Monash Council and bestchance respond to withdrawal of services in City of Monash
Monash Council recently released a statement expressing their “extreme disappointment” over a decision by bestchance, who has been providing early years management for 18 of the Council’s kindergartens, to move out of early years management in the City Of Monash effective at the end of 2020.
In response to the statement CEO of bestchance, Kevin Feeney, explained that the withdrawal of management services occurred after “a thorough and strategic review” of the groups delivery of kindergarten services, designed to ensure that bestchance would be “concentrating our efforts in some growth corridors and other communities in which we can have the greatest impact with our broader range of services.”
Following the review, he said, the bestchance Board decided to cease providing a number of kindergarten services prior to Term 1 2021. Once the decision was made, both the Council and Victorian Department of Education and Training were notified, with bestchance expressing a commitment to ensuring families can attend affected services throughout 2020.
Prior to the announcement, Monash Council, bestchance and the Victorian Department of Education and Training had worked collaboratively to provide the 18 kindergarten services in Monash under a service agreement. The Council’s role had been to operate the central enrolment process and provide buildings to bestchance to run kindergarten services at a peppercorn rental rate.
The operation of the service, employment of staff and financial management has until this point sat with bestchance.
While bestchance agreeing to continue the service in Monash for all 18 kindergartens until the end of 2020 “provides some short-term certainty for families and buys us some time to find an alternative provider”, a Monash spokesperson said there was still “considerable work to be done” to address the issues caused by bestchance’s decision.
The Victorian Department of Education and Training are working together with Monash to resolve this issue, the Council’s statement read, noting that their priority is “to provide certainty that a secure and viable service will be provided in Monash in the future and that there will be minimal disruption for families”.
Echoing these sentiments, Mr Feeney said “We recognise how important it is for families to access kindergarten programs. We will work with the Department as well as Council to support the ongoing access to kindergarten services for families as well as the transition of these services.”
Signaling a step change in possible future directions for kindergarten services in the Monash region, the Council’s statement also noted that “the provision of kindergarten services is changing and we must as a community adapt to this change”.
“This may mean changes for how kindergarten services are offered in the future in Monash. A review of the demand for the services and the service model will be undertaken to consider how best to ensure that all families can access kindergarten services locally,” the statement continued.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Feeney, who reiterated that bestchance “remain committed to continuing to serve the needs of children by ensuring we are providing, not only quality services, but the right services to the right communities in a sustainable manner.”
The Council is working with bestchance and the Department to communicate with Parent advisory groups and the kindergarten community about the changes to service, making it clear that Council is not currently an early years’ manager and does not intend to take on this role.