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Departmental Child Care Facilities

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what child care (a) provision and (b) assistance is available to his Department’s staff. (89578)

To support parents in making their own choices about where and what type of child care they want for their children, the Department for International Development (DFID) offers a number of options.

We introduced a salary sacrifice scheme in April 2005. This enables our employees to take part of their salary in child care vouchers and generates a tax and national insurance saving for the employee. This scheme offers the advantage of supporting parents to make their own choices about where and what type of child care they want for their child. From April to July 2006, £36,521.22 was the total value of vouchers obtained by employees through salary sacrifice of which £33,615.68 was exempt from tax and national insurance.

DFID also reimburses child care expenses for parents who are required to work or travel on days they would not normally work. 22 employees have been reimbursed this financial year, amounting to £8,641.25.

DFID provides a holiday playscheme on site for its employees in London as part of the Westminster Holiday Playscheme. The scheme is administered and run by BUPA Childcare under contract. DFID is one of four sites in Central London open to participating Government Departments. 12 DFID parents have used the playscheme in this financial year, at a cost of £1,365.78. This is half of the total cost of playscheme places, with DFID subsidising parents’ costs by 50 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which of his Department’s premises have child care facilities on site. (89579)

The Department for International Development (DFID) provides child care facilities on the premises of its London office. This is in the form of a holiday playscheme, part of the Westminster Holiday Playscheme, administered and run by BUPA Childcare on contract. The scheme is open to participating Government Departments, and takes children between the ages of four years 10 months (as long as they are in full-time education) and 12 years. The Westminster Holiday Playscheme caters for 96 children in total, 36 of which are able to use the DFID site.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether there are waiting lists for places at child care facilities which his Department provides for its employees. (89580)

The Department for International Development (DFID) does not maintain a waiting list for staff who are unable to obtain places on the Westminster Holiday Playscheme. The administration is dealt with by the child care providers, BUPA Childcare, and they maintain a centralised waiting list for unsuccessful parents from all of the participating Government Departments, allocating places when they become available. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.