English local authorities are failing to properly monitor childcare

Family and Childcare Trust has revealed that a quarter of English local authorities are failing to properly monitor childcare places, with some having huge shortages.

With the Governments plan to increase free childcare to 30 hours for three and four-year-olds this finding could put a spanner in the works if not addressed soon. For the Government this is a new finding but for people working in childcare this is already a real and relevant issue.

The report names 38 English local authorities that have failed to carry out and publish assessments of local childcare since 2012, despite being required to do so every year by law.
  • Cumbria
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Leeds
  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Salford
  • Manchester
  • Wirral
  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Shropshire
  • Telford and Wrekin
  • Walsall
  • Worchestershire
  • Gloustershire
  • City of Bristol
  • Leicestershire
  • Harborough
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • Reading
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Isle Of Wight
  • Portsmouth
  • Torbay
  • Medway
  • Southend-on-Sea
In London:
  • Harrow
  • Islington
  • Wandsworth
  • Westminster
  • Kensington and Chealsea
  • Sutton
  • Croyden
  • Bromley
  • Southwork
  • Lewisham
  • Greenwhich
  • Barking and Dagenham
  • City of London
  • Tower Hamlets
Analysis of 2015 data in England and Wales showed that out of the 136 councils who audited their supply:
  • 49 local authorities lacked places for two year olds who qualify for free early education
  • 32 local authorities had shortages of places for three and four-year-olds who qualify for free early education.
  • 46 local authorities lacked after-school childcare
  • 39 local authorities lacked holiday childcare

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive at the Family and Childcare Trust said: “These are worrying findings at a time when the Government is pushing through its ambitious and welcome plans to make childcare more affordable for parents.

“Demand for extra hours of free childcare is likely to be high and we are concerned that a significant number of local authorities in England will not be able to meet this demand.

“We are calling on central Government to hold local authorities to account if they fail to monitor and publish childcare data by making it a requirement in order to receive funding for the extended free childcare offer.”

The Family and Childcare Trust also wants the Department for Education to provide guidance to local authorities to help them monitor childcare effectively, and provide funding to help close the gaps.

In 2015 only 43 per cent of local authorities in England, and 18 per cent in Wales have enough childcare to meet the needs of working parents, down from 46 per cent and 50 per cent respectively in 2012.

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