Dear Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare providers,
We are pleased today to publish the Core Funding Partner Service Funding Agreement for the programme year 2022/2023. This is accompanied by a FAQ to help services understand the process and next steps.
Core Funding is the new funding stream to support the delivery of ELC and SAC for the public good, for quality and affordability for children and families, sustainability and stability for providers and staff, and accountability, transparency and value for money for the State. Services that sign up for Core Funding will become Partner Services, working with the State to deliver ELC and SAC for the public good.
Core Funding is worth €221 million in full year costs and allows for an estimated 19% increase in the total cost base for the sector. This is a significant public investment in services, in addition to ECCE and NCS, and will involve a greater degree of public management as outlined in the Funding Agreement. This new approach to funding the sector through Core Funding will entail a shift in the relationship between the State and providers in relation to delivering ELC and SAC, with new responsibilities on both sides.
The Funding Agreement being published sets out the detail of how Core Funding will operate in its first year, the commitment from the Minister to funding and the associated requirements of Partner Services. We encourage you to consider the Funding Agreement in full.
In late July, the application process for Core Funding will open. This is slightly later than anticipated given the scale of the task involved and the technical complexity of design the application form. However, all services will be able to get a clear indication of their Core Funding value in advance through using the Ready Reckoner and accompanying guidance. Local City/County Childcare Committee (CCC) are available to support and assist services in calculating their Core Funding value. If you have not already done so, you are encouraged to book an individual appointment to get an assessment of the value of Core Funding for your service.
The Core Funding application process will open in late July. Once the application opens, Partner Services’ Core Funding value based on the actual application data will be displayed immediately upon submission of the application, subject to final verifications.
The Funding Agreement will be available to sign through the Early Years Hive in mid August. Payments will be made monthly in advance with the first payment in respect of September to be paid at the end of August.
Importantly, as specified in the Funding Agreement, Core Funding will only come into effect and is contingent upon Employment Regulation Orders being in effect to cover all roles across the sector as defined in the Early Years’ Service Joint Labour Committee Establishment Order.
Core Funding is open to all eligible providers subject to their agreement to the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement. The Minister would like the maximum number providers become Partner Services. However becoming a Core Funding Partner Service is, of course, optional.
Further information about Core Funding is available here. Services can also contact their local CCCs and/or Pobal with any questions about Core Funding. For Pobal queries please raise a service request on Hive under the following categories:
We look forward to working with Core Funding Partner Services in the coming year.