Agenda Item No. 11
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) : 22nd September, 2014
Report of the Director of Learning and Skills
Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2013/14
Purpose of the Report
1. To advise Members of the current position and progress in relation to the development of the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA) 2013-14.
1. That Members note the key findings and recommendations.
2. That Scrutiny consider the draft action plan to address the gaps identified by the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To enable Members to consider recommendations for the review of childcare provision.
2. To ensure Members are kept informed of the progress of childcare provision.
2. The duties under sections 22, 26 and 27 of the Childcare Act 2006 require local authorities to shape and support the development of childcare provision in the local area in order to make it flexible, sustainable and responsive to the needs of the community.
3. The Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership (EYDCP) is made up of representatives from the Council, Voluntary Sector, Health and other agencies. The EYDCP is responsible for undertaking the statutory duties in relation to early years and childcare under the Childcare Act 2006.
4. The EYDCP aims are to:
- to promote and develop good quality early years and childcare services within the authorities boundaries, for children 0-14 (and up to 18 for those children with a disability);
- tackle child poverty by providing assisted places for children, sustainability grants to settings and expansion of childcare places in settings etc.;
- to promote diversity of provision and parental choice;
- to ensure that all children have access locally to appropriate provision and a curriculum which provides opportunities for them to realise their full potential;
- to ensure information advice and assistance is available to parents, prospective parents and children and young people on childcare and other services or facilities which may be of benefit; and
- ensure there is sufficient childcare available in the area for working parents.
5. The duty is to aid parents to access childcare locally that meets their needs and enables them to make a real choice about work. Local Authorities are best placed to understand and respond to local needs.
6. Welsh Government requests a full CSA every 3 years with an annual refresh. All Local Authorities are encouraged to use the Cordis Bright developed toolkit in order to complete their CSAs. The toolkit provided essential information on preparing for a CSA, demographic information required, partners involved, timescales, consultation methods and so forth.
7. Full Childcare Sufficiency Assessments have been carried out in 2007-8, 2010-11 and the latest in 2013-14 (Appendix 1), with an annual refresh. Full assessments look in detail at the demography, make up of children and families, childcare demand and supply and economic development and employment within the Vale of Glamorgan. In addition, consultations were conducted with childcare providers, children and young people, employers, wider partner organisations and parents and final reports produced.
8. There have been continuous themes running through all the Vale’s CSAs with regard to gaps identified, for example: to support parents on low incomes with childcare costs, support Welsh Medium provision address gaps in available childcare for shift workers, support children in need and children with disabilities and training needs for childcare providers.
9. The latest full CSA was made available for public consultation via the Vale of Glamorgan website, Vale of Glamorgan staffnet, via partners with the EYDCP and wider partners. The consultation period ended during March 2014.
Relevant Issues and Options
10. The final CSA report 2014 highlighted a number of gaps which included:
- affordability of childcare;
- demand for Welsh Medium childcare places not meeting the needs;
- broader childcare needs for those parents working different shift patterns;
- availability of childcare in specific geographical areas of the Vale; and
- a need to enhance the promotion of the Family Information Service to parents regarding information on tax credits, childcare information, information on children’s and young people’s services etc.
11. The final CSA was submitted to the Welsh Government in April 2014. A Draft action plan (Appendix 2) has been completed in partnership with members of the EYDCP and is currently out for consultation and will be submitted to Welsh Government for approval.
12. To address the gaps highlighted within the CSA, an Out of Schools Childcare Grant (OOSC Grant) has been allocated to the Children and Young People’s Partnerships for 2014 -15. This funding is utilised to support the sustainability of existing out of school childcare settings, to develop new childcare places/settings, make provision for children through the medium of Welsh and to continue with the Assisted Places scheme, supporting children in childcare who either have a disability/additional need or are a 'child in need’. Welsh Government have accepted the Vale of Glamorgan’s proposals for the OOSC Grant 2014-15 (Appendix 3).
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
13. To support the duties under sections 22, 26 and 27 of the Childcare Act 2006, funds were devolved to the Children and Young People's Partnership within Local Authorities to support the development of childcare provision. These funds amount to £108,000.
14. In addition Welsh Government currently fund an annual 'Out of School Childcare Grant’ (£94,000) although the future of this funding remains unclear. A part-time (15hr) Childcare Development Worker post exists, to support existing and new childcare settings within the Vale. Each year, Welsh Government require Local Authorities to provide a quarterly financial and narrative update against the targets they have set. A copy of the 2013-14 report on spend can be found in Appendix 4.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
15. The devolved childcare funds and Out of School Grant both help address identified gaps identified within the CSA, future funding settlements risk the sustainability/ continuation of the work.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
16. The duties under sections 22, 26 and 27 of the Childcare Act 2006 require Local Authorities to shape and support the development of childcare provision in the local area in order to make it flexible, sustainable and responsive to the needs of the community.
17. The Act expands and clarifies in legislation:
- The vital role the local authorities play as strategic leaders in the provision of childcare locally.
- Reinforces the framework within which local authorities already work in partnership with the private, voluntary, independent, community and maintained sector – to shape and secure children’s services and focuses in particular on the provision of: sufficient sustainable and flexible childcare that is responsive to parents' needs; and information, advice and assistance to parents, prospective parents and those with parental responsibility or care of a child, relating to childcare.
- The Local Authority is required to undertake the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment. The assessment is a measurement of the nature and extent for the need for, and supply of, childcare in each Local Authority.
Crime and Disorder Implications
18. There are no crime and disorder implications with respect to this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
19. The intention is to ensure that parents are able to access childcare locally that meets their needs and enables them to make a real choice about work.
20. Children have a right to appropriate childcare provision that not only meets minimum requirements, but also respects and promotes their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
21. In Section 22 of the Child Care Act 2006 which deals with a duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents specifically sets out that in determining whether the provision of childcare is sufficient to meet the requirements, the Local Authority must have regard to the needs of parents in their area for provision of childcare which is suitable for disabled children. The guidance sets out that the Local Authority should consider the particular issues around access to childcare for black and other minority ethnic families, lone parents and those making a transition to work including those children. The guidance sets out that the Local Authority will also need to consider the availability of childcare to support parents working atypical hours.
22. Within the Community Strategy, the Children and Young People’s Partnership plan demonstrates local commitment to joint services and outcomes-based planning that concentrates on the needs and rights of all children and young people.
Policy Framework and Budget
23. This is a matter for executive decision.
24. This report is within the Council’s Policy Framework and the budget is via the Welsh Government's Out of School Childcare Grant 2014-15.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
25. Consultation was carried out with parents, childcare providers, children and young people, partner organisations and employers within the Vale of Glamorgan.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
26. Lifelong Learning.
Debbie Maule, Children’s Partnership Co-ordinator
Paula Ham - Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources
Carolyn Michael - Operational Manager Accountancy
Rachel Evans - Head of Children and Young People's Services
Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills