announced by department for education and employment and
department of social security ministers.
Local early years development and childcare partnerships will have
information service. Partnerships which choose to take part will be
provided with computer systems and support to develop a database of
local childcare services, building on the lone parent information
system developed by the department of social security.
Margaret Hodge, employment and equal opportunities minister, said:
'Good quality, affordable childcare is vital to working mums and
dads. But parents need to identify what childcare is available and
where. In our Green Paper 'Meeting the Childcare Challenge' we said
that we wanted all areas to provide local information networks. Many
people suggested the government should help set these up. We have
listened to what they said and this project is the result.
'The money will kick-start local childcare information services. It
will provide childcare partnerships with a modern, tried and tested
system that can be tailored to meet local needs.
'This initiative, combined with the£341m we are putting into
the National Childcare Strategy and the£540m Surestart
programme, demonstrates that we are building a solid, lasting,
national childcare strategy.'
Alistair Darling said:
'We know that childcare needs can be a major barrier to work. Parents
worry about finding good quality, affordable childcare. By using the
opportunities offered by internet technology this project will to
plug the childcare information gap. It will be especially helpful to
advisers in the 'New Deal for Lone Parents' in their work to provide
childcare solutions to to help lone parents to work.
'This is a good example of working across traditional boundaries in
government - local and central - to develop practical solutions'.
1. Early years development and childcare partnerships have been
invited to put forward initial expressions of interest by
mid-December. The project will start in April in areas where the
plans have been approved. A series of conferences will take place in
early December to discuss the project with local partnerships
2. The project is jointly funded by DfEE and DSS. It will be overseen
by the Information Technology Services Agency (a DSS executive
agency) which developed the Lone Parent Information System.