Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Childcare Services

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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332. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the additional administrative burdens to be placed on operators under the new core funding childcare model; the provisions being made to address these additional costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17317/22]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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Core Funding is a new funding stream for Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) services introduced in Budget 2022 and informed by the work of the Expert Group to develop a new funding model for ELC and SAC, outlined in Partnership for the Public Good: A New Funding Model for Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare.

Core Funding is a payment to providers designed to meet the combined objectives of:

- Improved quality through, among other things, better pay and conditions for the workforce;

- Supporting the establishment of an Employment Regulation Order through the Joint Labour Committee;

- Supporting the employment of graduate staff;

- Improved affordability for parents by ensuring that fees do not increase; and

- Improved sustainability and stability for services.

On 7th March I announced the rates and values for the Core Funding, and launched the online Ready Reckoner tool. The Ready Reckoner is accessible to all and is designed to give an idea of what services can expect to receive based on their characteristics. It also allows different scenarios of provision to be tested. This will show the benefits of applying for Core Funding when it is possible to do so.

The equivalent full year costs of the budget allocation for Core Funding is €221m. Of this, €25 million is for a contribution to administrative costs and €20 million is allocated to contribute to non staff costs. A further €138 million is intended to contribute to staff costs and €38 million is allocated to contribute to support the employment of graduates in leadership roles.

Core Funding for programme year 2022-2023 will support providers in meeting their operating costs, including increased costs related to improved quality measures, in return for a commitment that fees to parents will not increase.

The amount payable under Core Funding will be determined primarily based on services' capacity: hours of operation, age group of children services are provided for and number of child places. These are the primary drivers of services' operating costs. Core Funding will be paid in equal monthly instalments over the Core Funding Programme Year.

In order to determine an accurate allocation, the provider will be required to complete a three stage application process. Stage 1 of the application process opens in April. Service providers will be required to fill out the Sector Profile and Income & Costs Survey, which is a prerequisite for application for Core Funding. Stage 2 of the application process will open in June. Providers will define their service’s profile and their capacity in detail in an online form. Stage 3 of the application process will open in August, when individual contracts will be made available to applicants for signature.

Once payments commence for programme year 2022-2023, the provider will be required to confirm or update their service profile throughout the year to reflect any changes to their capacity.

Participants in Core Funding will also be required to share information on the profile of their service, income and costs, quality measures and other data collection exercises.

The €25 million to contribute to administrative costs that is part of Core Funding incorporates the funding previously allocated to Programme Support Payment (PSP) from the 2022-2023 programme year. PSP was previously €19.4 million so Core Funding consists of an almost 30% increase to providers in respect of administrative time.


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