month and this is reviewed for payment at the Staffing and Finance meeting. An insurance
declaration has been signed by each member of staff and is kept in the personnel file.




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Quarterly Reports

Quarterly returns prepared and signed by Co-ordinator and Clerical Officer to be presented
quarterly to the Board.
Monthly reports also given to the Staffing and Finance Committee.
Bank Reconcilliations and quarterly returns prepared by Clerical Officer and checked and
overseen by Co-Ordinator and Staffing & Finance Committee.



Quarterly Returns to Pobal
 Quarterly returns to be prepared and returned to Pobal
 These returns to be prepared on a payments basis using the cumulative cheques journal total
   (excluding reimbursable payments) for the three respective months and returned by the set
   date to Pobal. Preparation by the Clerical Officer and checked and overseen by the Co-
   Ordinator.
 The returns should only include actual payments to the end of that particular quarter.
 At the end of the quarter there will be a number of bills/invoices which are due to be paid but
   have not yet been processed at the end of the quarter, these should be listed and totalled
   separately and included as commitments on the return forms. They do not form part of the
   payments to date.
 There will also be a number of projects/grants which are approved by the Board but are not
   paid at the end of the quarter. These should be listed under the different measures/actions
   and included in the commitments not payments, even if they are due for processing shortly
   after the end of the quarter dates.
 It is important that the Auditor/Accountant is familiar with the quarterly returns, but it is not
   necessary for them to compile same. However they must complete a reconciliation between
   the quarterly returns and the annual accounts as at the year end. The Accountant submits a
   detailed audit of the annual accounts for the AGM.



Purchasing
 EU and national procurements requirements observed.
 Three quotations/tenders to be sought for all purchases of significance in quantity and /or
   value. (€3,000 or over)
 Board approval required for all major purchases.
 Actual quotations/tenders retained at least until after the annual audit of the accounts.
 Orders by phone confirmed in writing.
 Invoices checked with orders, delivery dockets etc. and duly entered prior to certification for
   payment.
 Payment of cheques made on monthly basis or bi-monthly.
 Paid invoices to be filed in cheque number order together with cheque requisition.
 It is the clerical officer‟s job to keep a supply of stationary and ordering of office equipment.




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Personnel


   WCCC have a staff handbook which will be read through with all staff members
   Personnel policy statement drawn up by the Co-Ordinator.
   Recruitment and appointment records kept centrally.
   Terms of employment, remuneration, pension arrangements etc. stated in writing
   Employment contracts to be kept in file.
   Employment history record kept for each staff member (including part time).
   Standing record kept for approved rates of pay are kept on the wages file
   Attendance rules observed and annual leave entitlements taken.
   Holiday leave recorded.




Salaries and Wages

       All recruitment of staff is advertised locally.
       Scoring sheet is kept on each applicant.
       All applicants are rated and then notified as to whether they have been successful or not.
       Each member of staff has a file containing cv or application form, employment contract,
        salary increments and any other relevant information.
       Wages and salaries are recorded on the wages package Thesaurus, password is WCCC
       Returns are made to the Collector General on a monthly basis by way of P30 form.
       All staff and Co-Ordinator are funded under EOCP and subsequently NCIP, their
        PRSI/PAYE is deducted from this funding, as are their salaries.
       Pension schemes taken up with Eagle Star in week No. 19 of 2003.
       Pensions are deducted monthly as per annual budget agreement and emailed to Eagle
        Star prsa@eaglestar.ie
       Wages are paid on a weekly basis by Standing Order.
       It is the responsibility of the clerical officer to enter the weekly amount on wages package
        and overseen by the Co-Ordinator.
       Annual holidays are passed by the Co-Ordinator and documented on file, the file is
        located in Staff Holiday File.



Projects Procedure


       A separate file to be kept for each project.
       Each separate item of documentation on file should be duly certified.
       Data on each file should include application for cost estimates, assessment of application
        plan, committee approval, grant or loan proposals/advances (including dates), matching
        funding arrangements (where appropriate) paid invoices (copies where partnership/group
        arranges to pay suppliers directly in lieu of making grant advances to promoters), interim
        inspection reports and final evaluation/assessment report.
       Any individuals or groups who receive grant aid of €635 or more from the Westmeath
        County Childcare Committee that is paid from the EOCP funding must supply their tax


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        reference number and confirmation that their tax affairs are in order. In addition, where
        the grant aid is €6,500 or more a tax clearance cert or C2 is required.
       It should also contain details of date of application, approval, payments date of each
        instalment, cheque no. and total expenditure to date.
       Contract to be signed by Committee member / Co-ordinator following approval and dated.
       Approval of grants to be sanctioned by the Management Committee and signed by either
        the Co-Ordinator and/or Committee member.
       It is the responsibility of the person overseeing the individual action to keep the relevant
        file on same.
       Periodic checks to be carried out on the project files by the Co-Ordinator / Development
        Worker/Childminder.
       The Committee must not apply EOCP funding to an action or element of an action that
        has already been/can be fully funded from another mainstream funding source.




Enquiries:

       All telephone enquiries are to be logged in a book and dealt with appropriately

       Information leaflets will be made available to callers to the office

       All incoming and outgoing post is documented

       Time sheets are put in place and kept up to date



Services Rendered:

A Contract has been drawn up for Services rendered to be signed by Supplier and Co-ordinator.


Legal Matters:

A request has been sent out to three solicitors and three accountant for quotations for any work
throughout the year.
It was agreed by the Committee to appoint Russell Brennan Keane as company accountant. This
is reviewed each year at the AGM.

A Contract has been drawn up and will be signed by the approved solicitor and accountant.
It was agreed by the Committee to appoint Peter Jones as company solicitor.


Insurance:

Three quotes were got by the Administrator and an EL and PL and Professional Indemnity
policies were put in place. The Company is insured with FBD, Mullingar and AON Toal, Mullingar.
The Committee are responsible for adequate insurance.




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Fixed Assets File:

A list of our fixed assets has been kept on disk and is updated accordingly by the Clerical Officer.
File location is in Financial folder.




Back Up of Accounts:

       The accounts folder on excel is back up on a weekly basis.
       All other files are backed every other week.

General:

The Co-ordinator and Company Secretary acknowledges the various agencies that provide
funding and for meeting the obligatory EU and NDP publicity requirements.
As new members come on board it is the responsibility to invite them to become directors or
members. Directors are required to complete a B10 form and this is returned to the CRO in
Dublin.




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                                          Daily Work Sheet
                                       Date _________________

Start Time:                                            Telephone calls to make
Things to do today:




                                                       Calls received:



Lunch Break:




Finish Time:

Today‟s travel                     No of Meetings/contacts                No of Emails Today
                                   today




Hours worked overtime:
T.O.I.L. taken:
Hours carried:

Signed:




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 Fig.Fig.5 2.Totalchildcareage Change places totalper
 Fig.8:Fig1:Population changefull gender age -by age
 Fig. 49: 6: Estimateof Children by day2001workforce
  Fig.10Percentageattendingstructurecare 2006
   Fig.Estimated Population toneeded1986-1996
        Population change places compared -
              Population in U-15 in employment
       11:Children access using by tofacilities
    Fig. Population of childminder childcare
  Fig. 7: Women's participationNational1986 1996
        3 Mothers' byprojections
 “Westmeath
 80000                                                                 76190
    4%                                                                 37.30%
    20000 number of dependent places
     compared
   Childcare to notified servicechildren
 20%
 40%
 50%
 160
    30%
   2500                                149 36.60%
                                             69321
                                                            72696        County
                                                                              3.10%
                                                                            16.09%
                                                                         Region
     3% Full Day
Committee will Care 66240 745 Care
 70000
 35%
 15%
 14018000
    25%
   2000        63314
                                Sessional
                                                                         National
 800 3.0%
 40%                                                              44% 44%
                                                                      1.70%
  act
 120 as a co-
 30%16000
     2%
 60000
    20%
                          104
                        1.20%
                                       43% 43%
   ordinating 25.70%
   1500
 10%
 600
 100   2.5%
    14000
                         520
                                                                     5.35% 33%13-15
 30% 1%
 25%2.0% 33%                                        33%
 50000 across
 agent
    15%
   80          3.58%                     3.75% 2.74%
                                                   -0.10%               2.4%
   1000
 40012000
   5%              30%                          255 51                        7-12
the10% 36
      county for
     0%                1.19%
   60
 20%
 400001.5% 180
    10000
 200 500
   0% 36
     existing
   40 1.0%           10422% 149                             80
 15%-1%
      8000         County                    51
                                              Region 16            16 45 4-69
                                                                     9 National
   205%
 30000
     support
 10% 0
     06000         0 to 1                     1 to 3                     3 to 6
 10%
       0.5% -1.40%
  services for 2001 -0.1%
    -2% 17096
     00%                  15629    2006 15464
                                                         Males
                                                -1.2% 2011
                                                       16491         Females1-3
                                                                         2016
                                                                      17784
 20000
   0% 00to 11
       0.0%
      4000
    -3%      to
                      1 to 3     3 to 6
childcare, and 375 1 to 15-24 401to -2.20% 6 to 945-649 to 11 473Over 11
                              3       3    6
                                             6 to 9    9 to 11 Over 11 0-l
   5%
    0-l                                                445
      2000 in0-14 County
 10000 Services
      -0.5%
  will work        1991 Childminders 1996
                                            25-44
                                              Region
                                                                        65 plus
                                                                     National
                                                                       1997
   0% 0 One 1033
    1-3
      -1.0%
  partnership                 Two  1104               1225
                                                 Three or more children  1302
      0
    4-6
 with delivery1996
      -1.5%        1991 2001 1099 2006
             19961038        2001             1996 1191
                                           2006       20112011          1997
                                                                   20161301
                                                                         2016

organisations 2097
    7-12                         Westmeath County Childcare Committee Limited
                                   2051
                                                Under 15
                                                      2176
                                                               Total Population
                                                                         2373
   to ensure
   maximum                                   6 St. Johns Terrace
effectiveness in
development of
                                                   Blackhall
   childcare
    services
                                                   Mullingar
   through a                                   Co. Westmeath
    planned,
     holistic
  interagency
   approach,                                             Tel: 04493 35454
 acting as lead
 agency where
                                                         Fax: 04493 47962
  necessary to                                 Website: www.westmeathchildcare.ie
     initiate
development.”                                  Email : info@westmeathchildcare.ie
 Westmeath
 Childcare
 Committee
   2001




                            Funded by the Irish Government and part financed by the European Union Structural Funds


                                NCIP 2006-2010                                                                        EOCP 2000-2006




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