Funding Gaps – the gap between what we are paid for our funded hours and what we would ordinarily charge – seem to be set to increase to an all time high with the imminent introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) on 1st April. We are seeing a greater number of settings than ever before being forced to close due to not being able to charge what they need in order to survive. The situation is only going to get worse with Pension Auto-enrolment and further increases in the NLW up to 2020. Whilst we can look forward to an increase in our Funding rates (hurrah!) it’s not going to happen until September 2017. In the meantime we are expected to magically ‘fill the gap’
We have grappled with this problem in our own nurseries for years and so three years ago we introduced a system whereby we took control of our funded hours and re-structured our offer, to reduce our losses. We have shared this system with several other nursery settings and have made reductions in their losses of many thousands, alongside our own reduction of potential loss amounting to over £15,000 last year. For us, this is the difference between overcoming these increased costs of working and deciding to pack up and go home for good!
So, having now passed LA Funding Audits in 3 different counties (Birmingham, Warwickshire & Worcestershire) we are confident that we can make the system work for most people and, subject to inspecting individual LA provider agreements, in most counties. The system, if implemented correctly adheres to all the requirements of the LA Statutory Guidance 2014
We are therefore now ready to share our Funding Gap Scheme with the wider world through a Workshop and we will bring it to your area to deliver in small groups directly to Owners, Treasurers and Finance Managers. Interested? Then email me here telling me where you are and which LA you come under or contact us here. I can then look at the Provider Agreements for your area and see if we can meet your LA’s requirements.
There will be a cost for each workshop, this may vary subject to distance travelled and number of attendees, it will be in the region of £125 – £300 for a 6 hour session, which will also examine the impact of NLW and Pensions on our businesses. Midlands dates include 7th and 14th April. Look out for other dates coming soon…
About the author: Tricia Wellings
Her passion for and knowledge of owning and running a nursery group and the issues within the sector that affect them is second to none. She continues to keep herself updated through regular meetings with PVI groups, Local Authorities, Ofsted Big Conversation and Conferences.
You can find our more about Tricia on her website www.triciawellings.co.uk