What is childcare sufficiency?
Section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006 requires local authorities to ensure there is sufficient childcare to meet the needs of parents and carers with children aged up to 14 years old (or up to 18 years old for disabled children and children with additional needs) to enable them to take up or remain in work, or undertake training that could assist them to obtain work.
Childcare sufficiency is more than just making sure there is ‘enough’ childcare. It is also about:
- making sure that the childcare is available, accessible and affordable so that parents have the opportunity to use childcare in their area
- making sure it is of good quality so that it benefits the child
- and providing parents with a choice of childcare so they can choose the childcare that meets their needs.
Why do we complete a childcare sufficiency assessment?
Section 11 of the Childcare Act 2006, requires local authorities to assess the sufficiency of childcare in their area.
Under the Department for Education’s (DfE) Early Education and Childcare: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities, Devon County Council should report annually to elected council members on how they are meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare and make this report available and accessible to parents. This guidance also sets out what should be included in this report.
- Childcare Sufficiency Annual Reports
Childcare sufficiency hot spots?
‘Hot spots’ are areas where the Early Years and Childcare Service need to take action to ensure there is sufficient, flexible early years and childcare provision for parents to undertake work or training and for children to access their entitlement to early education.
A hot spot will often be determined by factors beyond the control of the Early Years and Childcare Service.
A hot spot could be:
- A geographical area where more places are needed
- A need for more places for a specific age group of children
- A need for childcare at a particular time of the day
- A need for childcare during specific weeks of the year
- A need to increase the take up of the universal entitlement
- A need to increase the take up of the extended entitlement
- A need to increase the take up of hours of the universal entitlement
- A need to increase the take up of hours of the extended entitlement
- A need to increase providers that can offer the extended entitlement (30 hours)
- A need for a provider that is open all year to stretch the funding over more than 38 weeks
- A need to target providers that are not registered for Tax-Free Childcare
- An area where new housing is planned
- An area where there is a falling birth rate
- An area where there is a rising birth rate
- An area of low quality provision – high percentage of providers graded as requires improvement or inadequate by Ofsted.
The childcare sufficiency hot spots are identified in the latest Childcare Sufficiency Annual Report.
For further information please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who should parents contact if they cannot find childcare?
If you are a parent, unable to find suitable childcare, please contact the Childcare Brokerage Service who will be able to help you. It is important that you let us know so that it can aid planning. Demand for childcare is the amount of childcare parents require across Devon and is key to determining what is ‘sufficient’. In Devon, we monitor the enquiries to the Family Information Service from parents looking for childcare to determine where there is demand. Therefore, if you are a parent unable to find suitable childcare, it is important that you report this back to Devon County Council. Please complete a feedback form below:
Parents Childcare Survey
Whether you use childcare or not, your voice counts. The answers you give in this short survey will help the early years and childcare team in Devon County Council to plan and make sure there is enough childcare for you to work or train. This data is being collected to assess the need for childcare and will be used with information from childcare providers to determine the sufficiency of childcare provision in Devon.
Termly Provider Survey
A survey is emailed out to all early years and childcare providers each term to gather vital information on the settings capacity to inform our sufficiency duty. This survey is pre-populated and we would appreciate your time in completing it. Look out for the email in your inbox.
New and developing childcare businesses
Are you thinking of developing a new early years and childcare business or expanding your current business? Are you unsure where to start? Please visit our New and developing early years and childcare businesses page for more information.
Early Years Entitlement complaints procedure
If you are not satisfied that your child has received their free place or are not satisfied with any aspect of the way in which you have received it please tell us by going to our complaints contact page
Alternatively, you can contact us:
Phone: 01392 385530
Early Years and Childcare Service
Room 170, County Hall
- Further information