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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 23 February, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools

Procuring a Playgroup Provider for the new Flying Start Setting on the Colcot School Site


Purpose of the Report

1. To seek authority to undertake a tender process relating to the provision of childcare for the Vale of Glamorgan Flying Start Programme within the new setting in the grounds of Colcot Primary School.


2. To seek delegated authority to award the contract to the successful provider(s).


1. That Cabinet authorises the Director of Resources and the Director of Social Services, in consultation with the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools to:

• start tendering procedures for the services outlined in this report; and

• award the contract(s) for this service following completion of the tender process.

Reasons for the Recommendations

2. To ensure that the Council:

• provides Flying Start childcare in a cost effective way that meets the requirements of Welsh Government Flying Start Guidance and the required standards of the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW);

• complies with the requirements of its Financial Regulations and Contract Standing Orders. 


3. Flying Start is a Welsh Government grant for providing support to children aged 0-4 years in a specific geographical area.  The primary aim of the Flying Start Programme is to improve outcomes for children in the most deprived communities across Wales.  Targeted investment is used to offer: free, part-time, high quality childcare for two to three year olds; enhanced health visitor support; parenting programmes; and early language development.


4. Flying Start guidance requires the Vale of Glamorgan Council to provide high quality, part-time childcare for all 2-3 year olds living within the agreed Flying Start area.

The three key measures of quality in successful Flying Start settings relate to the environment, staffing and the experience of the child.  The guidance states that ‘Flying Start childcare should not only aim to be of the highest quality but should strive to be the benchmark for quality childcare’. The Council currently provides four directly managed Flying Start settings within its own buildings.  In addition, placements are commissioned from two third sector providers.


5. Within Phase 2 of the Flying Start programme 2012-2015, the LSOA Gibbonsdown 4 was identified as an area for expansion.  Capital funding was awarded by Welsh Government, to provide a suitable building for the provision of childcare in the area following identification of need.  Consequently, a new modular facility is now within the tender and construction phase and due for completion within the current financial year.


6. Flying Start childcare provision is restricted to 2-3 year olds within the Flying Start area.  The size of the new facility will enable additional sessions to be available to the wider Colcot geographical area.  Commissioning these sessions from an external provider will make available to families broader provision of quality, sustainable childcare in a high quality environment within ‘pram-pushing’ distance of their homes and provide an opportunity for wider partnership involvement.


7. Taking this approach to procurement  will have two significant benefits:

• For the Council - reducing additional staff costs and associated on-costs, including redundancy at the point of cessation of the grant funding stream.

• For Service Users - The terms of the Flying Start grant restrict provision of the childcare offer to children within its geographical area and to the three terms immediately prior to statutory nursery provision at age three.  Using an independent provider will enable us to facilitate enhanced provision (geographically, across neighbouring Dyfan ward) and wider services (such as additional terms, wrap around care working in partnership with Colcot Primary School and others).

These developments could be offered at lower rates as they would not incur overhead costs for the building.  The services would be more sustainable as the income for the commissioned element would be guaranteed for the duration of the contract terms.  The whole provision would benefit from the professional role and quality assurance systems from Flying Start.

Relevant Issues and Options

8. The Council's project management methodology will be used to support the project throughout its various stages.  The tender process will be managed by a Project Group, which will meet frequently to allow timely discussions about issues that may occur within the tendering processes and also to ensure continued progress within required timescales.


9. After the service has been advertised on Sell2Wales, interested organisations will have the opportunity to complete an Invitation to Tender (ITT). 


10. Providers will be asked to submit their price for providing the service, which will constitute 40% of the submission.  A price envelope for individual sessions will be used within the tender process.  The Quality element of the submission (60%) will be evaluated against a number of areas that have been weighted appropriately. All providers will be asked to provide written submissions against quality questions included within the ITT document.  Their submissions will be assessed by an internal evaluation panel. 


11. An interview process will be used for additional evaluation of providers in respect of quality criteria.  Providers are to be asked to present their proposals and answer a series of formal questions to the evaluation panel and a separate service users’ panel.  These responses will be evaluated and scored by the individual panels.


12. Following the evaluation of overall quality, the Quality evaluation will be combined with the provider financial score to identify the preferred provider.


13. The contract is to be awarded for eighteen months initially, with an option to extend for a further eighteen months in negotiation with the successful providers - subject to the ongoing award of the Flying Start grant by Welsh Government (currently indicative to March 2016).

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14. The Welsh Government provides 100% revenue grant funding towards eligible costs for delivering Flying Start (£2,345,122 in 2014/15, increasing to £2,562,000 in 2015/16 to reflect a further increase of 121 to the cap number which will then total 1220 children).


15. These services will be funded from within the Social Services budget (Flying Start Grant).  The total budget for this provision is £84,240 (16 places).  Staff within the Social Services Directorate will monitor the service once it is operational, making appropriate use of corporate expertise and processes in areas such as procurement, finance and human resources where required.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

16. The design of the building incorporates modern technology and energy efficiency measures in line with current building regulations.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17. There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

18. There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19. An Equalities Impact Assessment has been completed and in the process of being published.


20. The process allows all interested parties from the independent and third sectors to be engaged should they so wish.


21.  Potential service providers will have to provide evidence of their commitment to equal opportunities.  It is envisaged that service users and representative organisations will be included as appropriate as part of the procurement process.

Corporate/Service Objectives

22. Key objectives of the Council addressed by this report are:

• to ensure every child has a flying start in life;

• to make the Vale a safe and healthy place in which individuals, children and families can live their lives to the full;

• to manage the Council's workforce, money and assets efficiently and effectively in order to maximise its ability to achieve its service aims.

Policy Framework and Budget

23. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24. The agreed process for consulting with relevant ward members has been initiated.  An Executive Summary has been prepared and circulated via the Cabinet Office.


25. Partner agencies have been informed and comments invited through the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership in October 2014.

Existing childcare providers in the area and the catchment school have also been informed of outline plan and feedback taken on board.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26. Social Care and Health

Background Papers




Contact Officer

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Service



Officers Consulted

Flying Start Manager

Children and Young People Partnership Co-ordinator

Family Information Service

Flying Start Management Board



Responsible Officer

Philip J. Evans, Director of Social Services