Back to Listings

DfE does not hold data cited in latest report

The Department for Education does not hold all of the data it cites in its latest childcare costs report, the Pre-school Learning Alliance has discovered.

In its Review of childcare costs: the analytical report, published in November 2015, the department quotes figures on provider costs by Deloitte multiple times, but has since claimed it does not hold this research.

On 12 January 2016 the Alliance filed a freedom of information request for this research and on 10 March the DfE responded by stating that: “the information you requested is not held by this department.”

The response came 23 working days later than it was due and no reason was given for the delay.

“We are at a loss to understand how the Department for Education can say that it doesn’t hold research that it has said, in writing, that it used and interpreted to inform its review into childcare delivery costs — and even more baffled as to why it took two months to ascertain this. Is the suggestion that they received the data from Deloitte, used it in the review, and then gave it back?” said Neil Leitch, Pre-school Learning Alliance chief executive.

“The government has described its review as ‘the most comprehensive bottom-up analysis of the cost of childcare provision in the country’, and yet not only are we as a sector unable to scrutinise a key piece of underlying research, but we are now told that no one at the DfE — the department responsible for ensuring that the 30-hour scheme is funded adequately — has this information at all.”

The Alliance has already raised a number of concerns over this report, including the use of 2012 data for key information like wages, rents and utility costs.

“It is now clear that this review is an unacceptably poor foundation on which to base critical funding decisions, decisions that will determine whether the 30-hour scheme will succeed or fail,” Neil said.

The Alliance has now filed a request for an internal review of the response.