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Government funding rates based on “flimsy data”

DfE’s research into funding for the early years is criticised by the Alliance
 
The research behind the government’s early years funding review has been criticised by the Alliance following its release through the Freedom of Information Act.
 
The research was carried out by Deloitte on behalf of the Department for Education and was used, alongside departmental studies from 2012/2013, to inform the 2015 Cost of Childcare report. This report has been used to help shape the new early years funding rates, due to come into effect in April.
 
The data has been released after the Alliance’s initial request, filed more than a year ago, was twice refused and eventually upheld by the Information Commissioner’s Office. It shows a survey questionnaire sent out by Deloitte, responses and a summary. It can be viewed on the Alliance website at: www.pre-school.org.uk/deloittedata
 
The Alliance argues that this demonstrates that the research was based on a “very small, non-random sample of providers” who were asked broad and poorly worded questions. The respondents were asked, for example, to estimate their delivery costs, without any guidance on what to include in the total.
 
Neil Leitch, chief executive at the Alliance, commented: “How can the government, in all good conscience, gamble the future of the early years sector on such flimsy data? How can it defend its decision to freeze funding rates – with no formal review – for the next three years, when the basis for current funding is so weak? This is simply not an acceptable approach to policy-making.”