Children's nursery fees

Response to question on Children's nursery fees, raised at Full Council Meeting on 17 October 2018

Children’s nursery fees

Comments made by William Vann

William Vann spoke at the Council meeting on 17 October about increases in fees at outsourced nurseries in the borough.

Cllr Will acknowledged the questioner’s point that there were too few safeguards built into the contract so that fee increases for children’s nurseries would be gradual and manageable for parents. 

The Council, as part of the commissioning process, provided one-off, additional funding to safeguard parents from any fee increase in the first 12 months of the contract. While not all parents currently using the nurseries would have been involved in the parent consultations before and after the procurement process, parent consultations held at the time by officers did highlight that the fees at the four nursery sites would need to align with the local market over the course of the contract term. This was needed in order for the nurseries to achieve a sustainable footing.

In relation to the current proposed fee increases, officers have worked hard to negotiate with Action for Children (AfC) on the timing and level of fee increase. AfC have made a commitment to support all the families in accessing the most appropriate funding to minimise the impact of the increase. They have also committed to offer tailored support dependent upon individual circumstances for those with lower incomes, to ensure that their jobs are not threatened because of their nursery fees. This support is ongoing and AfC have assured the Council that parents can approach them at any time to discuss their needs.