A childcare sufficiency assessment compares the demand for childcare in an area with the supply of places. Demand for childcare is based on the number of children in the area and the use of the various types of childcare (from national surveys). By comparing demand with supply, it can be seen whether there is a need for more childcare in an area.
A childcare sufficiency assessment will be of interest to anyone interested in the demand levels and supply of childcare in Somerset, and anyone considering setting up new childcare provision.
A childcare sufficiency assessment can be requested at any time during the year (the exception is the week between Christmas and New Year) and we aim to respond with an assessment within 2 weeks.
The Childcare Act 2006 places a duty on English local authorities to secure sufficient childcare for working parents. In addition, the Childcare Act 2016 places a duty on English local authorities to secure funded childcare for qualifying children. You can find more details and further information in the Department of Education document Early Education and Childcare statutory guidance.
Childcare providers in Somerset are run on a private, voluntary or independent basis with the local authority in a ‘market management’ role, providing advice and guidance to current and potential childcare providers.
Childcare may be ‘formal’ – paid for by parents, (for example, childminders, pre-schools, nurseries, out of school clubs), or ‘informal’ – where either close family care for children or no payment changes hands (for example, grandparents).
We produce an annual childcare sufficiency assessment – Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2021 – with childcare information at county, district and community levels and Early Years Community Profiles 2021.