Developing a demand model to aid childcare sufficiency assessments

Predicting the demand for childcare

Encouraging the development of successful childcare markets for local families requires more than the simple collating of current facts and figures. Increasingly the onus is on local authorities to find new and more effective ways to predict and manage childcare demand.

Creating a model solution

Having commissioned Qa to further investigate how local authorities can predict and manage demand for childcare, Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM) requested the development of a ‘demand’ model which could be rolled out across the East Midlands and support authorities in securing future sufficiency.

children_1

The report will inform the development of a childcare demand model in the future

To support this objective, Qa conducted desk research to understand the context East Midlands local authority areas were working in and to identify existing models of predicting demand.

Following the desk research, depth face-to-face and telephone interviews were conducted with Lead CSA Officers across the East Midlands.

The interviews enabled a better understanding of the work undertaken to develop Childcare Sufficiency reports. More specifically, the interviews encouraged an open discussion of views and opinions on the best ways to predict future demand.

Choosing the right model

Qa offered five models for consideration, including existing and newly created ones. The models were presented to each local authority for discussion before being ranked in order of preference and usability.

A report and recommendations were subsequently produced and presented at the East Midlands Childcare Regional Network event in March 2009. This information event gave local authorities the opportunity to discuss the findings and will inform the development of a childcare demand model in the future.

For more details e-mail kerry.watson@qaresearch.co.uk or call 01904 632039