I propose to take Questions Nos. 719 and 720 together.
Over €19m of Programme Support Payments (PSPs) are currently being paid out to early learning and care and school age childcare providers in recognition of the additional time required to complete the administrative work associated with the various DCYA-funded schemes. The payment also recognises the time required to perform activities outside of contact time with children, such as preparing materials for early learning and care sessions and assisting parents in understanding how they might benefit from the various early learning and care and school age childcare schemes supported by the State.
The PSP was first introduced by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in 2017 with an initial budget of €14.5m and has been increased since then to amount to €19.4m in 2019. Prior to that it was intended that capitation payments for ECCE or subsidies under the targeted programmes, together with parental co-payments, would cover all costs associated with the schemes including administrative overheads. While the budget for PSP has increased since introduction, the PSP remains a budget limited programme that cannot be demand lead and must therefore be reconsidered on an annual basis as circumstances change; for example significantly increased child registrations. The distribution of the 2019 PSP has been designed to be fair, effective and in keeping with the general policy set in previous years, in so far as possible.
The 2019 PSP is calculated as equal to 7 days’ (1.4 weeks’) registrations for ECCE at standard capitation, and 14 days’ (2.8 weeks’) registrations for CCS(P) and TEC. The June 2019 payment is made in respect of the programme year 2018/2019. As in previous years, the payment is based on child registrations at a snapshot point in the year.
As we countdown towards the introduction of the National Childcare Scheme, it is important that providers continue to be supported. There will be an additional €2m (over and above the €19.4m described above) associated with the National Childcare Scheme which will be made available to service providers later in 2019 as “Transitional Support Payment”. This one-off payment is being provided to support providers to meet the administrative requirements associated with transitioning to a new Scheme. The size of the maximum payment available to each service will be based on the number of services applying and the number of children in those service who were actively registered on one of the Department’s childcare programmes on 13th May 2019. Finally, it should also be noted that the subsidies for the NCS have been calculated to reflect the full costs (contact with children and non-contact/ administrative ) of delivering early learning and care and school age childcare services.