Local authorities have a legal duty to ensure there are sufficient childcare places in their area.
Our guidance makes clear how we expect local authorities to fund early years entitlement places during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/use-of-free-early-education-entitlements-funding-during-coronavirus-covid-19. Local authorities should only take a different approach from that set out in guidance if they have good reasons for doing so and should communicate this clearly to their providers.
Through our regular contacts, it is apparent that the vast majority of local authorities have been compliant with our funding guidance throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
Where concerns about funding arrangements have been raised through our regular contacts with early years sector stakeholders, officials have engaged with the relevant authorities in order to clarify and reinforce the government’s expectations regarding funding, as set out in our guidance.