The DfE Family Information Directory Aggregator provided a repository of childcare and family services information, collated from local authorities through an online data feed.
The data stored within the Aggregator could then be searched by users via websites, or other digital services, that provided a searchable interface.
The open source Aggregator provides two main components:
Data is exchanged with the Aggregator software in XML format.
In order to function the Aggregator requires data.
Local authorities (LAs) receive information on registered childcare from Ofsted. This information is downloaded into their local childcare databases and information on additional services is added, e.g. school pick ups, vacancies etc. The LA liaises with childcare providers to collect this supplementary information and obtain permission to publish it as appropriate. LAs also maintain databases of local family services. This information helps them meet their information duty under Section 12 of the Childcare Act 2006.
From September 2009 LAs integrated their local systems with the Directory, adopting the same schemas and vocabularies to enable uploads to the Aggregator. This helped established common data standards across the market.
Please note: Any organisation developing a version of the Directory will need to liaise with LAs to receive their childcare and family information data feed. LAs are not obliged to provide their data. The Directgov local authority finder can be accessed using the link on the right-hand side of this page.
As of the end of March 2011 the national Directory contained almost 193,000 records of local childcare and family services provided by LAs and national family service providers. It was published on 21 websites including Directgov.
Search statistics show the Directory received around 40,000 searches a day in 2010. The five most common search terms in March 2011 were childminder, sure start, childcare, nursery, nanny.
Some user search statistics for the month of March are available at the right hand side of this page.