Yesterday I wrote that I’d emailed my child’s nursery challenging their view that closing down after a reported positive PCR test was “beyond their control” and they were therefore not obliged to refund my fees. Today, the nursery responded by giving me a number to ring for information, which I did, while juggling chores and supervising my little treasure.
The information I received was most helpful, and pretty conclusive. So, I relayed the information back to the nursery, providing the links and the most relevant text, as follows:
I called the number you gave and they were helpful, they alerted me to the following:
On this page there is a heading about 2/3 of the way down the page “Charging parents and carers if their child is unable to take up their place” and it says:
“The general principle is that providers should not charge parents or carers for services that cannot be provided. If there is a barrier to accessing childcare, based on government guidance or the law, the provider should not charge the parents or carers for this period.”
The lady explained this came from the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) open letter to the early years sector available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904194/Open_letter_to_Nursery_and_Early_Years__settings.pdf
On page 3 of this letter it says,
“(i) Providers requiring full or excessively large fees for services which are not being carried out due to the pandemic public health restrictions and government guidance.
“10. Our view is that –
- Consumers should not have to pay for services that cannot be provided
- Consumers should also be offered a refund where services are paid for in advance but do not take place as agreed in the contract.
- Contract terms requiring consumers to pay providers who are not providing the services agreed in the contract are likely to be unfair and unenforceable”
The full advice from the CMA to the Early Years’ Sector is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nursery-and-early-years-sector-covid-19-restrictions-and-consumer-law
I hope this helps and I look forward to hearing from you.
Any excuse for data collection
As a side note to all this, I of course enquired at the end of the call why it was that the lady on the helpline wanted to know in which local authority and which town my daughter goes to nursery – were there, I asked, different guidelines for different areas of the country?
No, she replied. It’s the same for the entire country. The only reason they want to know location is “just for data recording.”
“So we know what queries are coming in from which areas…”
So says anyone blissfully ignorant of the power of big tech and the propensity of our governments to use NLP and applied psychology to modify and programme our behaviour according to exactly what we, as a group (or individual), are thinking and feeling.
You know of course that the NHS has provided explicit and precise training to its healthcare workers (similar to the training you get if you work in a sales office) as to what to say to each particular age group, because of that age group’s peculiar concerns, priorities and ways of thinking… I’ll go into this in a separate post…