LDRS – Rory Sheehan
WREXHAM currently has enough childcare provision to meet demand, according to a report to be seen by the Council’s Executive Board next week.
At the meeting, Cllr Rob Walsh, lead member for Children’s Services will present the report on childcare sufficiency which is to be approved before it is forwarded to the Welsh Government.
The Childcare Sufficiency Assessment (CSA) is a measure of the nature and need for the supply of childcare within the local authority.
It will help the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership to identify where there are gaps in the market and in consultation with parents, communities and employers, plan how to address them.
Consideration is given to factors such as child population and population change, economic activity, and geographical spread which have a bearing on what provision is needed.
The report shows the county borough is keeping pace with demand. But it also shows that while there are sufficient places now, and will likely be in the future, there are issues around affordability and future sustainability of some childcare providers due to the effects of the Covid pandemic.
Speaking at a media briefing ahead of next week’s meeting, Cllr Walsh said:
“We look at supply and demand, consult CIW (Care Inspectorate Wales) and ONS (Office for National Statistics). It’s very positive, Wrexham does have enough places for childcare provision, the cost is below average and generally parents are quite happy.”
One of the issues the council is facing is a lack of Welsh medium provision, but Cllr Walsh said the situation is improving and work is underway to ensure those numbers increase in future.
He added: “Recruitment and retention issues are mainly due to the pandemic, and affordability could become an issue in the future so we are mindful of that.”
The leader of Wrexham Council, Cllr Mark Pritchard said:
“With Children’s Services you can never rest on your laurels.
“None of us know what the future holds, what the demand will be. We have a legal and statutory duty to make sure our children are safe and that’s what we do.
“The demand will continue to grow and there will be an extra need to put more money and resources into that area.”
Wrexham Council’s Executive Board will meet next Tuesday (September 27) to discuss the report.