School age childcare: equality impact assessment

Equality impact assessment (EQIA) for the school age childcare (SACC) programme.

5. Recommendations and Conclusion

The work of the School Age Childcare Programme is necessarily wide-ranging to enable us to deliver our school age childcare ambitions and contribute to our three high level outcomes from childcare:

  • children's development improves and the poverty-related outcomes gap narrows;
  • family wellbeing improves; and
  • parents' and carers' opportunities to take up or sustain work, training, and study increase.

We recognise that there are great challenges involved in designing and implementing a new school age childcare system. This high-level Equality Impact Assessment has shown that the School Age Childcare Programme should have, across all protected characteristics groups, a positive impact for children and their parents and carers, and likely positive impact on the wider family too. There is no evidence that a school age childcare system designed with those who will use it, will lead to direct or indirect discrimination of children or their parents and carers. We are therefore committed to ensuring that a people-centred and place-based approach is embedded within all aspects of the Programme, which will support design of a system that minimises barriers and provides opportunities for users across a broad range of circumstances.

The EQIA shows that some families and their children will have more to gain from the School Age Childcare Programme than others. For example, some protected characteristic groups currently use school age childcare less than others (e.g. ethnic minority families and families with a disabled member) perhaps because of barriers to access, affordability, availability or suitability; and some groups rely more heavily than others on school age childcare to help them find and sustain work or improve family life (young lone parents, and families with a disabled member). As primary care givers in most cases, women will particularly benefit from the Programme.

Concerted effort across a wide range of areas of work, which this Programme brings together, will be required to mitigate against barriers related to protected characteristics, to reduce discrimination and enhance equality of opportunity. The Programme presents an array of opportunities to co-design and develop a school age childcare system which responds to need across a wide set of circumstances, is diverse and inclusive, and which promotes equality and helps foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic, and those who do not.

In order to help us meet our equality duties, we will add to our evidence base where it is appropriate and possible to do so as projects progress. We will continue to deepen our understanding of people’s experience of the school age childcare system, and design policy that responds to the needs of users, or potential users, of childcare services, as well as those who provide or support services. We will also seek to identify any barriers within the existing system and understand how we can address these to support people experiencing disadvantage because of protected characteristics.

There are some high-level suggestions in the EQIA of the types of actions which could help us do this as we progress this work. These are intended as prompts, and a starting point for future exploration. As the Programme progresses, and as workstreams are taken forward if there is a need for a specific accompanying Equality Impacts Assessments to be undertaken, this initial EQIA will support that work.

Given the strong link between the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan priority family types and protected characteristics, targeting school age childcare action towards these same priority family groups means there is the strong potential for this Programme to contribute to reducing discrimination and enhancing equality of opportunity.

Finally, we know that a more diverse school age childcare workforce, which represents the families who use school age childcare, is required. Although not covered in this EQIA, this will be equality impact assessed as work around the workforce progresses as part of this Programme.



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