The Childcare Act 2006 places a duty for local authorities to work in partnership with providers to influence childcare provision as far as reasonably practicable, to ensure that there is sufficient childcare for working parents, or parents who are studying or training for employment, for children aged 0 to 14 or up to 18 for disabled children.
What is included
The CSA takes into account what is reasonably practicable when assessing what sufficient childcare means in their area and:
- The state of the local childcare market, including the demand for specific types of providers in a particular locality and the amount and type of supply that currently exists.
- The state of the labour market.
- The quality and capacity of childcare providers including their funding, staff, premises, experience and expertise.
- Encourage schools in their area to offer out-of-hours childcare from 8am and 6pm.
- Encourage existing providers to expand their provision and new providers to enter the local childcare market.
The Childcare Sufficiency Assessment includes:
- A specific reference to how the local authority is ensuring there is sufficient childcare available to meet the needs of: disabled children; children from families in receipt of the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit; children with parents who work irregular hours; children aged 2, 3 and 4 taking up early education places; school age children; and children needing holiday care.
- Information about the supply and demand of childcare for particular age ranges of children and the affordability, accessibility and quality of provision.
- Details of how gaps in childcare provision will be addressed.
The Childcare Sufficiency Assessment is reported to elected council members on how they are meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare.