Crowe was commissioned by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to undertake an independent review on the cost of providing quality childcare in Ireland in Autumn 2017. The brief included:
- analysing the current costs of providing childcare and the factors that impact on these costs;
- the development and delivery of a model of the unit costs of providing childcare that allows analysis of policy changes and variation in cost-drivers, including the potential impact of professionalisation; and
- providing an objective, high-level market analysis of the childcare sector in Ireland, including analysis of fee levels charged to parents.
An approach and methodology were decided upon in partnership with the DCYA and a number of key activities have been undertaken to date. These include:
- engagement with key stakeholders from the sector, including the Early Years Forum, provider representative organisations, the City and County Childcare Committees, Statutory bodies, childcare professional training bodies, and academics;
- the administration of a survey to all centre-based childcare providers nationally, to provide the data on which the modelling tool would be based;
- the development of a cost modelling tool (and guidance document) to present the baseline cost data and enable the testing of the impact of a range of scenarios, namely changes to cost drivers on the unit costs of delivering childcare services; and
- the preparation of an economic and market analysis paper, and a final report detailing the elements of the review and the key findings.
Crowe delivered the outputs from this Review in early 2019; the costs modelling tool, guidance document, economic and market analysis paper, and final report.
All outputs received were subject to independent peer review. A Request for Quotations (RfQ) to undertake the peer review was issued on 5 March 2019. The peer review was completed in May 2019.
Crowe are currently undertaking an additional piece of work arising from the findings and recommendations of the peer review. The work is expected to be completed in August 2019.
Once complete, the outputs will be made available to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs for consideration.
It is anticipated that the Review will be published shortly thereafter.