The Hackney Commission into Affordable Childcare has published its final report
Last year, a new initiative was launched in Hackney to look at local childcare offers, challenges, risks, and costs, as well as ways to maximise the support available for families in the borough.
The independent Commission into Affordable Childcare, chaired by June O’Sullivan OBE, brought together parents and carers, childcare providers, and other members of the local communities, as well as council representatives.
The final report of the Commission has now been published, here.
It is our ambition to ensure that every child in Hackney has access to high quality early education. Our 2022 manifesto committed to setting up an independent commission into affordable childcare, focused on understanding the challenges families and providers are currently facing, and how we might work in partnership to establish a more sustainable approach.
A lack of affordable childcare can seriously affect the ability of parents and carers to break the cycle of poverty and build a better future for families in need. In Hackney, we are fortunate to have a wide range of maintained, private, voluntary and independent childcare settings, as well as a strong network of childminders. But the sustainability of our early years provision continues to be threatened by the rising childcare delivery costs, as well as the challenges of finding sufficient staff - all while local authorities continue to struggle with insufficient central funding.
We would like to thank the Commission and everyone who has contributed to this report and supported our efforts to improve childcare in Hackney. The report has focused on the art of the possible, and we as a Council will be looking carefully at its recommendations as we continue to work together with our partners to establish a long term, sustainable strategy that recognises and supports our early years educators. The challenges we are facing are huge, and we therefore would like to encourage all our partners and local families to continue the open debate as we draw up actions that respond to the report.
The Commission has identified 29 recommendations on how to help children, parents and carers better access affordable, high quality early years provision in Hackney.
The recommendations are grouped under four areas:
- Manage the Hackney Childcare Market
This section proposes actions to develop a market management strategy and plan to meet the childcare needs of Hackney families, with a focus on positive educational and wellbeing outcomes.
- Think Sustainably: Support Early Years Education and Care Services
These recommendations respond to the precarious situation and rising costs that affect early years providers, and proposes ways to address these risks.
- Build a Pipeline of Early Years Staff in Hackney
This section looks at cross organisation solutions seeking to address the early years workforce crisis.
- Connect, Collaborate and Champion
These recommendations look at ways to champion the importance of early years education and care in supporting children’s development, school readiness and better life chances.
As a strong advocate for Early Years Education and Care, I hope this report and its key recommendations can offer some useful pointers for local authorities to consider when deciding how their strategies can contribute to delivering affordable and accessible quality childcare. My sincere thanks goes to the Mayor for commissioning the report and to the many parents and stakeholders who provided the crucial evidence needed to shape the report and offer a blueprint for an effective action plan for all local boroughs.
The report was shared and discussed with Council senior managers at the end of last year, who were able to fact check and provide initial comments on its main findings. The Council will look in more detail at all the recommendations included in the report and issue a formal response later this year.