Vouchers for the self-employed in the spotlight

Here at CVS, we are strongly backing a national campaign that is calling for childcare vouchers to be made available for the self-employed. The campaign is being spearheaded by CVPA (Childcare Voucher Providers Association), along with the National Day Nurseries Association, Daycare Trust and many others.

This week the campaign picked up even more momentum after appearing in the national press.

In an article featured in the Daily Telegraph, the potential benefits of extending the vouchers scheme to the self-employed were explained.

Under the current system, only employed parents can benefit. However, with the Government aiming for 2012 to be the ‘year of enterprise’, backers of the campaign believe more should be done to encourage entrepreneurship by providing mothers and fathers who start their own business with childcare support.

According to the Telegraph: ‘Many business and childcare organisations believe that the lack of childcare support is a major barrier to women starting up their own business.’

You can read the full article here:

Daily Telegraph: Call to give self-employed access to childcare vouchers

This issue is one we feel very passionate about at CVS and we are proud, as a founding member of the CVPA, to be an instrumental part of the campaign for vouchers to be accessible to the self-employed. It’s vitally important to encourage further help and financial support to be provided for working parents, and we will continue to lobby the Government on initiatives which will benefit them, especially in the current economic climate.

Parents set to pay more for their childcare

Research published today by the Social Market Foundation shows that as a result of growing childcare costs and reduced Government support, working parents are set to pay more from their own pockets to cover childcare costs. The research is supported by The Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA), of which CVS is a founder member.

Key findings show that:

  • Low income families in 2015 are likely to pay £600 per year more for their childcare compared to 2006 – almost 7% of their annual income:
  • a middle-income family in 2015 is likely to pay £900 per year more; and
  • a higher-income family in 2015 is likely to pay £1,400 per year more.
  • If childcare costs continue to rise at the current rate, the cost of a typical amount of childcare will be £104 per week in today’s money; a 13.5% rise from 2006.

Ultimately, this means that if we’re to return to the public support levels offered in 2006, the high point for childcare support, the following measures need to be taken:

  • The proportion of childcare costs covered in the new Universal Credit would have to increase to 83% (from the current 70%)
  • The childcare voucher entitlement for basic rate tax payers would need to increase to £83 per week – it’s currently £55 per week, which has remained unchanged since 2006.

The report clearly demonstrates the consequences if funding continues to drop whilst costs rise. As part of the CVPA we’re committed to promoting the role childcare vouchers can play in offsetting the costs parents are faced with - it’s not just childcare they have to pay for after all and easing that burden will help elsewhere and hopefully help them return to work.

The report will be formally launched today where the SMF will present their findings to members of parliament and civil servants in order to raise awareness of the issues and highlight potential solutions. 

I’ll be at the event to represent the CVPA and give the introduction to the session. I’m looking forward to being able to talk about the relevance of childcare vouchers in helping parents meet their childcare demands and how we move forward to ensure parents are not simply priced out of childcare.

You can read the SMF’s report ‘The Parent Trap’ here.

We’re now on facebook!

I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve launched our new facebook page which we’ve built with you in mind. The page has separate sections for parents, employers and carers so it’s easier to access the information that’s most relevant to you.

Features of the site include:

› Holiday clubs and childcare info – listed by region so you can find out what’s available near you › Discussion board › News and updates on our charitable partnership with Honeypot › Information about the Childcare Voucher Providers Association › Videos › Photos

We’ll update the page regularly with the latest news, videos and photos from CVS and our charitable partner Honeypot; and ask for your thoughts on current hot topics via the discussion board and polls.

Visit the page now for photos and videos from our Family Fun Day in Lichfield as well as information about our latest survey - all you need to do to get involved is ‘like’ our page!

And don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter (@CCVouchers) as well.

Best practice in childcare voucher provision promoted as new industry body is launched

Today is a significant day for the childcare voucher industry as it sees the launch of the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA); the new industry body founded by several leading childcare voucher providers, including CVS, to promote best practice within the sector. The introduction of the CVPA will ensure that parents, employers and childcare providers receive the highest standard of service from all the UK’s childcare voucher providers.

Standards and procedures that childcare voucher providers must adhere to are set out in the Code of Practice that’s been put together by the founder members. In order to become and remain a member, all providers will have to demonstrate to the CVPA that these standards are maintained on an ongoing basis. The Code of Practice is founded on the following key principles:

• All voucher funds will be kept separately from the Childcare Provider’s own capital; • Data will be held securely and managed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998; • Payments will be initiated to Childcare Providers within one working day of receipt of a valid voucher; • Service standards will be transparent and all documentation will be clear and not misleading; and • Complaints will be handled properly, with the right to complain to the CVPA if a Member has not adhered to the Code of Practice.

The introduction of the Code of Practice is a positive step forward for the industry, with an emphasis on quality and consistency of service delivery. I wholeheartedly support the introduction of the Code and have always believed that these principles should be the minimum standards customers should expect from a childcare voucher provider. This new Code will assist in making that a reality, providing parents, employers and childcare providers with the certainty that all providers are working to a uniform industry standard.

Fiona Shields, Chair of the CVPA said:“The launch of the CVPA and the publication of the Code of Practice marks an important moment for the childcare voucher providers industry. By coming together to drive forward best practice, members of the CVPA are demonstrating their commitment to providing both parents and carers with the highest standards of service. The establishment of the CVPA will help ensure the successful and effective continuation of the childcare vouchers scheme and its role in developing a vibrant and diverse childcare sector.”

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association said:“NDNA welcomes the launch of the CVPA and we hope that it will help remove some of the common issues in the current voucher system. Nurseries understand the value of childcare vouchers to families, and how crucial they are for parents in ensuring that work pays. The CVPA sets out the minimum standards that parents and childcare providers can expect and we hope that voucher companies will accept the CVPA as an industry standard and work to ensure that they meet these. We look forward to the CVPA Code of Practice being implemented by voucher companies and hopefully hearing feedback about how this has improved the experience of vouchers for both families and nurseries.”

For more information about the CVPA, visit the website.