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1. Describe and explain the impact of the proposal on children and young people.
The 2021 Nanny Scheme is broadly similar to the 2007 scheme but the Welsh Government has taken the opportunity to make some changes relating to the approval criteria and to provide clarity over other aspects of the scheme.
The 2021 Nanny Scheme is expected to have the following positive impacts on children:
- Employment and tackling poverty: Dual-earning (for two parent households) or employment (for single parent households) has been demonstrated to be the best route out of poverty and makes economic sense in terms of increased tax revenue and reduced benefit spending (read Joseph Rowntree Foundation(2016) UK poverty: Causes, costs and solutions). The Approval Scheme will have a positive impact on child poverty (articles 26 & 27) allowing parents to receive UK Government financial assistance towards their childcare costs (if using the services of an “approved” nanny). Nannies can also often offer more flexible childcare services, enabling many parents to increase their hours or increase their employment options;
- Child development: High quality early childhood education and care provides essential support for children's cognitive, social and emotional development both in the immediate and longer term. The Approval Scheme supports nannies to provide care in the family home which may be beneficial for children’s wellbeing as they are being cared in a familiar and safe environment and can limits the number of settings/travelling required. Such arrangements can also often mean that a close and lasting bond develops between the nanny and the children/family. Also children with additional needs may benefit from the care provided by a nanny in a familiar setting (articles 28 and 29). Nannies approved under the scheme are required to have undertaken training in early years care development and first aid, as a minimum;
- Prevention: We know that intervening in the early years can save money later, and that there is a greater return on early investment than late e.g. investing early can mitigate against costly negative outcomes in later life, like illiteracy or innumeracy (article 27);
- Safeguarding: (article 19). The arrangements for ensuring that nannies approved under the scheme are suitable to care for children have been strengthened to require approved nannies to notify the approval of any caution or conviction. In light of feedback on the draft scheme published for consultation, the Welsh Government also intend to work with key stakeholders to consider the appropriateness of including a requirement for nannies approved under the scheme to have training in the All Wales Safeguarding procedures, which will provide a further level of assurance that approved nannies are equipped to identify signs of harm and abuse and report to the relevant authorities;
- Equality: Women are underrepresented at senior ranks and in high-skill professions. Giving parents better and more childcare options will allow parents to better balance their work and care responsibilities and help to reduce this inequality. All parents and children have the option of employing an approved nanny (subject to availability) and for high earning parents who often have to work long and unsociable hours, a nanny can provide the kind of bespoke services that is required.
As the new Approval Scheme is broadly similar to the existing 2007 scheme, it is not anticipated that there will be any negative impacts as a result of the changes. There would be negative impacts if the Welsh Government chose not to replace the scheme as it would prevent parents who use nannies as childcare from accessing relevant UK Government tax and/or benefit concessions.
2. Explain how the proposal is likely to impact on children’s rights.
The Scheme will support and promote children’s rights by supporting the following articles:
- Article 3 states that all organisations should work towards what is best for the child. The best interests of the child are at the heart of the Approval Scheme and this means ensuring that childcare services which care for children meet a certain standard;
- Article 18 states that Government should support parents in helping to look after children, particularly when both parents work. The Welsh Government has a statutory commitment to ensuring high quality, sustainable and affordable childcare is available across Wales and works closely with Local Authorities to achieve this;
- Article 19 states that the Government must act to safeguard children from mistreatment using all the powers at their disposal. The 2021 scheme has been strengthened in terms of its “safeguarding” elements and there are plans to work with stakeholders to introduce further requirements in terms of safeguarding training;
- Article 27 states that children have a right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical and mental needs and that the Government should help families who ca not afford to provide this. By increasing families’ disposable income or increasing a parents employment options, the Approval Scheme is helping to contribute towards an improved standard of living for families;
- Article 30 states that children have a right to learn and use the language and customs of their families, whether these are shared by the majority of people in the country or not. One of the priorities of the Welsh Government, through its strategy Cymraeg 2050 is to increase the numbers of people in Wales who can speak the Welsh language. The Welsh Language impact assessment provides further detail about the Approval Scheme’s contribution in this regard.