Serious shortfall in childcare places warns spending watchdog | Consensus HR in Herts & Beds

Latest blog: Serious shortfall in childcare places warns spending watchdog:

The UK Government’s initiative to expand childcare support aims to facilitate employment for parents by providing subsidised childcare for children between nine months and four years old. However, a recent report from the National Audit Office (NAO) highlights several critical challenges and risks associated with this expansion.

Key Points from the Report:

  1. Current Status:
    • As of 7 May, 247,500 two-year-olds have registered for the scheme, with 211,000 children securing a place.
    • The Department for Education (DfE) has made notable progress in initiating the program.
  2. Future Challenges:
    • By September 2024, an additional 15,500 childcare places are needed nationally.
    • By September 2025, this requirement increases dramatically to 84,500 new places.
    • A significant portion of local authorities (20%) must boost their supply of childcare hours by 20% or more to meet demand.
  3. Workforce Expansion:
    • The DfE needs to expand the early years workforce by approximately 40,000 staff by September 2025.
    • The NAO emphasises the necessity of a holistic approach to workforce growth, including a long-term strategy and a detailed delivery plan to address recruitment and retention challenges.
  4. Access and Distribution:
    • Access to early years places varies widely depending on local factors such as the number of providers, rurality, and levels of deprivation.
    • The Government’s success depends on parents being able to access suitable childcare hours to return to work or increase their working hours.


  1. Long-term Workforce Strategy:
    • Develop and publish a comprehensive workforce strategy and delivery plan to tackle recruitment and retention issues.
    • Engage with stakeholders to address the underlying causes of poor retention in the early year’s workforce.
  2. Monitoring and Assessment:
    • The DfE should improve its understanding of whether parents are accessing the early years hours they need for employment purposes.
    • This involves monitoring the distribution and accessibility of childcare places across different regions.
  3. Support for Providers:
    • Provide adequate support to early years providers to help them create the required number of new places.
    • Address regional disparities by ensuring sufficient resources and support in areas with higher needs, especially those affected by rurality and deprivation.
Serious shortfall in childcare places warns spending watchdog | Consensus HR in Herts & Beds
Serious shortfall in childcare places warns spending watchdog | Consensus HR in Herts & Beds
Serious shortfall in childcare places warns spending watchdog | Consensus HR in Herts & Beds
Consensus HR - Herts, Beds

Our HR comment:

Matthew Chilcott, Owner of Consensus HR comments: “The Government’s policy on expanding childcare support has the potential to significantly aid parents in maintaining or finding employment. However, achieving the targets set for 2024 and 2025 presents substantial challenges. The success of this policy relies on a coordinated effort to expand the workforce, ensure the availability of childcare places, and address regional disparities. By implementing the NAO’s recommendations, the DfE can better navigate these challenges and improve access to early years education and childcare across the UK.  Time will tell, if this succeeds and employers have access to more labour following the general election.”

To view more about our range of HR & Employment Law Services

At Consensus HR, we are proud to offer a wide range of HR & Employment Law services to help our clients with all areas of best practice and Employment Law which can be found by clicking on the button:

Are you concerned about keeping your business up to date with Employment Law changes?

If your business always wishes that it works in all areas to the benefit of the team and company and as an employer of choice, give us a call or email now for a non-obligatory chat. Consensus HR | Your Outsourced Human Resources and Employment Law Department | “Helping companies take the pain out of managing people whilst Preventing People Problems.” 01438 576750

Designed by JCP Web Designs