children playing

Childcare bill consultation: Consultation on legislative proposals for the future of childcare and early years provision in England

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
Implementing the Ten Year Strategy for Childcare
Government of Great Britain. Department of Education and Skills.
government document
Publication Date: 
15 Jul 2005

Excerpts from the press release:

All parents are to be able to secure a fair deal for childcare, following the announcement that the Government will legislate to ensure Local Authorities secure sufficient childcare for children in their area. Children, Young People and Families Minister Beverley Hughes today set out her goal of enshrining in law parents' legitimate expectation of accessible high quality childcare and early years provision as part of the modern 21st century welfare state.

Beverley Hughes today launched a consultation which takes forward commitments to legislate in the ten-year strategy Choice for parents, the best start for children (published December 2004) which highlights the importance of giving every child the best start in life and offers parents and carers more choice about balancing work and family life.

A Childcare Bill this Parliamentary session will confirm the vital role of local authorities as strategic leaders, with an obligation to work in partnership across all sectors and particularly with the voluntary and private sectors to shape the future provision of childcare and delivery of early years services, raising quality and improving outcomes for all children and parents. The Bill will:

- place a duty giving local authorities the lead role in facilitating the childcare market to ensure it meets the needs of working parents, in particular those on low incomes and with disabled children
- require local authorities to improve the outcomes of all children under 5 and close the gaps between groups with the poorest outcomes and the rest, by ensuring early years services are integrated and accessible
- ensure people have access to the full range of information they may need as a parent
- lead to a reformed, simplified, childcare and early years regulation framework to reduce bureaucracy and focus on raising quality

The needs of children and their parents are at the heart of the proposed legislation, with local authorities as their champions, ensuring that their views are heard in the planning and delivery of services which should reflect the real needs of families.

Beverley Hughes said:

"What we are announcing today is a bold move which will help ensure all parents can expect a reasonable level of access to affordable, flexible childcare for their children. It will also raise the quality of childcare for those crucial birth-to-five years through our new quality framework for that age group, regardless of the setting.

"What this means for parents, whatever their backgrounds, is the certainty of knowing that high quality local services will be provided to support them and their children in ways that suit their needs.

"Early childhood is a time of vital importance in children's development. Children's experiences in the earliest years of their life are critical to their subsequent development. They should be enjoyable, secure years, but full of fun and challenge."