Governance of Wicklow County Childcare Committee (WCCC)

What does WCCC do?

NEW Wicklow County Childcare Medium

Wicklow CCC was formed in 2001 and is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) to improve the quality and quantity of childcare in Co. Wicklow. It reports to Pobal (funding administrators on behalf of DCYA) on an annual and mid-year basis.

Wicklow CCC operate National Early Years Programmes and Policy at a local level on behalf of the Dept. of Children & Youth Affairs (DCYA), Tusla and Dept of Education & Skills (DES) through i) the provision of administrative support and advice to ensure compliance with administration criteria of National Programmes, ii) supporting Early Years Providers/Services in compliance with Childcare Regulations 2016 (inspected by Tusla) and delivery of policy training such as Child Protection & Welfare and Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (iii) supporting and advising services with delivery of childcare funding schemes ECCE, CCSP, TEC and NCS.

Wicklow CCC in response to National directives and provider identified needs provide continuous professional development training in the areas of Child Protection, National Early Years Practice Frameworks such as Síolta (Quality) and Aistear (Curriculum), Diversity, Equality & Inclusion. Wicklow CCC tailor cluster training/support sessions based on identified need through the development team’s engagement with services and through the stakeholder survey. Wicklow CCC deliver this training through our development team and external trainers who are experienced in relevant fields.

Wicklow CCC Grant Administration – Childminders and Parent & Toddler Grants are administered and approved in line with criteria guidelines for those that make applications within a set timeframe. Wicklow CCC receive an allocated amount of funding towards these grants, applications are reviewed and appraised through our Grant Administration Sub-committee.

Learner funds, Wicklow CCC administer this funding to support Early Years Practitioners to progress the ECCE qualifications through participation on accredited training courses such as QQI Level 5, 6 through to third level bursaries for Level’s 7, 8 and 9.

Tusla Inspection preparation and inspection report outcome support, Wicklow CCC development team offer support to Early Years providers who need help in meeting Childcare Regulations (2016) as required.

Dept of Education & Skills (DES) Inspections, support offered to those who want to prepare or following on from an inspection advisory visit.

Access & Inclusion Model (AIM) was introduced by the DCYA in early 2016, to support children with disabilities accessing the ECCE programme. Wicklow CCC support services and parents through i) information sessions, ii) extensive promotion of DEI/LINC training, iii) making relevant applications for Levels 4-7 support and iv) collating national data as required.

Who decides the workplan of WCCC?

In 2019, as directed by DCYA/Pobal, Wicklow CCC developed and submitted an annual Local Implementation Plan- Statement of Work (LIP), along with a financial budget to Pobal in October each year. This LIP outlines support and core work actions that Wicklow CCC plan to offer for the year ahead to our stakeholders. The LIP is appraised by Pobal and sanctioned approval by the DCYA for implementation. Wicklow CCC received an annual budget to ensure the delivery of this plan and effective operations of the organisation. The LIP includes a broad number of objectives and specific actions identified by the DCYA and these include supporting the delivery of national childcare programmes, co-ordinating and administering grants, providing support to all childcare service providers in accordance with statutory regulation, national policy and quality standards and providing information and supports to parents. Additional actions in the LIP are informed by both local need and wider national policy on early years, the government’s Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures national policy framework for children and young people.

What type of organisation is WCCC?

Wicklow CCC is a not-for-profit registered charity that is also a company limited by guarantee. Wicklow CCC reports to the DCYA (via POBAL), to the Companies Registration Office (Co. No. 364781), the Revenue Commissioners and more recently, the Charities Regulatory Authority (CHY No: 14806 & CRA No: 20049270).

Who is responsible for WCCC?

Wicklow CCC is governed by a Board of Directors. This Board is representational in structure – i.e. made up of various stakeholders with an interest in the aims of Wicklow CCC. For good governance any person nominated to join the Board is expected to become a Director of the Board. Information on the role of a Board member can be found on https://www.iodireland.ie/resources-policy/directors-faqs/role-directors-and-board-charity-and-not-profit-organisations.

The organisation structure of Wicklow CCC is as follows:

Wicklow CCC is committed to implementing the Governance Code which is a Framework of Principles to assist organisations, the five main principles being:

• Leading the Organisation
• Exercising Control over the organisation
• Being transparent and accountable
• Working effectively
• Behaving with integrity

Who are the Board of WCCC?

The Board of Wicklow CCC oversee the governance of the organisation. The Board of Wicklow CCC comprises of representatives from the community, voluntary and statutory sectors. Members include representatives from Wicklow Chamber of Commerce, County Wicklow Partnership, Private provider and Community Providers, Parents, Co Wicklow Public Participation Network, Trade Union (Forsa), Bray Area Partnership, Kildare/Wicklow ETB and Wicklow County Council.

The Board is guided by the Governance Code and have regular monthly meetings and an AGM held in April/May each year. At present there are 10 board members. In the interest of good governance Wicklow CCC have replaced nearly all outstanding Board members (those serving over 6 years) and have introduced a process where Board members appointed from September 2017, can serve a maximum of six years. All new Board members receive an induction pack and a Committee handbook is being finalised in late 2019.

Wicklow CCC are constantly updating and developing their policies and procedures and once completed they are presented to the Board for review and approval. Wicklow CCC have also engaged extensively with GDPR compliance and this continues to be a priority in 2019.

Who are our staff and how are they managed?

Wicklow CCC currently has 6 paid staff; a Manager, Programme & Finance Officer, Training and Information Officer and three Childcare Development Officers. The Manager manages the day to day operations of the organisation with input from the Board. The Manager works very closely with the Chair of the Board.

Wicklow CCC also have three sub committees in place to assist the work of the Board this includes Finance, Staffing and HR and Grant Evaluation.

Where does Wicklow CCC’s funding come from?

Virtually all monies into Wicklow CCC come from DCYA via POBAL. In 2019, our budget for core work was €334,815 with an extra budget for the delivery of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion training of €7,500 and €16,485 for Access and Inclusion Measure (AIM) supports.

• Operational Funding €334,815
• Diversity, Equality and Inclusion training €7,500
• AIM – Access and Inclusion Model €16,485

How is this money spent?

In 2019, the core budget of €334,815 was spent on staffing and programme costs (which includes actions such as delivery of training, organising information sessions and the annual childcare professionals day) and overheads such as rent, rates, insurance, utilities and so on. Funding was also allocated for the delivery of actions under the Access and Inclusion Measure (AIM) and the delivery of Diversity Equality and Inclusion training.

• Support for Early Years Sector in Wicklow (Staffing & Programme Costs) €274,517
• AIM – Access and Inclusion Model €16, 485
• Overhead costs to run Wicklow CCC (Rates, rent, utilities, IT etc) €59,541
• Diversity, Equality and Inclusion training €7,500

Who audits WCCC’s work?

Wicklow CCC’s work, procedures and financial compliance is audited both externally by Doyle Fielding Accountants and on behalf of the DCYA by POBAL.

Does WCCC work with other agencies?

Wicklow CCC prides itself on collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders to maximise the impact of its work, avoid duplication of government resources and achieve the best possible outcomes for children and young people. It works both nationally and locally to implement the annual LIP.

Nationally

Wicklow CCC comes under the umbrella of Childcare Committees Ireland (CCI), CCI is a National network for all CCC’s to come together once every 6/8 weeks to i) coordinate workload and share information, ideas and strategies, ii) participate in the development of National strategies, policies and programmes in ECCE within a strategic framework, iii) respond to national directives in a consistent manner, iv) to communicate and strengthen the position of CCC’s at a national level within the Early Years Sector (EYS). CCC’s nominate representatives onto external interagency committees and establish relevant working groups to ensure we have a voice at a National level in ECCE developments. In 2019 WCCC worked closely with neighbouring CCC’s and provided support in crisis situations as required.

Childminding – Wicklow CCC  worked with the regional childminder development officer and national coordinator.

Wicklow CCC worked closely with DCYA and Pobal and the Manager is one of two CCI members of the national PPOP (Programmes, Policy, Operations and Planning) sub committee.

In 2019 the Manager was also a member of the NCS working groups and was involved in the planning and promotion of NCS at events such as the Tullamore Show, Tinahely Show, Bloom, National Ploughing Championships and the Pregnancy and Baby Fair.

Locally

Wicklow CCC are a key partner at interagency level working collaboratively with all relevant agencies within the County who have a remit to supporting the development of Children, Youth and Family Support Services. Wicklow CCC have representation at committee and working group level of the Wicklow Children & Young People Services Committee (CYPSC). Wicklow CCC collaborate with IT Carlow in promoting access to Early Childhood Education and Care Courses at the outreach campus in Clermont and also in the main campus in Carlow. Wicklow CCC work closely with Wicklow County Council and KWETB County on various developments within the sector.

Examples of the work includes:

  1. County Wicklow CYPSC – on various subgroups, assist with actions which impact on the lives of children and families,
  2. Wicklow Co Co – Refugee resettlement programme, collaborating with Library service with project supporting literacy and numeracy with babies and toddlers, planning section re planning requirements for re-registration and also need for facilities in county
  3. Partnership companies – promoting childcare schemes,
  4. KWETB – training of Level 5 and 6, providing information for trainers and students with regard to early years and school age, (national schemes, AIM, Quality Development Service)
  5. IT Carlow – promotion of Levels 7,8 and 9,
  6. ABC Project in Bray –supporting preschools with regard to quality
  7. Co Wicklow PPN – promotion of childcare schemes and information on AIM
  8. Liaising with Tusla Early Years Inspectorate as necessary

Work of  Wicklow CCC in 2019

The DCYA outline the priority areas for Wicklow  CCC on an annual basis.  In 2019 the areas included:-

Supporting DCYA’s Finance and Governance Unit

  • WCCC worked intensively with a number of services around compliance on a one to one basis and held three compliance workshops which were well attended
  • In 2019 the number of applications for capital funding and those who wished to attend the information workshops was very low. While every effort was made to support providers ultimately only two were in receipt of funding.
  • A number of services were identified as having sustainability issues both through case management self-referral and identified by Development Officers. WCCC work intensively with these services as required.

Supporting DCYA Quality Unit

  • WCCC successfully delivered six Child Protection courses. The existing two trainers attended new updated training and another staff member became a trainer so now WCCC has three Child Protection trainers.
  • The Learner Fund was administered as usual and progressed well in 2019.
  • The applications for FAR were very slow even though WCCC constantly informed and reminded providers about the bursary.
  • WCCC continued to support existing and potential services as necessary, in 2019 five services closed and four opened.
  • Promotion of AIM – 95 attendees at various events organised to promote AIM, 88 AIM Level 7 applications approved, Over 75% of services now trained in DEI.  The support and assistance to parents and providers in relation to AIM 2019 was ongoing throughout the year.
  • The support work in relation to quality was also ongoing and in 2019, this was done in conjunction with the delivering of two NSAI workshops and follow up support was given to services as necessary. Supporting quality with the community services in Bray through the ABC project (SPECS) was also ongoing.
  • WCCC continue to offer voluntary notification to childminders with 21 childminders voluntary notified in 2019. The Focus group for childminders held in Quarter 4 was very successful with 11 attending.  It was a lively meeting with many strong and robust discussions taking place among childminders.

Supporting DCYA NCS Project Unit

  • Work in relation to the delivery of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the NCS training was intensive and as the Manager of WCCC was also a CCI rep on the national working groups this involved a considerable amount of coordination, liaison, information dissemination to CCC’s and also working very closely with DCYA and Pobal. WCCC also did extra NCS promotion with 20 events attended including a number of national events – Bloom, Ploughing, Parent and Baby Show

Supporting DCYA Operations and Communications

  • Manager of WCCC is one of two CCI reps on PPOP. This has taken up a significant amount of time at various stages of the year but it is crucial that CCI are represented on these groups.  The Manager has an in depth knowledge of the various childcare programmes so therefore is best placed to be part of this.   Four PPOP meetings were held.
  • The promotion and offering support and advice in relation to the national childcare programmes was ongoing throughout 2019.
  • Re registrations of services – all early years services in the county re-registered
  • Registration of 25 stand alone and combined SAC services
  • The promotion of and the queries in relation to CCSR/CCST increased in 2019 due to the arrival of families under the refugee resettlement programme and also the opening of a direction provision centre in Wicklow.
  • WCCC approved 67% of all Fees lists which was above the target indicated in the 2019 LIP.
  • WCCC worked intensively with one special allocations service and they successfully received funding again in Autumn 2019.
  • WCCC had 57,326 hits on their website in 2019. We sent out 50 weekly updates and 234 Facebook posts.

Supporting services, parents and children in accessing childcare funding programmes

In 2019 the total number of children enrolled in various funding schemes was as follows:-

 

ECCE CCSP TEC NCS Total
3755 1929 63 Figures not available 5747

WCCC dealt with 2,747 such queries in 2019.

Conclusion

Wicklow CCC carried out a variety of actions and tasks in 2019 and this would not have been possible without the support and co-operation of the Board of Wicklow CCC and also the hard work, dedication and flexibility of the staff of the organisation.

How do I give feedback or make a complaint to WCCC?

WCCC welcomes constructive advice, feedback and complaints (& compliments!). To make a complaint click here or to offer feedback, suggestions or a compliment please click here.

How can I contact WCCC or one of its Board Members?

If you’d like to raise an issue about the early years sector in Co. Wicklow, please do get in touch, either directly to WCCC by clicking here or via one of our Board Members by clicking here.

 

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