FOI reference: FOI/17/02442
Date received: 18 October 2017
Date responded: 15 November 2017
You asked for any policy work undertaken by the Scottish Government into the planned expansion of free childcare provision from 600 to 1140 hours per year and any consultation taken on the planned expansion of childcare not included in the 15 October 2016 consultation paper.
I have enclosed a copy of some of the information you requested, relating to consultations taken on the planned expansion of childcare. In addition, the ELC Expansion Programme regularly engages with stakeholders through dedicated forums and working groups.
A parent survey on Early Learning and Childcare was issued in 2015 and the results were published in January 2016. You can access this report on our website: Parent Survey Results Jan 2016
A consultation ran between 10 July and 30 September 2014 on the provision of 600 hours being introduced but also related to future plans for further expansion. You can find full details of this consultation on our website: Independent Review ELC & OSC
A further consultation was carried out from 9th November 2015 to 6th January 2016 to assess current and future data needs for ELC, especially in light of the plan to expand provision to 1140 hours. You can find full details of this consultation on our website: ELC Data Consultation
A discussion paper was published on 20 January 2016, inviting responses until 18 March 2016, to enable all stakeholders and delivery partners to contribute to the scope and design of trials that will test a variety of models for delivering Early Learning and Childcare. You can find a copy of the paper on our website: ELC Discussion Paper
The most recent consultation carried out was "A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland" which opened on 15 October 2016 and closed on 9 January 2017. You have excluded this consultation from your request.
The Scottish Government recently commissioned an independent research company to undertake a survey amongst parents of 0-5 year olds to ask about a range of themes essential for the successful delivery of the 1140 expansion, such as parents' preferences, experiences, and drivers and barriers for taking up the funded ELC entitlement. Key findings from this survey will be incorporated into an evaluation report on the ELC expansion which is expected to be published in December 2017.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the full information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. This is because we hold a significant number of documents relating to the work of the Early Learning and Childcare policy team since the 1140 hours expansion was announced in November 2014.
Under section 12 of FOISA, public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.
You may, however, wish to consider reducing the scope of your request in order that the costs can be brought below £600. You may find it helpful to look at the Scottish Information Commissioner's 'Tips for requesting information under FOI and the EIRs' on her website at: Commissioner's Tips
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House