Childcare provision for key workers
Criteria provided to local authorities to determine local need.
Guidance on childcare provision for key workers has been published.
Following the decision to close schools and Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings, the Scottish Government has provided guidance to councils on how to define key workers, which includes:
- health and care workers directly supporting COVID-19 response, life threatening emergency work, critical primary and community care; energy suppliers and teachers and those providing childcare for those at the frontline of the response
- all other health and care workers, emergency service and critical welfare workers and those supporting critical national infrastructure
- workers in the public, private and third sectors without whom there would be a significant impact on Scotland
Councils will have the final say on the exact definition of vital community responders based on the needs of their area.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“Responding to the Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges of our time. To help slow the spread, all schools and ELC settings will close, with the exception of critical provision to protect some groups or activities. These include childcare for key workers, for vulnerable children or allowing senior pupils to finish coursework for national qualifications. Some schools and ELC settings will therefore stay open for these purposes, depending on the arrangements that local authorities make.
“Broadly, key workers will be health and care workers directly supporting the Coronavirus response, critical primary and community care, teachers and staff providing childcare; energy suppliers and wider public, private or third sector workers providing emergency or critical welfare, national infrastructure services, or other services without which there would be a significant impact on Scotland.
“Local authorities are best placed to decide on the exact definition based on local needs which will obviously differ in island and rural communities to that in our cities.”
The guidance for local authorities has a particular focus on:
Key workers in posts which ensure that essential services can be delivered and cover tasks within the local community which support the vulnerable and aid community resilience. This may be slightly different in each community to allow the country to address local priorities. Whilst decisions will be taken at the local level, we would expect this to include consideration of:
- Category 1 – Health and Care workers directly supporting COVID response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.
- Category 2 – All other Health and Care workers, and wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g. Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers, etc.), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.
- Category 3 – All workers (public, private or third sector) without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to Covid-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised).
Local authorities have been asked to take this definition as a guide and prioritise critical childcare for key workers accordingly. They should consider any circumstances that mean that specific classes of worker are critical in their local contexts.