Modelling the costs of childcare provision

Apteligen began working with what is now the Irish Government’s Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in 2018. We were first commissioned as part of an independent review of the cost of providing quality childcare in Ireland. Apteligen was responsible for delivering an analytical programme of work, including the development of a policy scenario modelling tool. The project was part of a wider commitment by the Department to establish an evidence base for the development and support of quality Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) provision in Ireland.

Our work, which was peer reviewed and heavily scrutinised, included:

– A detailed cleaning and formatting exercise of a large and comprehensive survey to centre-based providers nationally, drawing on external data and expert advice to inform the assumptions.

– Analysing the current costs of providing specific services, and the factors that impact on these costs.

– The development of an Excel model of the unit costs that enabled users to explore different cost-drivers and the impact of specific scenarios and policy changes, on the cost of delivering services.

– Providing an objective, high-level market analysis of the sector in Ireland, including analysis of fee levels charged to parents.

We contributed to a panel discussion at the launch event for the final report, in which Minister O’Gorman thanked Crowe (Ireland) and Apteligen, and said that ‘The findings from this review provide us with a rich and detailed understanding of the childcare market and a sound analytical underpinning to inform future funding decisions.’

Following on from the initial piece of work, Apteligen provided additional analytical and modelling expertise for the Department, including during the early period of Covid-19, and making recommendations in relation to changes that could be made to existing survey tools, updating the unit cost model with new data, and to build in new modelling scenarios that had not previously been available.

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