What is the Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme (SMHSS)?

The Scheme will fund a daily portion of plain fresh cow’s milk (or a specified alternative) and a healthy snack (fruit or vegetables) for pre-school children spending 2 hours or more in the care of a regulated day care provider and/or childminders who have registered for the Scheme. This Scheme will replace the current UK Nursery Milk Scheme from 1 August 2021.  Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme: statutory guidance - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

How do I know if my setting is eligible for the SMHSS?

The scheme is available to all early learning and childcare providers who are registered with the Care Inspectorate. This includes playgroups and other early years organisations within West Dunbartonshire that look after young children for more than two hours a day

Is the Scheme only for settings providing Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) funding?

The Scheme is available to all regulated settings offering pre-school day care, regardless of whether they are in receipt of ELC funding.

Are all children eligible for the Scheme?

Only children who attend regulated childcare settings which have registered with West Dunbartonshire Council  to be part of the Scheme, will be eligible.

Who will deliver the SMHSS Fund?

The scheme will be delivered by West Dunbartonshire Council who have been delegated prescribed Ministerial functions in the Regulations.

What rate will be paid for the healthy snack and milk?

Following the recommendation of the Settlement and Distribution Group, the Scottish Government agreed a Local Serving Rate for all Councils for year one.

1 August 2021- 31 July 2022

  • 18.4p per serving of milk or specified alterative
  • 16.4p per serving of healthy snack (fruit or vegetable)
  • Total Local Serving Rate 34.8p per serving.

Who will provide the milk and healthy snack?

The childcare setting is responsible for providing the milk and healthy snack.

What are the minimum hours per day a child needs to attend to be eligible for the Scheme?

Children need to attend the setting for 2 hours or more on an individual day.

Children will receive the benefit offered through the Scheme once per calendar day regardless of how many additional hours they spend in an individual setting.

What happens when a child attends more than one setting in a day?

Where children attend more than one setting in a day, they should still receive the benefit once per calendar day.

If a child has already received SMHSS by the time they attend your setting you are not required to provide this again.

The expectation is that the first setting in which the child spends 2 hours or more will provide the milk and healthy snack unless agreed otherwise.

Will settings have to provide proof of purchase?

Settings should retain proof of purchase i.e. receipts, invoices, contracts in case they should be selected for monitoring by West Dunbartonshire Council.

Can I still charge parents and carers for the milk and healthy snack?

A setting may not charge parents or carers for the healthy snack and milk funded by the Scheme (SMHSS). If arrangements are in place for payment of additional snacks this is not affected by this Scheme.

Can parent’s decline the offer?

Parents may decide to decline all or part of the offer and in this situation, settings are asked to document this.

Do eligible children have to reside in West Dunbartonshire

Funding is based on what local authority the setting is registered with and not where the child lives.

Does a setting have to register even when West Dunbartonshire Council may hold all relevant information?

Yes, settings are required to opt into the Scheme. This is because any setting participating in the Scheme will be obliged to adhere to the Regulations, including provision of the benefit and monitoring and reporting obligations.

Register for the SMHSS

What information will settings have to provide?

There is a range of information required which will be requested separately by West Dunbartonshire Council and any other relevant information which Scottish Ministers reasonably require in order to register the childcare provider.

How do settings estimate the benefit they expect to provide?

The Scottish Government’s guidance suggests that settings:

  • Estimate how many servings you might expect to provide in one calendar day at your setting. This is likely to be the same as the number of children who will attend the setting for 2 hours or more on that day;
  • Consider if there are days in the week for which this is not an appropriate therefore add up to assess the total provision you might expect in the week to provide your average number of weekly servings;
  • Multiply average weekly servings by the number of weeks that your setting will be open between for example:  1 August (or from registration if joining the Scheme after that date) and the end of the financial year (31 March) and from 1 April31 July.  If you do not know how many weeks you expect to be open, please give a best estimate and let the local authority know that there is some uncertainty.
  • You are required to notify West Dunbartonshire Council of any significant change (defined as a change +/- 10%)

Over time, you may also wish to adjust your projections to take account of seasonal change (e.g. lower attendance in holiday months); regular patterns of absence etc.  For example, if you are a nursery with a capacity of 80, you might have anywhere between 80 and 160 children attending for 2 hours or more in one calendar day. You might estimate provision as follows:

estimate provision


Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Weekly Total

Average attendance = required servings













Average Week:
Estimated Annual Total:

Weekly total (average) - 368
Number of weeks open between 1 Aug and 31 March - 34 *
Number of weeks open between 1 April and 31 July - 16
Total number of weeks open in Scheme Year - 50

Anticipated servings:       1 Aug  - 31 March   34 x 368 = 12,512
Anticipated servings:       1 April - 31 July     16 x 368 = 5,888

* or registration date if joining the Scheme post 1 August 2021


When should settings expect to get their payment?

West Dunbartonshire Council will make three payments during the Scheme Year; 2 August 2021, 29 November 2021 and 1 April 2022.

What happens when a setting registers for the Scheme after 1 August and registers within the Scheme Year?

Payment in respect of that period will be made within 4 weeks of the date of registration. Funding will not be backdated to cover a period prior to the date of registration.