Research into Day Care
Needs within Sure Start
Areas of the
Western Area Childcare Partnership
Overview - Day Care Research Mr Gerry Conway 4
Children & Young People’s Package 5
Day Care 5
Western Childcare Partnership & Sure Start Projects 6
What do we know & What do we need to know? 6-7
Employers Views 8
Parents Views 9
Parents Views (other issues relevant to childcare) 9
Parents Views (where childcare impacts on
returning to work or training) 10
Gaps in childcare services 10
Training & Recruitment Organisations Views 10 - 11
Early Childhood Education ~v~ Childcare 11
Early Childhood Education Programmes 11
Childcare (Day care during working hours) Services 11 – 12
Average cost of childcare and government supports 12
Extended Schools 12 - 13
Department for Employment & Learning 13
Jobs & Benefits Office 13 - 14
Further Education Colleges 14
Higher Education 14
Results of Sure Start Day Care Pilot 14
Sure Start Projects – Summary table of use of Day Care
funding by Project 15 - 18
Employment Links Coordinators 19 - 20
Western Inter - Agency Task Force 21
Appendix 1 – Definitions of types of Child Care available
Appendix 2 – Map and Population of Children in Sure Start Areas in the
Western Partnership Area
Appendix 3 – Planning of Day Care Research, Western Childcare Partnership
& Sure Start Projects 21/09/07
Appendix 4 – Extended Schools, Libraries & Early Years Provision in the
Appendix 5 – Day Care Programme Criteria
Appendix 6 – Tender Document, Day Care Research in Western Childcare
Appendix 7 – Paying for Childcare, (Government Supports)
Overview - Day Care Research
Integral to the expansion funding allocated by DE for Sure Start in 2006 was
an allocation for the development of Day Care to support the needs of parents
in training and employment.
The Western Area Childcare Partnership addressed this by requesting all
Sure Start Projects to initially use this funding to “promote the development of
Day Care” recognising the limitations of the available funding.
Underpinning a recurring use of the funding is the need to engage in an
analysis of the need for Day Care in each project area, a scoping of the
available accessible services and an identification of the gaps. This analysis
requires the contribution of planners, Day Care providers, training providers,
employers and most importantly the views of parents themselves.
What follows is a summary of work undertook by Lynx Business Services,
which we hope provides policy makers, planners, providers, projects and
parents with a direction for the future.
Mr Gerry Conway
Chair, Western Area Childcare Partnership
Children & Young People’s Funding Package
During March 2006, the Rt. Hon. Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Northern
Ireland introduced the Children and Young People Funding Package
(CYPFP). This 2 year funding package was to fund new activities, expansions
/ development of proven innovation, that would be underpinned by greater co-
operation between Departments and their agencies to secure more effective
services through integrated service delivery.
The overall aim of the CYPFP was to reduce underachievement and improve
the life chances of children and young people by enhancing their educational
development and fostering their health, well-being and social inclusion though
the integrated delivery of the support and services necessary to ensure that
every child has the best start in life.
The CYPFP was budgeted as follows:
£28.4 million in 2006-2007
£33.3 million in 2007-2008
The budget was allocated across a number of key themes:
Theme 1 Extended Schools (£13.25m/£13.3m)
Theme 2 Early years Provision (0-4 yrs) (£3.85m/£7m)
Theme 3 Improving education provision and support for looked-after
children and vulnerable young adults (£2.85m/£2.75m)
Theme 4 Youth Outreach Initiative (£9.75m/£1.025m)
Theme 5 Child protection (£1.8m/£2.25m)
Theme 6 Children with special needs and disabilities (£5.9m/£6.675m)
Governmental guidance was provided in relation to each of the above themes.
Theme 2 provided a budget allocation for Daycare of £0.65million in year one
rising to £1.2 million in year two. Guidance indicated that the funds would be
used for: -
“Day care to be provided within Sure Start projects; this funding will identify and
meet need for day care in areas of deprivation to allow parents to access work or
Western Childcare Partnership & Sure Start Projects
The Western Childcare Partnership was established in 2000 and had been
operating under the Northern Ireland Childcare Strategy, “Children First” since
its establishment to develop an infrastructure of accessible, quality, affordable
childcare services for parents who wished to avail of this type of service. The
types of childcare services supported by the Childcare Partnership were:
Crèches, Childminders, Day Nurseries, Playgroups, Out-of-Schools facilities,
and Sure Starts (See Appendix 1 - definitions).
It did this by facilitating a group of 32 stakeholders made up of representatives
from the private, community, voluntary and statutory sector, to make important
decisions in relation to the various funding streams available within Northern
Ireland to support childcare from a variety of sources. These included:
Special European Funding, Lottery Funding, and funding from different
Government Departments, such as: DEL, DE and the DHSS&PS.
Between 2000 and this announcement, there were 6 Sure Start Projects
within the Western Area. With the assistance of the CYPFP 5 of the existing
Sure Starts expanded into additional ward areas, and 3 new Sure Starts were
established. The overall goal was to provide Sure Start services within the
20% Most Deprived Wards. (See Appendix 2 - map of Sure Start
Additionally, the Sure Start Projects were asked to implement: -
A programme for 2 Year Olds (children in their penultimate pre-school
Day Care services
These were two very new departures for the Sure Start Projects not just within
the Western Area but also within Northern Ireland as a whole.
What follows is a summary of the actions taken by the 9 Sure Start projects
along with the Western Childcare Partnership to ensure the effective
deployment of the Day Care budget as provided under the CYPFP. This
experience is being documented to assist with future Day Care Planning
Strategies to meet the needs of children and families within Northern Ireland.
Also included are the summarised results of the research taken on behalf of
the Sure Starts and Childcare Partnership by Lynx Business System into the
“demand” for day care within the Western Area.
What do we know & What do we need to know?
On 21st September 2007, Childcare Partnership representatives sat down
with the Managers of the 9 Sure Start Projects in the West and began to
determine the gaps in information that needed to be identified in relation to
Day Care Services within the Western Area. This would form the basis of the
research brief that would be put out to tender to get some answers on the
questions that needed to be asked. A summary of this session is contained in
Fortunately, the Childcare Partnership had already mapped the various types
of childcare services available within its area in an effort to support the
implementation of the Extended Schools Programme (See Appendix 4). This
information provided an overview of the “supply” component of the equation.
It became apparent that in addition to seeking feedback from parents on their
day care needs that it would also be necessary to question other stakeholders
(i.e. Employers, Jobs & Benefits Officers, Training & Employment
Organisations, and Higher Educational Institutions). It was felt that this wider
catchment of stakeholders was necessary as the remit for use of the Day
Care funding (per CYFP) stated that it was to be used to research and “to
meet need for day care in areas of deprivation to allow parents to access work
or training.” A variety of questions needed to be asked of the training and
employment organisations, such as:
Which courses would allow parents to attain gainful employment upon
completion (i.e. NVQ Level 1, 2, 3, or Basic Interview Skills, etc)?
Which courses currently being offered have a childcare incentive
attached to them? (It would be important for the Sure Starts to know
this because they would not then be in a position to offer a free
childcare place to parents.)
If a childcare incentive was attached to the programme and the parent
needed a Sure Start childcare place, how should this be handled?
(Sure Starts are not allowed to generate income.)
With these concerns in mind, the Western Childcare Partnership encouraged
their 9 Sure Start projects to use their pilot funding to increase the availability
of childcare places within their areas (See Appendix 5).
All agreed that in addition to investigating the demand for childcare places,
the successful research tenderer should develop a resource tool containing
information on the “Back-to-Work” initiatives and their appropriateness in
supporting parents in returning to work and or training, and an indication on
whether there was a childcare incentive attached to these schemes. For a
review of the tender document developed within the Western Area (See
Lynx Business Systems, 22 Bodoney Road, Derrylea, Trillick, Co. Tyrone
BT78 3SQ was awarded the research tender and they began their work
during December 2007. A copy of their extensive report is available from the
Western Childcare Partnership but the purpose of this summary report is to
give an overview of the process undertaken and Lynx’s research findings.
Lynx’s research methodology included:
Primary research information, which was collected in four main ways
Face to face interviews
Focus groups / discussion fora
Secondary research data was obtained from
The research undertaken by Lynx was focused within the 9 Sure Start areas
only. It is important to bear in mind that Sure Start projects are based in
areas of high deprivation and therefore, if this research were extended to non-
Sure Start areas a very different picture might emerge.
A summary of the results contained within Lynx’s final report are summarised
Employers appear to be unaware of the impact of childcare issues on
their employee’s lives (to the extent that employees indicated that they
have left employment in the past due to childcare problems).
Employers tend not to be interested in childcare unless it impacts on
the employee’s performance.
Some employers try to accommodate the Work/Life Balance of their
Half of the employers interviewed indicated that they would like to work
more closely with Childcare Providers.
Employers are not particularly interested in finding out about childcare
Employers use the term “she” when referring to employees likely to
have childcare issues.
Lynx indicated that it was difficult to obtain responses from Employers
Half of the parents in the focus groups who currently do not work and
do not use childcare have had to change their job to suit their childcare
62% of the parents in the focus groups and telephone interviews, who
currently work and use childcare state that they have had to change
their work place to suit their childcare needs.
62% of parents in the focus groups who currently do not work and do
not use childcare believe that employers see parents of small children
in a bad light.
Just over 65% of parents in the focus groups and telephone interviews
who currently work and use childcare have had to change their work
patterns to suit the availability of childcare.
57% of parents in the focus groups and telephone interviews who
currently work and use childcare indicated that their employer had
been supportive towards their childcare needs.
The perception of most respondent parents who are not working is that
employers would not be so supportive.
The majority of parents would not want their child collected by taxi
(63% of respondents).
Parents that commute noted that childcare is required both before and
after they work (some as early as 7:00 am and after 5:00 pm).
Just over 40% of parents in focus groups and telephone interview who
currently work and use childcare state the childcare does not suit the
hours they work
Parents Views on a number of issues relevant to Childcare:
1. The majority of parents who do not access childcare do not work.
2. 12% of respondents either share
childcare with a partner or work around
3. Most of those who need childcare use
family and friends.
4. The main factors influencing the choice
and use of childcare are: price and
ease of access.
5. Parents didn’t identify quality as a key
factor when choosing childcare.
However, other factors impacting on quality were cited: reputation,
good staff and reliability. (Concerns were also raised about parents
using unregistered childminders to meet their childcare needs and the
impact this has on quality).
6. 245 respondents identified that they had either refused work or training
or lost out on further education or training because of childcare issues.
7. There are some parents committed to caring for their children at home
for whom working is not a preference. These are: Lone parents,
having a disabled child, and parents affected by cost and accessibility
8. 55% of parents who responded to the questionnaires issued via the
Western Sure Start projects indicated that they receive tax credits.
However, the issue of overpayments and subsequent re-coupment of
tax credits was raised at three of the focus groups.
9. In general parents appear to find it difficult to assess and understand
the information available on tax credits and had concerns about
possibly having to pay money back.
Instances cited by Parents when childcare has actually impacted on
Participants’ work or training, listed in order of greatest impact:
1. Refused work/training
2. Cost of childcare has affected hours/career
3. Not cost effective to pay for childcare
4. Lost out on training
5. Hours cut to suit
6. Can’t take more hours
7. Not cost effective to extend hours
8. Places not flexible at day care
9. Waiting for kids to start school
10. Had to wait till child at nursery to work full time
11. Lost out on further education
Gaps in childcare services as identified by Parents, listed in order of
1. Bit expensive (research indicates that the majority of parents surveyed
believe that childcare is expensive and not affordable)
2. Summer schemes
3. Want more afternoon sessions
4. Too short, by the time they are left you are picking them up again
5. Shortage of registered childminders
6. Would like a drop-in crèche for emergencies
7. Want to pay by hour not session
8. More morning sessions
Training & Recruitment Organisations Views
In the main, Training & Recruitment Organisations are not interested in
While signposting in relation to childcare takes place within some
organisations, it is not the case within all organisations.
Training organisations will assist with childcare costs in certain
Changes pending in New Deal may mean that relatives can be paid for
Respondent Organisations deal with 200 – 900 trainees and although
they hold information on the family (i.e. number of children, etc.) they
do not take this into consideration when assessing suitability for a job
or training as it may be seen as discrimatory practice.
Some organisations indicated that they found access to appropriate
childcare is a barrier for parent who wish to enter training or work.
Early Childhood Education ~v~ Childcare
It became apparent that the public are unaware of the dual approach being
employed within Northern Ireland in supporting parents with their childcare
needs (Childcare) while at training or work, and that of supporting the Early
Development of children in order to improve their long-term outcomes for life
(Childhood Education). Whilst parents wanted a “warm, caring, loving
environment” for their children, they did not seem to appreciate the
importance of quality service provision in meeting their child’s early
It is important to differentiate between Early Childhood Education and
Early Childhood Education Programmes
Early Childhood Education seeks to support and stimulate the child’s early
years development, and is the focus of statutory nursery provision and the
majority of playgroups. Early Childhood Education is subsidised by the
Department of Education through funding provided to the Pre-School
Education Expansion Programme and the direct funding of Sure Start
Childcare (Day care during working hours) Services
Childcare, which is essentially the care provided to children during the time
their parents are at work is provided by crèches, day nurseries, some
playgroups, out of schools facilities and childminders. Although quality
training and quality standards are provided for these facilities, they are
essentially a fee-for-service provision. Many facilities subsidise their provision
by doing their own fund-raising as well as charging parental fees. Parents can
avail of childcare tax credits and other Governmental incentives to meet their
childcare / day care needs while at work or in training.
This research identified that a mixture of service is provided and used by
parents to meet their childcare needs as follows:
Most provision is in the morning and is provided by Playgroups
70% of respondent Day Nurseries and Childminders cater for early
mornings, while 50% of Day Nurseries and Out of Schools Childcare
Services cater for after 5:00 pm pick-ups
The highest proportion of children availing of services are within the 3-4
year age range
The second highest proportion of children availing of services are
within the 0-3 year age range being catered to by crèches, day
nurseries, playgroups and Childminders. (It should be noted that Sure
Start services are also available to parents of children in this age range
that live within a Sure Start area).
Finally the 4- 11 year olds are catered to by the Out of School
Childcare and Day Nursery Providers
Crèches and playgroups currently provide the greatest proportion of
family support within the Western Area
Almost 60% (405) childcare provider respondents indicated that they
would like to work more closely with employers or training providers.
Average Cost of Childcare & Government Supports
Infant Toddler Pre-Schooler After-School
Weekly Weekly Weekly Weekly
Rate Rate Rate Rate
Average £113.17 £111.50 £109.50 £42.00
(See Appendix 7 - Government Supports)
From the above it would seem that there is significant Government investment
and uptake in Early Childhood Education. The uptake of Childcare appears to
be more dependent on parents accessing Government Childcare Tax Credits,
of which parents have indicated wariness in doing so (i.e. fear of
overpayments needed to be re-couped.) The research also revealed a need
to support parents in accessing and completing the necessary paperwork to
overcome complexities and to support those with literacy and numeracy
Types of services identified as being provided using Extended Schools
Breakfast Clubs (more popular in Urban than Rural Areas, possibly due
to bus times and accessibility).
Physical activities (swimming or outdoor activities) and sport in line with
promoting Healthy Lifestyles (transportation is a real issue in relation to
accessing these types of programmes within rural areas).
Rural provision tended to focus on evening activities involving parents.
Transportation appears to impact on the uptake of Extended Schools
activities on offer in rural areas because children travelling by bus
either can not access the after school activity or must be collected after
the activities is over.
Older children unable to access these services and who are not being
catered for under formal childcare arrangements (i.e. Day Nurseries,
Childminders, Out of Schools Clubs) are vulnerable to becoming
“Latch-Key” children (requires further investigation).
Department for Employment and Learning
DEL’s sub-regional structure is not co-terminus with the four Childcare
Partnership areas (HSSB based), which makes it more difficult to determine
access area, based local offices.
Jobs & Benefits Office
Lynx’s meeting with DEL’s District Manager provided the following feedback in
relation to childcare issues:
Following a visit to a local Jobs & Benefits Office, a parent will be
assigned a Personal Advisor who will advise the parent on the
availability of jobs and/or benefits. The Personal Advisor will not
advise the parent on childcare
directly but will provide, on request,
lists available in the public domain
of childcare providers and
Changes within DEL will mean that
parents in receipt of Income
Support and Incapacity benefit will
be invited to attend benefits review
interviews much earlier than
currently is the case. For instance,
Lone Parents currently on New
Deal are not reviewed while they
have children under 5 years. From
April 2008, lone parents will be
asked to attend a 6 monthly
interview: receipt of benefit is conditional on attendance at interview.
(Given that the Western Area has some of the highest levels of Child
Poverty and that the Sure Starts cater to the top 20% most deprived
wards within NI, there is a real concern to ensure that children within
these areas are not inadvertently, affected by any new Government
Other changes include, those on income support or incapacity benefit
will be moved onto a condition management programme which will be
a rolling programme focussed on preparing them for work. The
claimant’s partner will also be interviewed.
Some “training to work” schemes provide funding towards childcare
costs during the time the parent is participating in the scheme. Such
Pathways to Work
Back to Work
New Deal for Lone Parents
Further Education Colleges
Some Further Education Colleges provide their own on-site childcare to
meet the childcare needs of their trainees.
Lynx’s research identified a need to better coordinate with other local
University students have access to the new Access to Learning Fund, which
replaces the Hardship Fund (2004-2005). Each University receives central
government funding to assist students who need extra financial support
because they have higher than expected costs, including childcare costs.
Results of Sure Start Day care Pilot
As noted earlier, the Western Childcare Partnership advised the 9 Sure Start
Projects to use their pilot funding to increase the provision of childcare places
within their areas. This appeared to be a prudent approach while awaiting the
results of the research findings. All agreed that there were just too many
questions around managing daycare provision (i.e. management structures,
roles and responsibilities, and how such a service would be administered).
Additionally, caution needed to be exercised in order not to raise the
expectations of parents, and the concerns of local private childcare providers
who may see Sure Start as competing with their services.
The following table provides a summary of what the 9 Sure Start Projects
were able to achieve with their pilot funding under the CYPFP.
Sure Start Projects – Day Care Spend (as reported to DE)
Project Use of Day Care Reported Outcomes No. of Parents No. of Parents
funding (i.e. number of assisted by project in assisted by project in
additional childcare returning to training or returning to training or
places made available, work work specifically due
etc.) to additional Day Care
Little Hands Sure Start Childminding 9 8 3
Extended Day 25 24 8
Shantallow Childminding Under 5s up 20 places 7 7
Network Over 5s up 18 places
Edenballymore Childminding The Childminding Up to 26
Network Network matches
Extended Day parents with a suitable
Nursery Provision childminder.
Extended Day Nursery
Service provides 26
places x 3 days/wk.
(Nov. – Jun) to support
Bligh’s Lane Nursery
School, who use this
programme as part of
their childcare package
to enable them to work.
Waterside Monies were An additional 160 Not yet known Not yet known
used to childcare places are
contribute to the now available 16 x 2 x 5
and the rest was
the building to
Dungiven Increase in 16 Full or Part-time 5 Parents Training 2 Parent Training
number of Day places 5 days per week 40 Working Parents 13 Working Parents
Care places 3 A4e Lone Parent 1 A4e Lone Parent
available through Training Training
Strabane Childminding 31 since December 5 parents assisted to 59 parents in 07/08
Network return to work since
Increase in December through
number of 356 places in 07/08 childminding network
childcare places 2 parents trained
available through through NVQ training
local groups programme since Jan
Rainbow Increase in Castlederg & Glenderg Castlederg & Glenderg Castlederg & Glenderg
number of (up to 80) Drumquin & (up to 45), Drumquin & (up to 45), Drumquin &
childcare places Clare (up to 80) Clare (up to 8) Clare (up to 8)
available through Newtownstewart (up to Newtownstewart (up to Newtownstewart (up to
Outreach, local 40) 15) 15)
prepare to train to
return to work
LAST Sure Start Childcare 71 Part-time places 4 parents training 4 parents training
Provision 42 working parents 42 working parents
supporting local Pathways project 6 Pathways project 6
Community parents x 26 weeks parents x 26 weeks
training Youth Sport programme Youth Sport programme
programme with x 2 x 8 weeks (22 x 2 x 8 weeks (22
back to work parents) parents)
Childcare 44 Parents
Cherish Sure Start Supporting 11 childcare places Childcare places are This is ongoing.
crèche provision were made available 4 allocated on a needs
in extended Sure mornings/wk. (Apr.-Jun basis. Individual needs To date through the
Start areas. ’08). assessments are carried support of sure start
39 sessions were out on individual families services and available
offered with a total of by members of the Sure childcare we have: 6
223 children accessed Start tem. This is done parents who have
these sessions. in partnership with the completed volunteer
parent and with other training with Home Start
health care and are now
professionals. volunteering. 2 parents
volunteering at parents
The aim of this & toddler. 2 parents
assessment is to have completed Basis
develop a holistic IT training. 2 parents in
package of programmes part-time work due to
and training courses for the support from Sure
parents in order to Start. Both working for
increase their personal Sure Start 12 parents
development, social have completed First aid
skills and to help them training. 2 have become
lead a healthier lifestyle. registered childminders.
The overall outcome
being to support them in Further training courses
returning to further are planned for Quarter
training and work. 3:
Accredited First Aid
CV, Interview skills
training, Basic IT course
in partnership with St.
Mary’s Primary school in
Based on the above findings the Western Childcare Partnership and the 9
Sure Start Projects drafted the following recommendation with the express
purpose of supporting any future plans for developing Day Care services
attached to Sure Start Projects.
The first of these would be the establishment of a Western Area (Inter)
Agency Taskforce composed of relevant stakeholders (see page 18), which
could be facilitated by the Western Childcare Partnership. It was felt that
while Sure Start could assist families at a local level with accessing Day Care
through some of their schemes such as Childminding Network programmes,
they really are not in a position to advise parents on issues such as:
How much better off they would be financially in undertaking a “Back-
How would accessing a “Work/ Training” Scheme impact on their
Which level of training do they need to attain in order to gain
Which courses are suitable for accessing a Sure Start childcare place
(i.e. Personal Development, Life Skills, NVQ’s, etc.)?
Parents need to obtain information on Tax Credits in a Jargon-free,
User-friendly way so that they are clear on what is expected of them in
obtaining childcare assistance. They also need support in completing
the necessary paperwork as difficulty with literacy and numeracy have
been identified across the Western Area.
Given that Sure Starts are not allowed to generate an income and if
day care is a service they will be expected to provide in the future a
mechanism needs to be devised where they can cover the costs
involved in such provision while at the same time not generating a
Planning Day Care provision through the Sure Start projects would
require coordinating with the Jobs & Benefits Career Advisors, so that
childcare places could be operated on a maximum access basis.
Employment Links Coordinators
The Partnership and Sure Starts would suggest that the Inter-Agency Task
Force review the system underway in the UK through Sure Start Projects,
known as Engaging a Links Coordinator (through the Local Jobs & Benefits
Office) to determine whether it would be possible to implement a similar
system here. Of course, this would be dependent on the Northern Ireland
Government’s desire to pursue the implementation of Day care services
through the Sure Start Projects.
The proposed overall structure would look like the flowchart on the following
page. It would appear that this would not necessarily require an additional
significant investment, as Jobs & Benefits Offices have staff with the
necessary training and skills, and “Back to Work” programme expertise, to
advise parents on their options. However, at the moment these officers are
not making links with local Sure Start projects.
Given that DEL has plans to implement new Government “Back to Work”
Initiatives, which Lynx Research indicates will be targeted particularly at
individuals on “Income Support” and “Incapacity Benefits”, it would be
desirable to ensure that such approaches are planned and coordinate to be
as beneficial as possible to parents as well as to the providers. Sure Start
projects are based in areas of high deprivation, and there is a genuine desire
on their part to ensure that children within these areas are given the best
possible start in life. Supporting their families towards better socio-economic
circumstances would be welcomed. However, there is a concern that unless
proper coordination takes place, some children and their families may be
exposed to greater levels of poverty. For example the new caveat of lone
parents being asked to attend a 6 monthly interview, with “receipt of benefit
being conditional on attendance at interview.
It is hoped that this summary report has provided further insight into the
experiences of the Childcare Partnership and the 9 Sure Start projects within
the Western Area in determining the best use of their Day Care allocation as
provided under the Children & Young People’s Funding Package.
Further, it is hoped that the recording of this experience is useful in the future
development of day care strategies to assist local families in improving their
socio-economic circumstances. As with most complex issues, it is felt that a
solution can be found provided enough expertise is gathered around the table
and enough time is allocated to disentangle and explore all of the elements
necessary to make it work.
Western Inter-Agency Task Force
(Jobs & Benefits Office, Childcare
Partnership, NICMA, Playboard, Sure Start,
Extended Schools, Employers, etc)
(to be shared
Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure Sure
Start Start Start Start Start Start Start Start Start
Project Project Project Project Project Project Project Project Project
in the Sure Start Project Areas (i.e.
Derry (x 4), Strabane, Dungiven,
Omagh, West Tryone, and Fermanagh)
Definitions of types of Child Care available:
Crèches provide occasional care for children under the age of twelve and
generally in the younger age range. Some crèche facilities are in permanent
premises and care for children while parents are engaged in particular
activities such as shopping, courses or sport. Others are established on a
temporary basis to care for children while their parents participate in an
infrequent activity for more than two hours in any day and for more that five
days in a year.
Look after up to six children under 8, including up to three children under 5 in
their own home. Flexible hours and will pick up/drop off at schools and
playgroups. Check that they are registered.
Full Day care settings provide care for pre-school children throughout the
working day. Children may attend part-time or full-time depending on their
needs and the needs of their parents. They will have opportunities to take
part in-group activities with their peers and should have a range of learning
experiences, planned by skilled staff that will enhance their development.
Out of School Groups
Out Of School Clubs provide a range of play activities outside school hours in
a comfortable and safe environment. The clubs cater for children of school
going age and under twelve years old. The clubs are staffed by experienced
and well-trained Playworkers in a variety of venues, for example clubs may be
located at the local school, village hall or community centre.
Pre-School Sessional Care, or playgroup, settings provide care for children
aged between three and five. They aim to provide learning experiences
through play opportunities in groups. Sessional care is defined by its duration,
i.e. no longer than four hours; otherwise, full day care regulations apply. The
philosophy of the playgroup movement is based on the premise that parents
are fully involved in the running of the groups although most groups employ a
number of paid staff.
N.B. Inspection reports for any of the above Child Care settings are
available by contacting the Early Years Team, WHSCT. Tel: (028) 71-
Population of Children in Sure Start Areas in the WHSSB
Population [0-3 years] years]
Census, 2001 Census, 2001
Shantallow East 168 231
Shantallow West 581 764
Carnhill 174 234
Culmore Area 340 414
The Highlands 77 106
Dungiven 136 175
Feeny 119 158
Upper Glenshane 138 169
Glack 97 125
Coolessan 86 112
Greystone 107 140
Lisanelly 223 274
Drumragh 118 148
Killyclogher 273 331
Camowen 124 156
Strule 63 81
Fintona 101 145
Termon 140 185
Irvinestown 120 147
Kesh, Ederney and Lack 217 262
Lisnarrick 64 89
Ballinamallard 152 184
Trillick 110 144
Devenish 75 92
Rosslea 113 152
Newtonbutler 139 186
North 159 197
South 240 306
East 130 170
West 245 308
Ballycolman 164 222
Sion Mills 133 168
Finn 148 189
Dunnamanagh 125 168
Plumbridge 132 168
Creevagh 367 472
Springtown 211 266
Rosemount 129 161
West Bank Derry/Londonderry
Brandywell 136 170
The Diamond 145 172
Westland 138 162
Strand 132 166
Beechwood 113 129
Creggan central 208 285
Creggan South 131 173
East Bank Derry/Londonderry
Victoria 149 192
Ebrington 176 219
Clondermott 147 187
Enagh 199 258
Castlederg 102 134
Glenderg 141 179
Clare 158 194
Drumquin 106 128
Newtownstewart 144 181
DAY CARE RESEARCH
WESTERN CHILDCARE PARTNERSHIP & SURE START PROJECTS
21 September 2007
1) What do we need to know to make best use of limited funding?
What is the demand for Day Care?
What is the current supply of Day Care?
Is there a gap between supply & demand?
Do the following support the Day Care needs of parents?
o Is there an adequate number of day care places available locally?
o Do the length of day care sessions meet parents needs?
o Do the times the day care facility operates (days, nights, weekends, evenings) meet the needs of parents?
o Is the day care offered of a quality standard?
o Is the day care provided accessible to parents?
o Is the day care provided sustainable?
DAY CARE RESEARCH
WESTERN CHILDCARE PARTNERSHIP & SURE START PROJECTS
21 September 2007
What information is Source What information is not readily available to us? Possible Source
readily available to us?
1. Supply & Demand
The supply of Day Care WCP, What is the demand for childcare by age range and type DEL, Jobs & Benefits,
(including extended WHSSB, Training Organisations, Local
schools provision. (This EY Schools, Parents
may include childcare Teams,
available in neighbouring
wards which is more
accessible to parents)
Demographic WHSSB What is the gap between demand and supply? Parents, Jobs & Benefits,
Information (i.e. Birth Large Local Employers
rats, Number of Lone
Information on numbers WHSSB What about children with a disability or SEN? Parents, EY Teams, Local
of families on Job (to some Schools
Schemes, Benefits, etc. extent)
at a local level
Information on numbers of families on Job Schemes, Benefits, etc. at Benefits Offices, Employers,
a local level Training Organisations,
Previous research WCP, What are parents saying in relation to Day Care (i.e. about quality, Facilitation process with
undertaken by a variety University accessibility, affordability) and how do you gather this information? Parents
of organizations. of Ulster Telephone Interviews
& Derry Questionnaires (see next section)
Well Face-to-Face interviews
Women Focus groups
What types of information need to be gather from parents? Questionnaire (to be
Their employment / training status developed)
Household income levels
Whether they are claiming the Child Tax Credit or the Child
Care element of the Working Tax Credit.
The ethnic background of families
Whether they or their children are disabled.
The age and number of children.
Childcare Vouchers Employer Working patterns that will affect demand for childcare (i.e. shift work, Large Local Employers
Scheme as operated s for etc.)
with Larger Local Childcare,
4. Job Centres
To assess the Day Care needs of people for whom they are seeking Facilitation process with Job
employment in the Job Market, and the extent to which Day Care is a Centres staff
barrier to entering training and / or work.
What type of information needs to be gathered from Job Centres? Questionnaire (to be
What is your role within the Job Centre? developed) and
Are you the appropriate person for Sure Start to contact Local contacts lists (with all
regarding the provision of Day Care support for families you details at appropriate decision
are working with who may need day care to access training or making level within Job
If not, who is (please provide full contact details)
Are the courses you are offering accredited? By Whom and at
Are the courses you are offering recognized by DEL as a back
to work / training initiative?
How many clients are you working with who need Day Care?
What are the age ranges of the children that require day care?
Are there any parents with special needs children?
What types of special needs?
Are there any ethnic minority parents who need day care?
Which country do they come from?
Do you advise and support parents in accessing funding to
meet their day care needs? (i.e. Child Tax Credit or the
Childcare element of the Working Tax Credit.
If not, who does provide this support (please provide full
Please provide information on any of the childcare funding
allowances offered along with your back to work / training.
What are the core terms and conditions of parents undertaking
your back to work / training initiative (i.e. 12 / 24 / 36 weeks to
complete the course, 80% attendance, etc.)
DAY CARE RESEARCH
WESTERN CHILDCARE PARTNERSHIP & SURE START PROJECTS
21 September 2007
5. Mapping Supply
Map the current level of provision of each type so care in terms of:
The number of day care places available for children up to and including the age of 14 years (or 17 years for
The hours of opening including flexibility in catering for irregular patterns of usage across the day, the week,
and the year.
The number of vacant places or waiting lists
The range of charges for Day Care.
The provision of Out-of- School activities / care provided within the Extended Schools provision.
6. Mapping Supply to Demand
To asses where gaps exist, the two sets of data need to be compared:
How much of what types, at what times and, in which areas parents demand day care and whether there are
any specific requirements these parents or children have.
How much childcare is available, at what price, in each area, at what time and whether that provision is able
to meet any specific needs the parents or children may have.
7. Potential Gaps
Gaps in provision can be considered as falling into the following categories:
Geographical Gaps – where a geographical area has a general shortage of supply
Income Gaps – where there is a shortage of affordable day care for the income groups populating an area
Specific Need Gaps – where there is a shortage of suitable places for disabled children, or children with
other specific needs or requirements, including those from particular faiths or community groups.
Time Gaps – where there is a shortage of day care at a time that parents would wish to use child care
Age Gaps – where there is a shortage of day care suitable to the needs and requirements of a certain age
group (for example, school –aged children up to 18 year, if they are disabled). This may be difficult to
detect if it is masked by overprovision of child care suitable for other age groups, and:
Type Gaps – where there is a shortage in the type of day care for which parents may be expressing a
8. Clarifying the Deliverables
The Assessment Report
An Assessment Report, which will be a condensed summary of the information, gathered from the research
undertaken as outlined in detail in Appendix 1. The report will become the resource tool to be used by each of the
nine Sure Start Projects throughout the Western Board Area to support them in planning the delivery of their Day
Care services to actively support parents in accessing back-to-work and / or training schemes.
The Assessment Report will provide a summary of the information gathered as outlined in Sections 1 – 7. A draft
of the report should be shared with key stakeholder groups and organizations (at appropriate decision-making
levels), including parent representatives to provide an opportunity for final comments.
Information gathered in relation to the demand for day care provision will provide the basis for the report’s
comprehensive local directory section containing information on back to work / training initiatives, and contact
details of appropriate Job Centre members for Sure Starts Projects to sign post parents to who are interested in
accessing a back-to-work and / or training scheme.
The report will focus on identifying the major gaps in provision in the area and should inform an Action Plan to
address the gaps.
The report will contain an outline of the various childcare funding allowances available to parents undertaking a
back to work / training initiatives and an appropriate mechanism for the childcare providers to work along with Job
Centres to assess the childcare funding required in order for them to meet the parents child care needs, while
taking part in the initiative
Day Care Programme
Aim To improve access to quality child care for Summary Plan for
parents in training or employment in the implementation including
Sure Start area. breakdown of budget
costs totalling (£33,333)
Objectives 1. To have increased the availability to Does the project intend to
quality child care across a range of use some of its allocation
providers to research the need for
2. To have developed local childcare locally?
relationships with DEL to: -
Identify training programmes
available locally and barriers to
parents accessing these and
Scope the need for child care
Target Parents who are: - Please include information
Group In employment such as, which areas will
On a recognised training programme be targeted, and how
Funding may 1. Coordinate the recruitment and Brief detail on how project
be used to development of childminding intends to meet these
services in the Sure Start area. objectives, (i.e. Expanding
2. Increase the number of day care local facility(s), develop a
places available in-group day-care Childminding Network,
settings with availability restricted to etc.) Please also include
children of parents in training or details of proposed short-
employment. term subsidised
3. Provide short-term subsidised places placements, and plans for
to support transition into work or working collaboratively
training. with local schools, (i.e.
4. Collaborate with developments in the Extended Schools
extended schools sector to provide Programme)
an integrated approach across pre-
school and school aged children
(Information systems are needed to capture
usage/link to parental outcomes in terms of
participants accessing work/training).
Funding may not be used to provide
additional crèche support for personal
development programmes run by Sure
Start or others.
Ideas on capturing parental outcomes and effectiveness of programme
Initial questionnaire to be distributed to parents, including:
Age of child(ren) requiring childcare
Parent’s circumstances (i.e. single parent on back to work initiative,
Name of training initiative the parent is attending
How long will the parent require the childcare place(s)
How many hours/day, how many days/week, etc.
Proposed outcome for parent (i.e. NVQ, placement, part-time or full-
time post, etc.)
Will the parent require additional childcare? If so, for how long (i.e. to
attend interviews, advancing to next phase of training, etc.)
Follow-up Focus Groups (6 months – 1 year later)
Parents who availed of the Day Care Programme for their child(ren)
Outcome achieved by parent (i.e. name of qualification obtained,
training programme completed, in placement, etc.)
Parent’s circumstances 6 months – a year later (i.e. employed,
unemployed, employed but laid off, caring for family member, seeking
Any plans for further training / development? (i.e. additional training,
attending Foundation course, University, etc.)
Is your need for accessible, affordable childcare a barrier to your
Child(ren) registered for pre-school or nursery school?
Child(ren) attending Primary School?
Do you still require childcare support for your child(ren)? If so, please
complete the following:
Child’s Child’s Child’s School Childcare Childcare No
First Surname Age Attending On Site available childcare
Name locally available
Do you rely on family members to help meet your childcare needs?
Are you able to avail of flexi-time to help meet your childcare
Are you receiving any financial assistance in meeting your childcare
Are you able to meet the additional cost of your childcare needs?
What is the shortfall on a weekly basis?
Would you like further information on financial support towards
meeting your childcare need?
SUPPORTING THE SURE
PROGRAMME WITHIN THE
Terms of Reference
In relation to
The provision of Facilitation and Research Services
to Support the Sure Start Expansion Programme by
researching the demand for Day Care Services
within the Western Board Area
Terms of Reference
FACILITATION AND RESEARCH SERVICES, TO SUPPORT THE
PLANNING OF THE DAY CARE COMPONENT OF THE SURE START
EXPANSION PROGRAMMES WITHIN THE WESTERN CHILDCARE
Background / Purpose
During 2006-2007 the Western Area Childcare Partnership has been directed
by the DHSS&PS to expand Sure Start services into 27 of the top 20% most
deprived Wards within the WHSSB Area. This work, funded under the
Children & Young People’s Funding Package (C&YPFP), was announced in
March 2006. The Expansion Programme progressed well during 2006-2007
with projects being monitored across four funding streams, which made up the
Sure Start Expansion Programme:
1. Sure Start Core Funding
2. Sure Start Expansion Funding
3. Programme for 2 Year Olds Funding
4. Day Care Funding
As of 1st November 2006, DE became the Lead Department for Early Years
and the Sure Start Programmes. Lead responsibility for the Financial
Management of the Childcare Partnerships, which are accountable for Sure
Start, remained with the four Health and Social Services Boards.
As the Sure Starts progressed their expansions during this the second year of
funding (2007-2008), all nine projects in the West acknowledged a need to
undertake research into the demand for Day Care within the Western Board
Area in order to maximise the impact of this small allocation of funding.
During 2007-2008 each of the nine Sure Start projects were allocated £33,333
to promote the development of day care as a part of their service delivery.
The Day Care funding was to be used as follows:
“Day care to be provided within Sure Start projects; this funding will identify
and meet need for day care in areas of deprivation to allow parents to access
work or training.”
With the support of the Western Childcare Partnership, the Sure Start
Managers identified the need to assess the demand for Day Care within their
areas. The Partnership could provide projects with information on the supply
of Day Care places, but they identified that information on the demand for Day
Care was lacking. Both components are needed in order to map supply
against demand and determine how their individual allocations could be best
employed within their own areas to support the development of services to
meet identified gaps.
The Western Childcare Partnership undertook preliminary work on assessing
demand for childcare (see Appendix 1) and subsequently identified a number
of key actions that need to take place in order to obtain to be able to map the
supply of childcare against the demand, particularly in relation to supporting
parents in accessing back-to-work and / or training initiatives (see Appendix
2). This is considered crucial to successfully planning the long-term delivery
of Day Care, through a joint effort by local Sure Start Projects and Jobs and
Benefits Offices, and which is additional to existing Sure Starts services, and
has a demonstrable impact on supporting parents in accessing back-to-work
initiatives and / or training schemes.
Duration and Starting Time
It is envisaged that the work will commence immediately after this
tendering process and the final products (see Appendix 2) will be delivered
to the Western Childcare Partnership and Sure Start Projects by 31/3/07.
The Work Required
The following activities are required in order to analyse the need for Day Care
within the Sure Start Areas of the Western Board (further details are contained
in Appendix 1):
A mapping of the supply of Day Care (including extended schools
A review and summary of the demographic information (i.e. Birth rates,
number of Lone Parents, Ethnic Minorities, Special Needs, etc.) at local
/ aggregated levels.
A review and summary of the numbers of families on Job Schemes,
Benefits, etc. at local / aggregated levels.
A review and summary of the demand for childcare by age range, and
type etc. at local / aggregated levels
Mapping Supply for Demand
A review and summary of the gap between demand and supply etc. at
local / aggregated levels
The demand will be assessed to include the relevant views of the
following stakeholders at local levels:
A review and summary of previous research undertaken with parents to
determine their perspectives on the current supply of Day Care within
A review and summary of what parents are currently saying in relation
to Day Care (i.e. quality, accessibility, affordability, does it meet their
training and/or back to work needs)
A review and summary of the socio-economic status of the parents
consulted within each Sure Start Area.
A review and summary of Local Employers who use the Employers for
Childcare Vouching Scheme to support their employees with their Day
A review and summary of the local work patterns that will affect the
demand for Day Care places (i.e. shift work, week-end work, evening
A review and summary of the Day Care needs of the clients whom they
are seeking to place within their back-to-work training and/or
employment initiatives. This information should include the ages of the
children, the type of day care required, the times of the day that day
care is required, whether the child or parent has special needs or is
from an ethnic minority, etc.
A summary of the contact details of the appropriate people involved
within each Sure Start area in supporting parents in accessing back-to-
work and/or training initiatives. It is envisaged that these would be the
Personal Advisors from the various local Job Centres, and would be
the people who are aware of their clients Day Care needs and whether
Day Care is an issue for them in attending the identified
A review and summary of the various back-to-work and training
schemes offered by DEL which have a childcare incentive attached.
A review and summary of the various schemes accredited by DEL and
come with a childcare incentive attached
A summary of the various childcare incentives offered by DEL through
their back-to-work and/or training initiatives and their associated terms
and conditions which parents are expected to meet in order to access
the childcare funding on offer.
A summary of the contact details of the appropriate people at the Job
Centres who are responsible for advising clients in relation to
accessing the various day care incentives on offer (i.e. Child Tax
Credit, or the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit, etc.)
Knowledge of Early Years services including SureStart
Knowledge and understanding of the various Government Back-to-
Work training initiatives and Job Schemes.
Knowledge and understanding of the various childcare incentives on
offer to support parents in returning to work and / or training.
Experience of mapping supply against demand in a particular
Experience in developing and implementing a partnership approach to
addressing childcare or unemployment issues.
Experience of synthesising a variety of information into a single usable
resource tool for use by Sure Start Projects throughout the Western
Board Area actively involved in addressing the Day Care needs of their
local families interested in attending a back-to-work and / or training
Ability to meet timescales.
Final product / Deliverables
1. An Assessment Report. for each Sure Start Project, which will be a
condensed summary of the information, gathered from the research
undertaken as outlined in detail in Appendix 2. The report will become
the resource tool to be used by each of the nine Sure Start Projects
throughout the Western Board (see Appendix 3 – Contact details of
local Sure Start Projects). Area to support them in planning the delivery
of their Day Care services to actively support parents in accessing
back-to-work and / or training schemes. Therefore the report will
contain individual sections containing information relevant to each Sure
Start Area. It will also contain an aggregated report of the Western
The Assessment Report will provide a summary of the information
gathered as outlined in Sections 1 – 7, of Appendix 2. A draft of the
report should be shared with key stakeholder groups and organizations
(at appropriate decision-making levels), including parent
representatives to provide an opportunity for final comments.
Information gathered in relation to the demand for day care provision
will provide the basis for the report’s comprehensive local directory
section containing information on back to work / training initiatives, and
contact details of appropriate Job Centre members for Sure Starts
Projects to sign- post parents to, who are interested in accessing a
back-to-work and / or training scheme.
The report will focus on identifying the major gaps in provision in the
area and should inform an Action Plan to address the gaps.
The report will contain an outline of the various childcare funding
allowances available to parents undertaking a back to work / training
initiatives and an appropriate mechanism for the childcare providers to
work along with Job
Centres to assess the childcare funding required in order for them to
meet the parent’s childcare needs, while taking part in the initiative.
2. A composite assessment report providing an overview / aggregated
position for all of the Sure Start areas.
A maximum of £25,000 is available for the completion of this work. This figure
is exclusive of VAT and must include all fees / additional charges. The tender
must demonstrate a Value for Money proposal.
Who the Successful Tender will Work With
The successful provider will work closely with a Steering Group of
representatives from the Western Area Childcare Partnership and
representation from among the Sure Start Managers of the 9 local Sure Start
Projects, in the development and monitoring of this activity. The named
person will be: -
Maura Mason, Childcare Partnership Coordinator
Information Required with Application to Tender
The main tender document should not exceed fifteen pages presented in size
12 font, single line spacing. Three hard copies, with one in Microsoft Word
Format on CD Rom should be supplied. The tender documentation must
contain the following information:
a) The tender organisation’s details, including name of
company/organisation; contact details, contact person; other
partners/members of your consortium, if applicable;
b) The tender organisation’s understanding of the brief, including
evidence of prior experience or established track record in the fields
of community development, the health sector, the early years sector,
c) business planning, research, group working, and inter-sectoral
working with statutory and community/voluntary agencies.
d) Details of those who will carry out the actions and their relevant
experience and previous relevant commissions.
e) Your methodology and suggested approach to designing, delivering
and implementing actions required to deliver the project.
f) Your indicative timetable set against these actions. (N.B. It must be
stressed that all work on the development of the Final Report /
Resource Tool must be completed by 15th March 2008 at the latest)
Tender price to include: itemised indicative costings for each element of the
programme including VAT.
NB. The Western Area Childcare Partnership reserves the right to
request evidence of previous clients/studies
Conditions of Contract
Interested parties are invited to submit proposals to deliver this piece of work
in line with the specification and timescales outlined. Costs should be broken
down for each element of the work. The price quoted must be inclusive of:
supply, delivery, and all aspects of the specification. The daily rate of travel
and associated costs to be incurred by the service provider must be indicated.
The cost should also include and cover the production of any interim and final
reports. A scoring system will be applied based on the information outlined
Interested parties may be required to attend for interview/presentation
The decision of the Western Area Childcare Partnership is final and
further correspondence will not be entered into.
The Western Area Childcare Partnership is not responsible for any
costs incurred in the preparation and submission of tenders.
The Western Area Childcare Partnership reserves the right not to
appoint any, or the lowest priced tenderer.
Three hard copies of tender, plus a version in Microsoft Word Format on CD
Rom should be returned to:
Mrs. Maura Mason
Childcare Partnership Coordinator
Western Area Childcare Partnership
23A Bishop St.
By 5:00pm on 17th December 2007, in an envelope clearly marked „Childcare
Partnership, Sure Start Facilitation Tender‟, on the top left-hand side.
Paying for childcare
Working Tax Credit
If you’re a lone parent working 16 hours a week or more, if both parents work
16 hours a week or more or one parent works 16 hours a week or more and
the other is incapacitated, in hospital or prison, you can include 80% of your
childcare costs up to £175 a week for one child or £300 a week for more than
one child in your claim for Working Tax Credit, WTC. This amount is the
same for disabled and non-disabled children, but for disabled children you can
claim until the end of the week including 1st September following their 16th
birthday (15th birthday for non-disabled children). The childcare must be
registered or approved. Registered or approved childcare is:
Registered childminders, nurseries and playschemes
Out-of-hours clubs run by a school on the school premises or by a local
Childcare schemes run by approved providers, for example, an out-of-
A provider approved under a Ministry of Defence accreditation scheme
An approved foster carer (the care must be for a child who is not a
foster carer's foster child)
In England only, a childcarer approved under the Childcare Approval
Scheme. (If you use a sitter service, then give the details of the sitter
you use most frequently. You do not have to notify HMRC of all the
sitters you use, as long as they are approved. However, you should
keep details of all the sitters you use for your own records.)
In England and Wales only, childcare provided in your own home by a
domiciliary worker or nurse from a registered agency
In Scotland only, childcare provided in your own home by (or
introduced through) childcare agencies, including sitter services and
nanny agencies, which are required to be registered
In Northern Ireland only, childcare provided in the child's own home by
a child carer approved under the Approval of Home Child Care
Childcare will not be eligible care for help within the WTC childcare
element if it is provided by:
a relative of a child caring for that child in the child's home even if the
relative is registered or approved, or
a childcarer approved under the Childcare Approval Scheme in
England, who is caring for a child, or children, away from the child's, or
children's, home and who is only caring for a child, or children, to whom
he or she is related.
A relative of the child means a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother or
sister whether by blood, half-blood, marriage or affinity.
A registered childminder, nursery, childcare scheme or agency is one that is
in Northern Ireland, by a Health and Social Services Trust.
See Working Families’ Tax Credits and Benefits fact sheet for more details of
WTC, including how the maximum award is reduced when you earn over