Childcare research

New Search

Purpose The main question areas looked at usage and satisfaction with formal childcare, reasons for non-use of formal childcare and sources of information on childcare.
Subject Families and younger children
Commissioned by Ian Warburton, Early Years Development and Childcare
Geographic area All of Lancashire
Method Questionnaire - postal
Consultation with Life in Lancashire panel
Date 14/09/2005 - 14/10/2005
Undertaken by Corporate Research and Intelligence Team, Policy Unit


Number in sample 814
Number of responses 524
Response rate 64%
Key findings Almost half of all parents surveyed use some form of formal childcare. Three-quarters of respondents with children aged from 0 to 3 years use some formal childcare, most likely a private day nursery or a pre-school playgroup.

The most common reason for parents not using formal childcare is that respondents prefer to either look after their child themselves or have a relative or friend look after their child.

Three-quarters of parents use some form of informal childcare, most usually a relative.

Safety is the top concern of parents about childcare, followed by the quality of activities, the cost and cleanliness.

To find out about childcare generally, the greatest proportion of respondents prefers the word of mouth of a friend. Three in ten would contact Education Services and the Childcare Information Service.

About two in five respondents have tried to get childcare information in the last 5 years. Half of these found the information very useful. However, just over half of respondents do not feel informed about childcare.

The vast majority of people expressing an opinion consider that childcare has become more expensive.

The majority of respondents had heard of Sure Start. Only a quarter say they have heard of the Childcare Information Service.

Childcare is seen as too expensive by two in five of the panel, especially those from socio-economic groups DE and those with a child aged less than six years.
Outcomes The findings are being used to assist the service in planning future childcare provision across the county.

As only a quarter of those who sent a questionnaire back had heard of the Childcare Information Service (CIS) we are looking at ways to raise its profile across the county. This will include some high profile promotional work throughout the coming year. And, because many parents felt that childcare was too expensive we will be promoting how parents can access help with childcare costs.

Parents would prefer more flexibility in the hours of childcare, so we need to look at the types of childcare that are available to parents. To achieve this we need to do more consultation with parents and childcare providers. Any research we do in the future needs to take into account the county's strategic objectives for the ten year childcare strategy.

Project document(s)


Contact information

For more information about this research contact:

Rebecca Robinson
01772 537787

Mick Edwardson
01772 530290