Headlines: April 8th, 1998

The Department for Education and Employment is taking over responsibility for day care of children under eight from the Department of Health. The new remit for the DfEE includes regulation of nurseries and childminders.The move is aimed at removing the division and inconsistencies which resulted from previous arrangements and fostering growth and development of services needed by young children and their families. The policy transfer will not directly alter the work of local education and social services departments.

Education and Employment Secretary, David Blunkett, said: “I welcome this progress towards our Manifesto commitment to further integrate services for children. Locating this work in my Department, alongside Early Years Development Plans and the National Childcare Strategy, helps us move forward through our early years agenda with a co-ordinated approach.”

Policy responsibilities moving to the Department for Education and Employment are:day care provision, local authority reviews and reports on services for under eights, registration, and regulation and inspection of day care nurseries and childminders. Responsibility for provision of day care for children in need will remain with the Department of Health as social services will continue to assess and purchase services for families in need. Policies and legislation for child protection will also stay with the Department of Health.