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Departmental Child Care Facilities

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what childcare (a) provision and (b) assistance is available to his Department’s staff. (89460)

The Home Office provides childcare support as part of a range of work-life balance benefits for staff and in order to promote equality of opportunity. As part of the provision a limited number of subsidised workplace nursery and playscheme places are provided for staff in London, Croydon and Merseyside. The following table shows the nurseries and playschemes used. The Home Office also operates a Childcare Voucher salary sacrifice scheme. The scheme was introduced in June 2005 and is now available to all Home Office staff, including those working for the immigration and nationality Directorate and the prison service. Identity and passport service staff have access to a “salary plus” childcare voucher scheme. This provides eligible staff with childcare vouchers in addition to their salary to the value of £20 per week for pre-school children aged 0-4 and £15 per week for after school and holiday care for children aged 5-12. Additionally, IPS staff are able to use the Home Office salary sacrifice scheme to enable them to obtain the maximum benefit from the tax and National Insurance exemption. A separate table setting out the nursery and playscheme provision is also shown.

Workplace nursery places



Number of places available

Buffer Bear Network

Central London and the South East

Off site


Sunbeam Nursery1


On site


Early Days Nursery


Off site


Holiday Playschemes



Number of places (days)

Westminster Holiday Playscheme

Central London

Off site


Happy Hours Playscheme


Off Site


Sunbeam Playscheme




Kidz Club Playscheme


Off site


1 The Sunbeam Nursery will be closing in December 20006

2 Use of the playscheme varies and places are generally provided on a ‘first come first served basis’ The figures provided are based on the number of days used by staff in the financial year 2005-06. year.

3 As use of the playscheme varies an estimate has been provided based on usage of the scheme so far this