The council has compiled a list of 43 Ofsted registered childminders who can look after children overnight or late at night, provide care at weekends and/or at short notice.
All childminders on the list are either quality assured or working towards a Brent quality assured rating.
The ‘Flexible Childminding Pool’ has been created in response to findings from a survey the council carried out with 1,332 parents in which mothers and fathers said a lack of flexible, affordable childcare was the main barrier preventing them from either attending job interviews, taking up employment or working shifts or at weekends.
Thought to be the first service of its kind to be set up by a local authority, Brent Council has established the childminding pool in association with partner organisations Job Centre Plus, NHS Brent and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
The intention is that the partner organisations will direct parents experiencing difficulties finding flexible childcare to Brent’s Children & Families Information Service, who will point them to the ‘Flexible Childminding Pool’ list.
Brent’s lead member for children & families, councillor Michael Pavey, said, ‘We are absolutely dedicated to providing the highest quality childcare for local families.
‘Flexible childcare will make a huge different to local parents in Brent who have struggled to attend interviews or accept jobs because of childcare difficulties.
‘This innovative new scheme will also ensure young children are kept safe, happy and stimulated.’
Commenting on the launch of Brent Council’s Flexible Childminding Pool, Liz Bayram, chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), said, ‘PACEY welcomes any new innovation that supports families with flexible childcare so long as the needs of children are at the heart of the solution. Atypical hours are challenging for many families and alongside innovations like this we need more flexibility from employers to help working parents.’