The Childcare Act (2006) requires local authorities to take reasonable steps to ensure sufficient childcare so that families can work or train. To understand how well childcare matches families needs a Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA) process is undertaken by the local authority.
A Childcare Sufficiency Assessment is shared annually with council members. This report presents the findings from the third full CSA carried out in York. It should be noted that the Early Years and childcare market is dynamic and changes can happen over a short period of time. This report presents a snapshot in time and as more data and information becomes available the picture of how well childcare matches families’ needs will develop. This process involves consulting parents about their childcare needs and comparing this to termly occupancy/vacancy data gathered from providers.
Facilitating the Childcare Market in York
There are a number of ways that the Early Years and Childcare Service works to meet gaps in childcare demand, including, but not limited to;
- market forces where early years and childcare providers are active themselves in identifying demand and seek to set up new provision
- supporting early years and childcare providers to remain financially viable so that they remain open
- direct stimulus where there is active encouragement of new providers to the market in targeted areas and this can include recruitment of childminders
Therefore, in most cases additional capacity is created through a combination of commercial market forces and stimulation and support led by the Early Years and Childcare Service which can sometimes involve a commissioning process for the delivery of new childcare. The constant changing level, nature and quality of provision in the City means it is often a difficult market to predict in terms of gaps and over-provision: the picture can look very different within a few short months.
York’s award winning Shared Foundation Partnerships are encouraged to take on the role of assessing sufficient childcare through regular parental questionnaires. In the longer term this will provide a more accurate picture of the childcare market and provide responses, in the main, that are community led.
For further information on childcare sufficiency in York, please contact the Early Years and Childcare Sufficiency Manager, Nicola Sawyer on telephone: 01904 554609 or email: [email protected].