The latest news and information

Support Point Update 26th Sep 2017

Under the Radar Advocacy

April 5, 2018

Early Childhood Ireland (ECI) was delighted to have a recent policy ‘win’ for our members and that has prompted us in this month’s edition of ‘Advocacy in Action’ to focus on our daily advocacy work which is by its nature somewhat hidden from view.  In this case, it was the very good news that Pobal intends introducing a new system shortly which will provide remittance advice with payments to early years services. This has been highlighted by numerous ECI members and we had raised it at a high-level meeting with Pobal in January, when a commitment to address it was secured.

Our more public advocacy roles focus on the 45 policy and other initiatives of interest to the early years sector. Our representation on these forums is made up of both ECI staff and members of our Policy and Implementation Panel of providers from around the country. Our Research Associate, Noreen Moloney, monitors and evaluates this work to track success as well to record and flag when issues of concern to our 3,800 members might be stuck. 

On an ongoing basis though, we also work on the ‘bread & butter’ issues, like the recent example of payment remittances, which arise for members. These can be anything from problems with PIP to queries about regulations or inspections to advice about developing an outdoor space.  Our Support Point team responds to most of these queries immediately, based on a large bank of information and expertise which ECI has at our fingertips. Sometimes the team needs to bring members’ enquiries to the relevant state agencies. We are pleased that we have been able to raise complex or newer issues directly with Pobal staff as they emerge, and thereby ensure that they are resolved as quickly as possible. Similarly, it is welcome that Tusla, as the sector’s regulator, responds in a timely and clarifying manner to our queries from members.

There are also occasionally some topics that are identified for what we call ‘policy escalation’, and these come into the Policy, Advocacy and Communications team to raise with Pobal or the DCYA or another agency, either through immediate contact, like the recent example above, or at the next relevant policy forum we attend. Our Support Point team received almost 2,000 queries last year and we can already see the number of contacts climbing in 2018. This under the radar advocacy is a service which Early Childhood Ireland is very glad to offer to members and we know it is recognised by policy makers as a valuable source of information about the concerns of those at the coalface of early years care and education in Ireland.

Share share share share
Tags: , , , ,
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine