Thursday 3 March 2011 am at UEL's Docklands Campus
The LDA commissioned this report, number 5 in their Labour Market Research Series, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of London’s childcare market including the extent, if any, of market failures in London. It was written for LDA by a team comprising of two economic and social research agencies, Roger Tym & Partners and Laing & Buisson, together with ICMEC's Co-directors at UEL. Download report.
The London childcare market is worth an estimated £1 billion. This represents 18 per cent of total childcare spending in England. The supply of childcare places in London grew more than in any other region between 2003 and 2008. Yet it remains below the national average, harder to find and more costly, particularly for the 60% of London mothers working atypical hours. Such problems tend to be seen as market failures. The report challenges this perception and identifies these problems as resulting from market outcomes rather than market failures. As such market outcomes may conflict with public policy intentions, remedies may be better aimed at tackling equity failures rather than market failures.
Biographies of the speakers at the report's launch can be found here: Biographical details speakers LDA childcare market report ICMEC launch 3 March 2011.
Dave Lawrence and Andrew Clarke, from Roger Tym & Partners, discussed the overall approach taken and key findings. Unfortunately, Philip Blackburn from Laing & Buisson was unable to be present, but he had been involved in putting together the main presentation. Their presentation can be found here: Clarke and Lawrence and Blackburn presentation LDA childcare market report ICMEC launch 3 March 2011.
The launch was chaired by Andre Mostert, development manager of the Petchey Centre for Entrepreneurship at UEL's Royal Docks Business School (Petchey Centre).
Kris Krasnowski, Senior Policy Manager, LDA Labour Market Strategy and report sponsor, discussed the LDA commissioning rationale and the report's potential policy impact. He was keen to stress that it was at the ballot box that people had a key opportunity to influence the future direction in the area of childcare policy of local or central government.
Report author Eva Lloyd, Co-director ICMEC, drew attention to key characteristics of London and of the London childcare market. Not only were there huge differences between the markets in Inner as compared to Outer London boroughs, but within local authorities, great inequalities could be found as well. Her presentation can be found here: THE LONDON CHILDCARE MARKET Eva Lloyd Presentation ICMEC seminar 3 March 2011.
Helen Penn, professor of Early Childhood at UEL introduced the lively discussion that followed the three presentations. Several members of the audience drew attention to the possibility that the report's rejection of market failure in favour of equity failure might send the wrong message to government about the struggles of London parents to find affordable childcare. The report's authors and the LDA commissioner argued that it would be hard for officials to interpret the report's contents in this way, where so much emphasis was placed on the widespread poverty and inequality that characterised London. An interesting debate concerned the identification of levels of demand, as uptake statistics do not reveal the underlying picture about parental preferences. The report's authors agreed that qualitative research is needed to complement the statistical data. In the report they had cited sources such as the timeseries of biennial surveys of parents views and experiences until recently undertaken by teams from the National Centre for Social Research. It was agreed that the equity issues presented within the London childcare market raised profound questions about the suitability of the market approach to childcare as one of a range of human service sectors.
Posted 9 March 2011.