Case studies

A Childminder’s First Bid

Jeni Halliwell, owner of Jeni's Rainbow Cubs in Arbroath, Angus

Jeni Halliwell runs a childminding business called “Jeni’s Rainbow Cubs” in Arbroath, Angus. Jeni took part in free SDP training on Tuesday, 22 October 2019 to prepare for an upcoming contract opportunity with Angus Council, which kicked off the first time the local authority has engaged with local childminders as sole traders to deliver its upcoming Quality Funded Early Learning and Childcare contract opportunity.

Jeni Halliwell is a childcare provider in Arbroath who works as a sole trader, and she currently cares for three children. Her company is called “Jeni’s Rainbow Cubs” and she attended the Supplier Development Programme’s free training session on how to bid for Angus Council’s Quality Funded Early Learning and Childcare (1140 Hours) Framework opportunity in October 2019.

There are approximately 180 active, Care Inspectorate registered providers in Angus, though Angus Council has only ever worked with 30 voluntary playgroups and private nurseries in the past. With this new framework opportunity, to guide potential suppliers and break down the tendering process for these providers, as well as engaging with sole traders and other SME early learning and childcare providers, Angus Council arranged two evening sessions to be delivered by the Supplier Development Programme.

Jeni said: “I have never tendered before through Public Contracts Scotland, or worked for Angus Council before. I heard about tender training through a newsletter from the Supplier Development Programme a few weeks ago. I was curious about how it will all work with this new contract, and about the processes I need to complete to become approved, so I signed up for this free training.”

For potential suppliers like Jeni, there are still many unanswered questions that contribute to the challenges that the new 1140 hours offering raises. Jeni said: “It’s hard to work in an industry like early learning and childcare because it is tailored to each child and it’s hard to guess what parents will want for childminding, and how hours will be broken up between nurseries and childminders. I’ve got an open mind and I want to try it, but the devil is in the detail as to how it will work in practice.”

Jeni commented: “The SDP training was helpful, as I don’t want to do the wrong thing when I write my bid. The fact that we’re getting all this training for free is absolutely brilliant, and having the slides to look at afterward will be helpful. I feel more confident in what I have to complete to be approved by Angus Council, and I will more than likely apply.”

Jeni's Rainbow Cubs was confirmed as a successful supplier for Funded Early Learning and Childcare in Angus by Angus Council in May 2020.

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