Reviewers were asked to test websites on the sort of questions parents and carers seeking childcare might ask, using a mobile device. 52% of councils tested – including all 206 UK councils with responsibilities for children’s services – were assessed as providing a good or very good service for the task. A number of councils recommended for the task were cited as providing an ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’ service.
According to Better Connected, although ‘Find Childcare’ is a relatively straightforward, requiring the presentation of specific information about well-defined things (eg availability of free childcare for 2-4 year olds) it almost always led reviewers into directory services hosted on third party platforms.
Directories linked to council websites are often problematic, as has been reported by Better Connected following a number of surveys on adult social care, with platforms from the same provider performing well or badly depending on how well they are implemented and integrated with the main council website, and how well they are maintained.
Viewing directories, with their dropdown menus and multiple options, map facilities and other complex functionality, can also be problematic on mobile devices unless they have been well tested and configured to suit the mobile environment.
In all, 20 sites are recommended for good practice. There is little variation in terms of the proportion of sites scoring three or more 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. No Welsh site scores more than three stars, however.
Find the Better Connected ‘Find childcare’ report at https://www.betterconnected.socitm.net/
Notes for editors
Better Connected is owned and was originally developed by Socitm. Since May 2015 it has been run in partnership with Boilerhouse Communications
Anyone can access ‘all-council’ reports and individual council headline results from Better Connected surveys at https://betterconnected.socitm.net/
Full details of individual council reviews are available to Better Connected subscribers only.