4-Star Recommendation for BFIS and The Council
Published: 24 May 2018
Here at the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service (BFIS) we are delighted to receive full marks for our information on finding childcare. We were one of only 15% of council services surveyed by Socitm Better Connected to receive the 4-star rating.
What did the reviewer say?
"The childcare directory worked well on my mobile and there was a good spread of information available between the main council site and the Family Information Service one". I had to persevere to answer some of the questions and ensure I looked through the FIS* website as well as the council one, but overall I felt that very good information was provided for what is quite a complex topic with a range of financial schemes on offer."
Why is it important
Finding childcare is essential for working parents but can be very stressful. Funding for childcare has changed a lot in recent years, as so has its availability. When it comes to childcare, local authorities should be the trusted source of local information and advice.
Although this task is relatively straightforward, requiring the presentation of specific information about well-defined things such as availability of free childcare for 2 to 4 year olds. It almost always led reviewers into directory services hosted on third party platforms. Directories linked to council websites are often problematic. It is notable that those from the same provider can perform well or badly depending on how they are implemented and integrated with the council website.
More than half of our cohort of 206 councils provide a good or very good service. There is little variation in terms of the proportions of 3 and 4 stars between England, Scotland and Wales, despite slightly different arrangements applying in England and Scotland – where there is a centrally provided Family Information Service - and significantly different ones in Wales.
Date of assessment: March/April 2018
Coverage: English counties and unitaries, Scottish and Welsh unitaries, metropolitan districts and London boroughs.
*FIS = Family Information Service