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Children: Day Care

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial implications in terms of (a) rewards for fulfilment and (b) penalties for failure will be introduced on local authorities following the introduction in April 2008 of the duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents. (154312)

[holding answer 8 October 2007]: I have been asked to reply.

We are determined that local authorities should have the resources they need to fulfil the statutory duty to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, sufficient childcare to meet the needs of working parents. Accordingly, from April 2008 the Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant will include an appropriate allocation. Successive sufficiency assessments conducted by local authorities will indicate their success in closing gaps in provision; and the Government offices for the regions will also monitor authorities’ progress in securing sufficiency. It will be open to anyone who believes they have been the victim of maladministration by local authorities in relation to the sufficiency duty to seek redress through various means, including the Local Government Ombudsman.

The Government do not consider that it would be appropriate to introduce a system of financial rewards and penalties in relation to fulfilment of this statutory duty.