Expanded childcare offer (ECO)
About the Expanded Childcare Offer (ECO)
In the Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced the single biggest investment in childcare in England ever, including the expansion of childcare support for working parents to include children from 9 months old up to school age and changes to Universal Credit childcare payments.
The Budget announcement shows a commitment to the following:
- From April 2024, working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of funded childcare.
- From September 2024, 15 hours of funded childcare will be extended to all children from the age of nine months.
- From September 2025, working parents of children under the age of five will be entitled to 30 hours of funded childcare per week.
This staggered approach will give early education and childcare providers time to prepare for the changes, ensuring there are enough providers ready to meet demand.
This is the place to find out our latest updates about ECO.
Derby Expanded Entitlement Provider Group (DEEP)
The key purpose of the group is to support, challenge and guide the Council in the coproduction, development and delivery of associated key tasks to ensure the successful implementation of the ECO.
The group will oversee, advise and make recommendations, provide scrutiny as appropriate on the implementation of the extended childcare entitlement and future reviews of the Early Years Funding Formula (EYFF).
This will be achieved through reflective discussion and the identification of support and training on a cross-sector basis for senior practitioners within the market who are working in or own early years and childcare establishments necessary for the successful implementation of the extended childcare offer.
Openness and honesty are important to us. We want to make it clear, and manage expectations, that the hourly amounts that have been quoted by the DfE are based on increases to the average rates paid to local authorities and not the amount that the Council receives.
- Average local authority rates for three and four-year-olds will increase from the current national average rate of £5.29 per hour to over £5.50 per hour from September 2023 (around a 4% increase). Derby currently receives £5.13 per hour.
- Average local authority rates for two-year-olds will increase from the current national average rate of £6 per hour to £8 per hour from September 2023 (around a 30% increase). Derby currently receives £5.68 per hour.
- Average local authority rates for under-twos will be around £11 per hour when the extended offers are introduced in 2024-25.
The DfE has not informed local authorities of their individual funding rates for September 2023. As soon as the DfE informs the local authority about the funding rate, we will notify all providers of this.
As you are aware, all English local authorities have statutory duties under the Childcare Acts 2006 and 2016. In order to deliver these duties local authorities are able to retain 5% of the funding allocation. This means they must passport at least 95% of the funding to early years providers.
In Derby we passport 100% of the funding allocation for two-year-olds and 96.36% of the allocation for three and four-year olds directly to providers, retaining 3.64% to deliver the government’s statutory duties which includes the provision of advice and guidance for providers on high-quality practice, pre and post-Ofsted support, sufficiency of places and the Families Information Service. It also includes the contracting process and the payment of the funding to providers in response to their monthly claims.