Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children
I am, today, publishing the Childcare Statutory Guidance, which will assist local authorities to discharge their statutory duties under sections 22, 26 and 27 of the Childcare Act 2006, and section 118A of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, to:
- ensure sufficient childcare is available
- undertake and review childcare sufficiency assessments
- to provide information, advice and assistance to parents, prospective parents and those with parental responsibility or care of a child, relating to childcare.
The guidance will support the matters prescribed in the Childcare Act 2006 (Local Authority Assessment) (Wales) Regulations 2016 which came into force on 1 April 2016.
It also updates information about the local authority’s power to provide childcare, their arrangements with childcare providers and charges for the provision of childcare under sections 23, 24 and 25 of the Childcare Act 2006.
Additionally, the views of the informal childcare working group have been taken into account, in refining the Childcare Sufficiency Assessment process in relation to a local authority’s duty to assess and secure sufficient childcare provision which will, in future, result in:
- a more consistent and standardised approach to capturing and reporting data to inform the development of national policies and programmes and provide an all-Wales level picture of provision
- a more usable information source, which will enable local authorities to efficiently manage and assess the sufficiency of childcare provision
- more clarity for local authorities about the information to be captured and assurance that the statutory requirements of the duty are being met
- a less burdensome and more proportionate approach
- better alignment and integration across key planning and assessment processes at a local and national level.
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the stakeholder working group on childcare for their work to inform the revised guidance.