STEP 2 - Establish Interest Locally

The need for an OSC service has been established, and you have found out what support and networking opportunities there are locally, you now need to involve others at a local level.

It is at this point you should be considering something which ultimately affects the overall structure of the organisation as well as the proceeding stages. Although you need not make a definitive decision at this stage, you should be thinking whether you are setting up the OSC as a private enterprise with any profits going to the owner[s], most likely you, or a voluntary organisation with any profit returned to the organisation, i.e. not for personal profit. Currently in Scotland 42% of services are voluntary and 31% are private.

Private or voluntary enterprise?

If you wish to set up the organisation as a profit making concern from which you can draw a salary and any profits for personal gain, then the only viable option is for you to set up as a private enterprise. You may choose to be a sole trader, create a partnership with (an)other trusted person(s) or become a workers' cooperative.

From experience few "stand-alone" out of school care services make much profit as they are only open for a limited period each day yet may have similar overheads to a service providing all-day care. By far the majority of private OSC services provide additional services such as all-day pre-5 care, wrap around care or are attached to soft play and adventure playgrounds. Whilst it is not impossible to operate a profitable out of school care without other services, those that succeed tend to be very large and have low overheads.

Still the most common structure for out of school care is one which is based upon the parent-led voluntary management committee model. As previously mentioned, voluntary organisations are not-for-profit and must return any profits into the organisation; no individual or group can make any personal financial gains other than that which their salary allows. The managers of the service are all volunteers and must fulfil duties without remuneration; however, the staff working within the organisation should be paid. A voluntary organisation may be eligible for charitable status but a private organisation is not. Voluntary organisations are usually started and managed by members of the local community and therefore usually have the needs of the community at the centre of the service, and not profit.

If you are going to set up a as a private enterprise you will need to undertake market research in the form of parent and children questionnaires, however, social economy enterprises must also perform this and so will be discussed in detail in Stage Three. Step two focuses mainly on the needs of the voluntary organisation where it is necessary to create a steering committee to move the project forward. The various models of management structure are found in Appendix One.

2.1 Steering Committee for Voluntary Sector Enterprise

To set up an OSC as a voluntary organisation requires the creation of a Steering Group. The Steering group will set up the out of school care service and serve as the initial management committee with the responsibility of running the service. You will not be able to undertake all the necessary work by yourself so the quicker you are able to establish the Steering Group, the quicker you will be able to open the service. You need to get other interested parties on board.

2.2 Establish Interest

The main and most effective way of establishing interest is by talking to potential users of the club or people who may have skills relevant to managing the service. You should consider talking to other parents/carers, teachers, community groups and children's projects, local businesses etc. Once you have done this and you have identified a number of key individuals interested in helping set up a club you should organise a meeting to discuss further your plans.

2.3 Organise a Meeting

Organise a meeting either of the people you have already contacted or a public meeting, open to everyone. A public meeting has the advantage of bringing the previously identified people together along with those people you may have not yet contacted. It is also a valuable tool for publicising your planned service to parents and carers who may not be interested in the management of the service, but interested in using it.

When organising the meeting there are a number of things to consider:

  • Find an accessible venue: easily reached by public and private transport with plenty parking spaces; and fully accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Fix a date and time well in advance (at least two weeks) to allow sufficient time to publicise the meeting.
  • Hold a meeting a time which will suit working parents/carers: early evening, mid-week is usually a good time.
  • Publicise the meeting as widely as possible- put up posters in schools, playgroups, doctor's surgeries, local shops, libraries etc.
  • Invite potential supporters such as any childcare development staff, community development staff, local councillor/MP/MSP, other community groups, local employers, head teachers etc.
  • If possible organise a crèche
  • Create a programme and agenda for the event. You may wish to involve expert speakers to talk about OSC; if so, remember to contact them well in advance of the meeting date. It may be useful to do so before distributing publicity as the speakers' attendance should be included in the publicity.

NB. Remember to keep receipts for any legitimate costs incurred such as printing, hall hire or crèche provision: you will be able to claim these back once the organisation is formally recognised and beginning to operate financially.

By the end of this meeting aim to have a number of individuals prepared to join a Steering Group/Committee and who can commit themselves to undertaking the work necessary to set up and develop the club. Now the work should be undertaken by a group and not you alone, although you may find that you are still the driving force. From hereon in “you” will refer to the steering group and not the individual.

2.4 The Steering Group

Having found a number of interested individuals you need to formalise the Steering Group/Committee (henceforth referred to as the Steering Group). This should be done by organising a meeting and at this first meeting elect a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, you may also choose to elect a Vice-Chairperson.

Notes (Minutes) should be taken of the meeting, and all subsequent Steering Group meetings, to provide an accurate record of who attended, what was discussed, any decisions and/or actions to be taken and by whom; this task is usually undertaken by the secretary.

2.5 Constitution

Early on, the Steering Group should begin to consider developing a constitution; this is important in order to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Gain charitable status
  • Secure funding
  • Focus on the aims and objectives of the group

The details of the aims and objectives may not be readily apparent to start with as these should reflect the demands and needs of the community that the OSC will be serving. You can only fully gain this information after completing parent/carer and children surveys although you will have a general idea of what it is you wish to provide.

last updated: 29/11/2023