We would like your feedback on the draft recommendations for the new Children's Services Policy.

During the development of our new policy, we’ve been working closely with families, children and the early years’ sector to understand how we can collectively shape the future of childcare, kindergartens, playgroups and toy libraries in Port Phillip.

In 2018 we shared the challenges and opportunities involved with children’s services and asked for your ideas for improvement. Your ideas informed the objectives in the new policy and now we have developed policy recommendations to achieve those.

You can provide your feedback by completing the online survey, submitting a comment or registering to attend a workshop.

The survey has 25 questions and will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Feedback closes 7 May 2019.

Please take a look at the following documents to understand the recommendations before providing feedback.

More information

Next steps

Council will consider your feedback as part of the decision making process. It is expected that Council will decide on which policy recommendations to include in the new policy by mid-2019.

The policy will then be written and an implementation plan developed.


Take the survey

Take the survey

The new Children's Services Policy contains seven policy objectives and 25 draft recommendations. Please provide feedback on the recommendations. You do not have to provide feedback on every recommendation.

If you prefer to provide general feedback about the policy, please submit a comment.

Personal information is being collected by Council for the purpose of providing a demographic snapshot of participants in the Children’s Services Policy consultation. Feedback provided and demographic data may be published and used as part of a Council report. Council may disclose this information to Effective Communications and KJA to help Council report on the engagement findings. Requests for access and or correction of the information should be made to Council’s Privacy Officer via ASSIST on 03 9209 6777 or email assist@portphillip.vic.gov.au


Policy Objective 1: Council will work with partners to ensure that every child, regardless of their abilities or background, will have access to affordable, safe, accessible, quality early years’ services to support development to their full potential.

Q1: Policy recommendation 1.1

Create a new grant program to provide a financial subsidy for families experiencing ongoing and situational vulnerability and disadvantage. This subsidy will be available for all eligible City of Port Phillip community members accessing any Early Years’ Service in the City.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q2: Policy recommendation 1.2

Support Child Safe Standards implementation across all early years’ services (especially toy libraries and playgroups) through an education and capacity-building program.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q3: Policy recommendation 1.3

Fund an early intervention outreach role to work with relevant service providers in the City (child protection, homelessness, mental health, family violence) to increase participation of vulnerable children in early childhood education services, especially kindergarten services.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q4: Policy recommendation 1.4

Develop a Children’s Services website that will provide information on all children’s services in the City. This will include services provided, vacancies, specialist expertise, fee levels, educational approaches, target groups served and more. Participation in the website should be a condition for services to receive Council grants.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

Policy Objective 2: Council will understand current and future needs of families in the city and influence the provision of early years’ services to meet those needs.

Policy recommendation 2.1

Review and update the service model for toy libraries to include:

  • Review funding model and operating subsidy to increase operating hours at current toy library sites to increase access and availability to services for residents now and into the future in existing Port Phillip areas.
  • Develop one new toy library site in Fishermans Bend to service the growing population, as part of an integrated hub.
Q5: Policy recommendation 2.1
Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q6: Policy recommendation 2.2

Monitor, track, encourage and report on the market response to childcare demand.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

Policy recommendation 2.3

Review and update the service model for playgroups to include:

  • A dedicated, or several functional multipurpose, playgroup space/s to be considered in Fishermans Bend, as part of an integrated hub.
  • An additional playgroup or children’s multipurpose space in the north end of Port Phillip to be considered (South Melbourne or Port Melbourne neighbourhoods).
  • Make available the playgroup rooms in Bubup Nairm Family and Children’s Centre across five days of the week and transition other programs into other Family Services Rooms in the building to increase availability and capacity.
Q7: Policy recommendation 2.3
Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q8: Policy recommendation 2.4

With the addition of funded three-year-old Kindergarten, consider transitioning current Council assets into kindergarten facilities to meet future demand where relevant, especially where the private market is meeting the demand/need for childcare services in that area.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

Policy Objective 3: Early Years services will be financially sustainable and consistently aligned with relevant policies and legislation at the local, state and federal level.

See instructions below about how to answer this question by ranking the following five policy options.

Policy recommendation 3.1

Council to decide the future service model for childcare services from five policy options (A, B, C, D, E).

A. Council continues operating and subsidising childcare services as is

  • This option is likely to be non-compliant with the National Competition Policy.
  • It is unlikely Council will be able to maintain and renew all existing assets to meet current and future demand, functionality and compliance issues.
  • Council subsidies will continue to be untargeted and not based on need.
  • Some assets will not be fit-for-purpose or compliant with legislation.
  • Could explore co-funding or lease-to-own opportunities with tenants of council-owned facilities.

B. Council continues operating services, but at full cost recovery

  • This option is likely to meet National Competition Policy requirements.
  • Requires a review of infrastructure and maintenance levies to ensure they cover all renewal and utility costs.
  • Will require increased fees at Council-run childcare services to allow for cost recovery ($5-$15 per day).
  • Explore co-funding or lease-to-own opportunities with tenants of council-owned facilities.
  • Continued support for community managed centres.

C. Council ceases operating Council-run childcare services and transition services to not-for-profit providers

  • This would include full cost recovery rental arrangements, and utilities at cost to new owner.
  • Meets all industrial obligations under relevant agreements and legislation.
  • This could include purchase, co-funding or lease-to-own opportunities with not-for-profit providers.
  • Operational savings to Council
  • Asset sales to support transition arrangements

D. Council ceases operating Council-run services and sells or transitions assets for other Council purposes

  • This assumes that the market will meet current and future demand.
  • Uncertain as to how market failures will be overcome.
  • Operational savings to Council.
  • Asset sales to support transition arrangements

E. Council chooses a hybrid model based on above options

Please rank the following five options from 1 to 5, where 1 is your most preferred option and 5 is your least preferred option, by dragging the option to the box to match your preferred ranking.

  1. A. Council continues operating and subsidising childcare services as is #
  2. B. Council continues operating services, but at full cost recovery #
  3. C. Council ceases operating Council-run childcare services and transition services to not-for-profit providers #
  4. D. Council ceases operating Council-run services and sells or transitions assets for other Council purposes #
  5. E. Council chooses a hybrid model based on above options #
Q10: Policy recommendation 3.2

Review all funding, subsidy and levy arrangements to ensure return on investment and KPI deliverables for acquittal purposes

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

Policy Objective 4: Council will encourage collaboration across all Early Years’ services.

Policy recommendation 4.1

Facilitate collaborative and collegiate relationships with early years’ networks:

  • Identify professional development needs for educators (including assistance in sourcing bulk discounts for training and providing free training room space).
  • Childcare staff to visit and learn from centres in the municipality or within Melbourne that are consistently receiving an ‘Exceeding’ or ‘Excellent’ NQS rating, encouraging a ‘community of practice’.
  • These recommendations to apply to all providers, including independent and private providers.
  • Support of Educational Leaders and networking across services.


Q11: Policy recommendation 4.1
Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q12: Policy recommendation 4.2

Support the development of a kindergarten network to provide collaborative practice and integrated services that inform pedagogy and practice, for example approved provider responsibilities, professional development, quality referrals and transition to school programs.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

Policy Objective 5: Families will have access to the services and information they need, at the times they need it, to make choices appropriate for their needs.

Q13: Policy recommendation 5.1

Proactively create and promote opportunities for families with children to meet other families and develop social connections through such things as community events and parents’ workshops.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q14: Policy recommendation 5.2

Improve communications about the availability of, and access to, all early years’ services, especially kindergarten to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q15: Policy recommendation 5.3

Utilise approved state funding to scope the creation of an effective and centralised municipal-wide enrolment system for community-run and independent kindergartens in Port Phillip. This will require significant consultation with service providers.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q16: Policy recommendation 5.4

Develop a Memorandum of Understanding for playgroups with guidelines regarding Size and inclusion; Available support for volunteers, committees and parents; Sustainability, including sharing of resources between groups and recycling

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q17: Policy recommendation 5.5

Develop a centralised portal and communication strategy as part of the Customer Experience and Technology Transformation project, and work with children’s service providers and families to establish the best way for families to receive the information they need, in the way they need it, when they need it.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q18: Policy recommendation 5.6

Improve the current childcare waitlist and investigate expanding it to include private and independent centres in order to provide families with better information about places for children under the age of three, as well as to inform short- and medium-term planning for childcare

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

Policy Objective 6: Early Years services will be supported by safe, accessible, contemporary, fit-for-purpose, sustainable facilities and environments.

Policy recommendation 6.1

Develop an Early Year’s Services Facility Framework that will deliver the following outcomes:

  • All assets to meet legislative and building compliance over the life of the strategy.
  • All assets able to receive co-contribution funding from state government. This will require all assets to meet a minimum of 66 places.
Q19: Policy recommendation 6.1
Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q20: Policy recommendation 6.2

Work with all community-managed services over time to implement the framework outlined above.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q21: Policy recommendation 6.3

Ensure additional facilities for services and consolidate existing services if required to meet functionality and compliance are incorporated into integrated facility hubs to address multiple service demands. Council will optimise opportunities for Major Capital Works grant applications available from Department of Education and Training for the building of integrated service hubs, especially on any new school sites, such as in Fishermans Bend.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

Policy Objective 7: Children will have access to natural environments which allow them to learn about and experience play in nature. This includes natural environments within early years services.

Q22: Policy recommendation 7.1

Develop model for optimising access to existing assets in the city such as parks, beaches, and adventure playgrounds.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q23: Policy recommendation 7.2

Advocate for the promotion of outdoor learning environments and programs that promote children’s connection to nature and environmental sustainability practices, for example Clean up Port Phillip Day, Be Out There, Let’s G.O (Get outside), and Indigenous nature-based cultural programs.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q24: Policy recommendation 7.3

Develop a minimum design guideline for future playground works/upgrades at childcare centres that can be tailored for each site and implemented in stages, including investigating the development or suitability of nature and sensory play environments within open space settings for excursion purposes, for example developing bush kindergarten setting/s in the municipality.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation
Q25: Policy recommendation 7.4

Work with early years’ networks to consult and promote the range of opportunities to incorporate nature and sensory play into their service settings with supported funding opportunities.

Strongly support
Somewhat support
Neutral
Somewhat against
Strongly against
Not applicable
Please indicate your support for this recommendation

We'd like to understand which policy objectives you consider to be the most important.

Policy Objective 1: Council will work with partners to ensure that every child, regardless of their abilities or background, will have access to affordable, safe, accessible, quality early years’ services to support development to their full potential.

Policy Objective 2: Council will understand current and future needs of families in the city and influence the provision of early years’ services to meet those needs.

Policy Objective 3: Early Years services will be financially sustainable and consistently aligned with relevant policies and legislation at the local, state and federal level.

Policy Objective 4: Council will encourage collaboration across all Early Years’ services.

Policy Objective 5: Families will have access to the services and information they need, at the times they need it, to make choices appropriate for their needs.

Policy Objective 6: Early Years services will be supported by safe, accessible, contemporary, fit-for-purpose, sustainable facilities and environments.

Policy Objective 7: Children will have access to natural environments which allow them to learn about and experience play in nature. This includes natural environments within early years services.

  1. Policy Objective 1 #
  2. Policy Objective 2 #
  3. Policy Objective 3 #
  4. Policy Objective 4 #
  5. Policy Objective 5 #
  6. Policy Objective 6 #
  7. Policy Objective 7 #

Demographic questions

The following questions are to collect information about which part of the community you represent. This information will help us understand if we heard from a diverse range of people in the community and be able to report on what the different groups in the community told us during the consultation.

Tick the box if any of these categories apply to you.


Are you a Required
Services you use Required
Did the information provided during the consultation help you to provide feedback?

Submit a comment

Submit a comment

If you prefer to submit a comment instead of completing the survey please do so below.

Demographic questions

The following questions are to collect information about which part of the community you represent. This information will help us understand if we heard from a diverse range of people in the community and be able to report on what the different groups in the community told us during the consultation.

Tick the box if any of these categories apply to you.

Are you a Required
Services you use Required
Did the information provided during the consultation help you to provide feedback?

Challenges and opportunities

Discussion