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Policy and Implementation Panel: August Meeting

August 30, 2019

Through our advocacy work on behalf of members, Early Childhood Ireland engages with members through a number of different fora. One of the ways that we do this is through our Policy and Implementation Panel.
The function of the panel is to allow members’ voices to inform our policy and advocacy work in a structured and formalised way through meetings and consultations. The panel meets a number of times a year and the meetings provide a space for members to share their insights and experience of running early years settings.
Engagement with panel members is crucial for Early Childhood Ireland. It allows us to bring the voices of children and providers into the heart of our policy and advocacy work. We use the panel as a ‘sounding board’ to test and receive feedback on our work.
Our most recent panel meeting is an example of this in action. The purpose of this meeting was to present the panel members with our pre-Budget ask, to have a roundtable discussion on same, and receive feedback. This proved to be extremely worthwhile as panel members provided excellent feedback that we will incorporate into our communications regarding the ask.
We also facilitated a roundtable discussion on a number of pressing issues affecting providers at the moment. These include re-registration, Pobal compliance visits, the rollout of School-Age Childcare regulations, and the continuing impact of the RTÉ Investigates programme, among others. Feedback from members on these issues is crucial and helps to guide our responses, allowing us to build case studies of the real-life impact on providers of developments such as changes to regulations. These case studies are indispensable for our advocacy work with DCYA and Tusla, as they put the experiences of providers and children at the forefront.
Panel members may also be asked to contribute to responses to Government calls for submissions on proposed relevant legislation. Panel members may also from time to time be requested to represent Early Childhood Ireland at various meetings – for example, one of the current panel members sits on the Workforce Development Plan Stakeholder Group.
The Policy and Advocacy Team in Early Childhood Ireland will shortly engage in a review of the terms of reference for the panel in expectation of new members being recruited to join in 2020.
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