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Departmental Child care Facilities

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what child care (a) provision and (b) assistance is available to her Department's staff; (89545)

(2) whether there are waiting lists for places at child care facilities which her Department provides for its employees;

(3) which of her Department's main premises have child care facilities on site.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides a range of support for people with child care needs.

The Department participates in the Westminster holiday play scheme which is run at four central London sites. This scheme costs £25 per day per child, of which the Department subsidises half. There is not a set number of allocated places to the Department and places are offered on a first come, first served basis. Waiting lists for these places occur if a date and site become over-subscribed. The Department does not have on-site child care facilities at any of its own premises.

The Department also offers child care vouchers through a salary sacrifice scheme to provide parents with maximum flexibility in choosing the child care most suited to their needs. DCMS meets the cost of administration which is 5.5 per cent of the value of vouchers taken by staff. Currently there are nine members of staff who take advantage of this scheme.

The Department has also introduced the Family Life Solutions service for all staff (a free and confidential telephone helpline service offering support to people with caring responsibilities and information on a range of issues, including child care). The cost of this for the Department is approximately £1,500 per year for 520 staff.