Move comes as report says parents don't know where to find information
The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a competition for the development of an app to help parents find local affordable childcare.
It is running the competition with Innovate UK through the Small Business Research Initiative, which enables public sector bodies to harness innovative ideas from technology businesses. The successful applicants will share £200,000 for development costs.
The DfE said the app should provide up-to-date information and make it easy for parents to arrange care, and to search in different ways, such as by location or opening hours. It suggested that features could include a platform for childcare providers to input information and manage their availability, a booking function for parents, a feature for rating and reviewing providers, and connections to social media.
Childcare minister Sam Gyimah said: "Instead of wasting time just trying to uncover what's available, parents will have everything they need to weigh up what's best for then in one place, such as costs, opening hours and available spaces."
The competition was announced on the day of publication of an Ipsos MORI report on childcare information, which says many parents are unsure where to look and are often unaware of full childcare provision in their area.
A full brief is available for online developers and the competition is open until 1 April.
Pictured: Department for Education (DfE) by Paul Clarke © | paulclarke.com