CivTech 6

Supporting the development of school-age childcare policy with data insights

A family walking to nursery

The Challenge

Revealing hidden demand data to create unprecedented insights at a national level

The Scottish Government wanted to design and build an accessible, affordable, and flexible system of school age childcare provision. Central to this is an understanding of the needs of parents and children in relation to the ability of the sector to supply against those needs. Although there are existing data sets associated with regulated childcare this is insufficient to support policy development. Specifically, there is insufficient data from unregulated activity providers and more vulnerable families that really need the support. This is a complex and multi-faceted problem that involves the acquisition of otherwise hidden demand data about the needs of families across the entire country and combining this with multiple industry and social data sources to generate insights that can be used to guide policy development.

A laptop showing a set of data analytics

What we did

Combining co-design, technology and data analytics to solve real world problems

The Scottish Government turned to the private sector via the CivTech 6 competition to tackle this problem. We worked in partnership with our client, Flexible Childcare Services Scotland, to develop an extension to the Careus proposition that would connect parents to service providers in a natural search process for childcare and children's activities. In doing so we would simultaneously surface the needs of parents for their children and otherwise hard to reach data and insights for Gov policy makers.

Our concept was to discover childcare needs and supply side availability through a natural search process that seeks to match demand and supply for childcare and children's activities.

We began with Co-Design sessions for all stakeholders to get a deeper understanding of how to shape this basic proposition steering a careful course between providing a compelling service and the privacy requirements of GDPR.

We then proved that the data gathered from this process could be cleansed and combined with existing Government data sets such as SIMD, Funding Council Data and ONS to create meaningful data visualisations and insights that would support policy development.

Children enjoying a day at nursery
A child enjoying a swimming lesson


A new proposition that surfaces quantitative and qualitative data for Scottish Government policy teams

Having won the CivTech 6 competition with our partner and client FCSS the fully productised system is now nearing completion. 

Working in co-design with regulated and unregulated childcare service providers, parents from communities across the country, Scottish Government policy teams and data analysts we have designed & tested a new proposition and data feed service that surfaces perceptions, economic and cultural data insights essential to the development of government childcare policy. 

The project is now in full implementation stage.

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