Council exploring alternative models for long day care services

Cumberland City Council’s nine long day care centres are ripe for revitalisation, with fresh new models being explored to improve quality and efficiencies.

It was decided at Wednesday night’s Council meeting to re-tender with a more refined brief to explore options for an alternative provider to run the centres. But Council also pledged to continue investigating a new operating model that would see the operation of the centres retained by Council.

“It’s a significant decision that will be carefully considered to ensure the best outcome for ratepayers and families,” Mayor Steve Christou said.

“We’re committed to continuing to leverage the working group which includes union representatives, staff and two councillors.

“They’re investigating more cost savings and increased revenue opportunities, so the service can sustainably run itself without being subsidised by rate payers.

“Depending on the final position of this working group, and the offers submitted via the new tender process, there is a possibility that Council may consider retaining the services without privatising them,” he said.

The Council-owned and run long day care centres provide care for 608 children and are heavily subsidised by the rate payer – up to $1.9 million a year.

“With staff costs and overheads, it’s difficult to compete with private providers, which is why we need to look at alternative operating models to achieve the best value for money for rate payers, while maintaining the same number of child care places.”

Increasing low enrolments in some centres will also be considered.

Meeting minutes can be viewed here: https://cumberland.infocouncil.biz/Open/2021/04/C_07042021_MIN_2831.PDF

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