Update on council-run day nurseries

Published: Thursday, 29th November 2018

The city council is proposing to withdraw from operating its 14 remaining day nurseries.

Following public consultation, the city council is proposing to withdraw from operating its 14 remaining day nurseries and transfer them to other public bodies and the voluntary, independent and private sector, including social enterprises.

Following extensive consultations with all trades unions, GMB put forward a proposal to develop a social enterprise model to run the nurseries. Having jointly explored that option GMB now agree this model and the costs associated are not viable.

Cllr Kate Booth, cabinet member for children’s wellbeing, said: “As a city council we have a duty to ensure there are enough nursery places available in the right locations across the city. There are currently lots of vacancies in nursery settings in all of the areas where our 14 council-run nurseries operate, and we know through discussions with other providers there is a great deal of interest in taking over these nurseries.

“When GMB proposed looking at their own social enterprise arrangement it was only right that we collectively gave this some serious thought, but we now agree it is not a viable option and the best thing would be to ensure we give external social enterprises due consideration when we look to transfer them.”

A report is due to go before cabinet on Tuesday 11 December.

  • The 14 council-run nurseries are 1.015% of overall child care market, and 4% of day nursery provision in Birmingham – 1,379 settings in total
  • There are more than 33,000 under-5 places across the city
  • Parents eligible for 30 hours’ free care will still get this – they will not pay any more
  • All nursery provision has to be inclusive – including resources for children with special educational needs
  • There are no areas where council-run nurseries are needed to supplement a lack of voluntary, community, private or school nurseries – each council-run nursery was looked at on a case-by-case basis
  • None of the 14 council-run nurseries are breaking even financially – the total deficit last year was over £712,000
  • The expected deficit at the end of this year is £965,000, partly mitigated by a one-off funding of £500,000.
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