Some after-school clubs and all creches run by Fife Council are to close to save cash.
Breakfast clubs for children in deprived areas are also to be left to schools to provide, in a shift to a more commercial model of childcare services.
The move – to help save £488,000 – was criticised for removing affordable childcare instead of helping people in poverty.
But the council’s education and children’s services sub-committee authorised officers to press ahead with the changes.
Dunfermline North councillor Helen Law said some of the proposals in a report by the council’s childcare service were “unacceptable”, and tried unsuccessfully to have them referred to another committee for consideration under the council’s anti-poverty agenda.
She said: “We need to be much more focussed on localism and less focussed on commercialisation.
“This paper doesn’t address the issues of poverty. It talks about commercialisation, it talks about taking services away from local areas, it talks about, for example, taking away the after-school club in Cardenden and putting it in Crossgates.
“Folk in Cardenden would really struggle to get to Crossgates at that time of day.”
We need to be much more focussed on localism and less focussed on commercialisation.”
Fellow Labour councillor Linda Erskine, for Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty, said she “just can’t agree morally” to having services removed from an area and replaced with a model which would prevent people from easily accessing affordable childcare.
She said: “We need to be about supporting people, particularly in poorer areas.”
Referring to Cardenden, she said: “It means that parents that don’t have transport – and a lot of the parents in my area certainly don’t – would need to take two buses.”
After-school and breakfast clubs are considered the core and more commercially-viable business of the council’s childcare services.
They were closed during lockdown and a phased reopening began as schools resumed.
A report presented to the committee by education manager for early years Jacqueline Price and team manager for childcare services Gary Peattie said: “In modernising childcare services, and in light of Covid-19, some changes will need to be made to ensure services are viable in terms of demand and costs and that they are of a quality that provides good value for money to parents, as well as ensuring the long-term generation of income.
“In moving towards this, some previous services, including some out of school clubs, will not be recovered initially, but phased back where appropriate, applying the guiding principles identified.”
Focussing on after-school clubs would ensure clarity of provision and sustainability, the report said. However, underused clubs will be reviewed and either altered or not reinstated.
The report said only small numbers of families would be affected by the loss of after-school clubs and creches, demand for the latter hit by the introduction of extended nursery hours and the impact of Covid-19.
Breakfast cafes, which cost the council £380,000 to ensure children in deprived areas eat before school, would be best provided by school staff who know families, it said.
It is also proposed to merge playschemes and holiday clubs, recover childcare services for those with additional support needs and introduce a modernised billing and management system.