This article is concerned with explaining the relatively disappointing results of the Labour government's National Childcare Strategy to date, with particular emphasis on the role of the EYDCPs (Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships). After briefly describing and assessing childcare policy under Labour, it suggests that limited outcomes partly reflect the constraining legacy of previous policy and provision, but must also be related to the way childcare has fitted into the wider government agenda, and ‘third way’ discourse. This has affected not only policy content but the chosen means of implementation. In this context the article focuses in particular on the local EYDCPs: both their rationale and the part they have played in practice.
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