(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on playgroups and child care establishments of the increase in Ofsted’s inspection fees in 2010; and if he will make a statement;
(3) if he will assess the merits of Ofsted’s decision to increase inspection fees for child care establishments in 2010;
(4) what discussions he has had with child care establishment representative organisations on Ofsted’s increase in inspection fees for playgroups in 2010;
(5) what representations he has received on the increase in Ofsted’s inspection fees for child care establishments and playgroups in 2010;
(6) what the reasons are for the increase in Ofsted’s inspection fees for child care establishments and playgroups in 2010; and if he will make a statement.
The proposals for the levels of fees for the Early Years Register and the compulsory part of the Ofsted Childcare Register from September 2008 were set out in the consultation—Childcare Act 2006: Future Approach to Fees and Subsidies and the accompanying impact assessment. The consultation exercise ended on 20 February and we received 3,639 written responses. The Government response to the consultation will be published shortly alongside decisions on fee levels for 2008 and the approach to fee setting in the longer term.
As we made clear in the consultation document and impact assessment, our proposals are designed to give effective, locally managed support to the child care sector so that parents and children can have the child care that they need. We proposed that new targeted support arrangements would be administered by local authorities as part of their new child care sufficiency duty. There is no reduction in subsidy under our proposals. The proposal was that we move from a national blanket 100 per cent. subsidy to an arrangement where some funding is available for local decisions about how best to use the money to respond to local market conditions.
During the consultation, we met with many key stakeholders from the child care sector including representative organisations and local authorities, whose views are being taken into account as we analyse the responses to the consultation and make decisions.