To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the timetables for the consultation of parents and the funding review to ensure that childcare providers are properly reimbursed for the free places they supply, announced by Lord Nash on 16 June (HL Deb, col 1085); whether the findings will be made public; and what is their assessment of how the findings will impact on the content of the Childcare Bill [HL].
On 25 June 2015, the government made a policy statement available to the House of Lords, setting out further details on the government’s intention behind the Childcare Bill, to aid Peers in their scrutiny of the Bill ahead of Committee Stage.
The government wants to engage with parents, providers and employers about how they currently access and deliver childcare and what they think are the relative priorities for an additional 15 hours of childcare. This will begin in the summer.
We want to hear what is important to parents in choosing a childcare provider and their views on how the extended entitlement will best meet their childcare needs. We will make the best use of the consultation channels available, including social media and online forums and we are keen to work with employers who have a shared interest in this agenda to hear the views of their busy, working parents. Many voluntary and community sector organisations have already offered to host events for parents and providers, including groups representing and supporting disabled children and their parents, and we will be working with them to plan these events. We are also hoping to work closer with employer organisations such as the Confederation of British Industry who have welcomed the extension of the free childcare entitlement.
The government has committed to increasing the average rate that providers are paid for the entitlement and the cross-government review of the cost of providing childcare is underway. The objective of the review is to inform decisions on the level of funding providers require to deliver quality childcare provision at good value to the taxpayer, and be consistent with the government’s fiscal plans.
A call for evidence to inform the review was launched on 15 June and will close on 10 August. This is part of a process of gathering the necessary evidence which will inform the outcome of the review and report in the autumn.