STEP 5 - Develop Aims & Objectives, Policies and Procedures

Premises have been secured, the Care Inspectorate contacted and you have a clear idea of what the service will offer thanks to the results of the parent and children questionnaires. It is the responsibility of the Steering Group collectively to decide what sort of OSC club you want to develop- remember this should be based upon the results of your research and on the 14 national care standards against which the service will be measured. You will need to create your constitution, an Operations Plan and a set of policies and procedures. Please remember to keep in mind the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and the Race Relations Act (1976) when developing policies.

N.B. Private providers will need to follow all the same steps here apart from the creation of the constitution.

Race Relations Act (1976)

The Race Relations Act states that individual has the right not to be discriminated against on racial grounds and it is unlawful to treat a person less favourably than others due to racial grounds; to do so can result in prosecution. Racial grounds cover race, colour nationality (including citizenship), and national or ethnic origin.

5.1 The Constitution (for voluntary organisations)

The constitution of your organisation includes your organisation's aims and objectives and as such is the guiding document which should be referred to time and again. The following list contains clauses which should be included in the constitution:

  • Aims and Objectives: a general statement of what the organisation is set up to do and how it will achieve this.
  • Membership: detailing who is able to join or use the service. You may choose to specify children attending certain schools or living within a geographical area. Alternatively you may choose to leave it open to all children between a certain age.
  • Management Committee: this should cover such things as the roles of committee post-holders; the required number of committee members; election procedure for new members/postholders; resignation procedures, procedures for co-opted members to fill any vacancies arising over the year and the procedure for regular non-attendance at meetings.
  • Quorum: the minimum number of committee members present necessary to take effective decisions.
  • General Meetings: it should clearly state when the Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held; what happens at the AGM; the amount of time necessary for the secretary to notify members of the AGM; procedure for calling an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and procedure if a quorum is not present.
  • Finances: states the financial procedures of the organisation.
  • Changes to Constitution: states how and when any changes to the constitution can be made (usually at an AGM or EGM).
  • Dissolution: states how the group can be dissolved and what happens to any resources/funds that remain after all debts and liabilities have been paid. The Dissolution clause is vital for those wanting to apply for charitable status- it is an Inland Revenue requirement.

5.2 Operations Plan

The Operations Plan covers all aspects of the actual running of the organisation and will include:

  • Number of registered places
  • Age-range catered for
  • Opening hours
  • Fees and fee structure
  • Payment methods
  • Non payment/ bad debt procedures
  • Schools to be served
  • Venue
  • Any transportation requirements
  • Number of staff required
  • Staff structure
  • Staff salaries
  • Staff working conditions
  • Management structure
  • Activities to be offered
  • Required equipment
  • Storage

An ideal payment structure would be one which encourages parents to sign up for childcare a month in advance and for this to be paid by standing order. For parents reliant on the service all year round, you might also consider providing an annualised monthly fee: although costs may vary between term and holiday times, you can charge a standard monthly fee which will cover the overall costs for the year. You may also choose to reward parents using this system providing a slight discount on the fees. Only operate this however if they have agreed to pay in advance. Even if you choose not to operate this monthly system, it is recommended that parents reserve childcare places and pay a week in advance. Do not take money on a daily basis as this is very difficult to keep track of and time-consuming for staff.

It is also recommended that you draw up a contract with parents stating payment amounts and methods. Parents as well as the service should recognise that it is a business arrangement and so should be treated with respect and honoured, after all, it is the strict and punctual payment of fees that ensures there is adequate money to cover expenditure, especially staff wages.

When considering pricing structures and payment methods it is also vital that you think about the systems needed for dealing with non-payment of fees and bad debtors. SOSCN can provide advice, support and training- please contact us for further information.

5.3 Policies and Procedures

The policies and procedures that you will be required to have in order to operate legally will be determined by the Care Inspectorate and will be listed in their registration forms. Essential policies include: Admissions; Accidents and Incidents; Behaviour; Child Protection; Record Keeping; Complaints; Confidentiality; Equal Opportunities; Health and Safety; Partnership with Parents; Staff Recruitment and Vetting, and Whistle Blowing.

last updated: 29/11/2023