Duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents failings.

The request was successful.

Dear Essex County Council,

According to the Childcare Act 2006

"6. Duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents

(1)An English local authority must secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the provision of childcare (whether or not by them) is sufficient to meet the requirements of parents in their area who require childcare in order to enable them—
(a)to take up, or remain in, work, or
(b)to undertake education or training which could reasonably be expected to assist them to obtain work."

Essex County Council, to my knowledge and that of the council's childcare brokerage service, have failed for the past 7 years to meet this statutory duty with regards to childcare for children over 11, those with special educational needs or disabilities.

I would like to know what measures, if any, are being put in place to address this specific need gap.

Yours faithfully,

Tracy Hayden

Your Right To Know, Essex County Council

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Sophie Pennell
Your Right to Know
Information Services
Essex County Council
Telephone: 033301 38989
E-mail: [email address]

Your Right To Know, Essex County Council

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Paula Girling

Your Right to Know

Information Services

Essex County Council

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Dear Ms Girling,

Thank you very much for the swift response to my request.

I would like to know if any of the measures outlined in your response are new or have these been in place for a while.
I'd like to point out with Universal Credit being rolled out completely by this time next year it will become an even more pressing issue that childcare is available to all families.
It will save local authorities money because the consequences of families being unable to access employment, pay the bills and council tax, will be costly. The waiting list for housing is already around 5000 in the Chelmsford area.

So if these measures are old, and have clearly not solved the specific need gap, someone really does need to think up some new strategies so Essex County Council can meet their obligations under the Childcare Act.

Yours sincerely,

Tracy Hayden

Your Right To Know, Essex County Council

Good morning Tracy,

I have asked the service area for a response to your request asking if 'any of the measures outlined in your response are new or have these been in place for a while?'

They have responded with the following:

The measures outlined in our response have all been in place for a while and are not new. Essex County Council seeks to encourage childcare providers across Essex to offer a flexible childcare offer that meets the needs of the local community and the strategies we have in place are intended to support childcare providers in this, and will continue to do this.

Kind regards,

Tom MacGregor

Your Right To Know
Information Services
Essex County Council
T: 033301 38989
E: [email address]
W: www.essex.gov.uk

Dear Mr MacGregor,

Thank you for your response.
As someone once said (the origin is ambiguous) "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

Now clearly if these measures have been in place for a while and have not achieved the desired outcome then new ideas must be sought.
I have researched this myself and I suggest the team in charge of incentivising new childcare initiatives take a look at this https://councilfordisabledchildren.org.u...

There are some great examples of good practices at the end, it maybe worth the council getting in contact to see if and how they could adopt these practices themselves. The scheme in Wakefield looks ideal.

When Universal Credit is less than a year away it's imperative to the welfare of many families that the council makes sure there is childcare for all, those over 11 and those with special needs, not just the early years.

Yours sincerely,

Tracy Hayden

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