Camden employment and childcare

The Timewise Council

Camden Council has become the country’s first ever Timewise Council. This accreditation scheme helps councils stimulate flexibility in the local jobs market by sharing learning from their own workforce practice, using this experience to influence suppliers and local employers.

Another aim is to help residents find work that fits with their caring responsibilities and raises their living standards, building on the principles of the Living Wage.

Timewise Council status forms part of Camden’s wider plan to help mothers balance work with childcare. The Timewise Foundation, which runs the scheme, champions flexible working and operates the UK’s leading jobsite, offering high-quality part-time roles to the people who need and can fill them.

Timewise’s aim is to build a high quality part-time and flexible job market to create greater choice for everyone who needs flexibility in their careers so that they no longer need to reduce their value in the workplace.

Timewise partners with private sector employers such as EY, Credit Suisse, Diageo, JP Morgan, PWC and the Bank Of England to support them to open up their recruitment processes to flexibility. Camden’s achievement is leading the way in terms of public sector involvement. Camden is committed to being the country’s best public sector employer, and our Timewise Council status will help us achieve this.

Now that we’ve secured Timewise status, we hope to work with Timewise to help other local authorities and public sector organisations to adopt the Timewise principles - thus helping boost the economy beyond our own local area, recognising that Camden residents take part in a wider labour market.

The Council set out its ambition to become the country’s first Timewise Council in September last year at a conference it held with the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) on employment and childcare (see below). This was part of the Council’s response to the findings of the Camden Equality Taskforce, which reported in May 2013 (see background and report below).

Becoming a Timewise Council is part of our focus on maternal employment and our approach to tackling child poverty. The Taskforce’s findings linked the lack of quality, part-time and flexible jobs in London with lower rates of mothers in work.

Camden’s existing offer

Camden became the country’s first Timewise Council in March 2014. This means that we will champion flexible and part-time working, using our own practice as an example to other employers in the public and private sector. Timewise Council status complements the work Camden is already undertaking to make the borough the best possible place to gain work and build a career, such as:

  • Our London Living Wage campaign
  • Constantly striving to secure and promote high-calibre apprenticeships
  • Ensuring our free Summer University programme for young people offers a wide range of practical vocational courses, many of which are accredited
  • Keeping our primary schools among the best in the country and working hard to ensure our secondaries meet a similar standard
  • Offering 25 hours of free state nursery education to parents of three and four year-olds who live in Camden.

Camden's Equality Taskforce

In May 2013 Camden’s Equality Taskforce published its final report. The report examines how local public services can help address inequality in Camden, taking a fresh look at its causes and how it can be tackled.

The Taskforce’s research showed that mothers face particular barriers to employment - something exacerbated by the lack of good quality part-time opportunities available.

The issue of maternal unemployment is inextricably linked with child poverty and inequality, and Camden Council believes that by closing this loop it can make real strides towards improving the lives of local people. Boosting employment and reducing child poverty are two core aims of the Camden plan - the Council’s ambitious five-year plan for the borough’s future.

Camden Employment and Childcare Conference Report - autumn 2013

Camden’s Employment and Childcare Conference was held on 13 September 2013 and sought to start a debate – both local and national – on maternal employment, flexible working and the need for affordable, high quality childcare:

For more details or if you are having trouble downloading this report from the above link, email:

The Child Poverty Action Group used the occasion to launch a new report, produced with the support of Camden Council, which explores the scope for local authorities to provide further investment in childcare and other services which support parents into work.

The conference also saw Camden formally announce its intention to become the country’s first Timewise Council as part of its work to help mothers balance work with childcare. This will form part of wider plans to create pathways for women into work, reduce inequality and show how flexibility works for employers and employees alike.

The event brought together key stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors, allowing attendees to share thoughts, insights and learning from top professionals and practitioners. These included representatives from:

  • Camden Council
  • The Child Poverty Action Group
  • The Timewise Foundation
  • Thomas Coram Centre for Children and Families
  • The Institute for Public Policy Research
  • The London School of Economics and Political Science
  • The Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Speakers' presentations at the conference are available to download below:

Note: the combined PowerPoint file above includes the following presentations from the event: 1. Bernadette Duffy, Thomas Coram Centre for Children and Families. 2. Carey Oppenheim, Early Intervention Foundation. 3. Dr Kitty Stewart, London School of Economics and Political Science. 4. Caroline Davey, Gingerbread. 5. Dalia Ben-Galim, Institute for Public Policy Research. 6. Eulalia Crease-Huggett,  Ernst and Young.

A seventh presentation - by Claire Crawford, Institute for Fiscal Studies - is included as a separate download (pdf file) above.

  • Please also see the above booklet, summing up the conference’s key points.

Facts and figures

  • Unemployment among women aged 25 to 45 has increased by 45% in Camden since 2005
  • The child poverty rate in Camden is approximately 35.3% (13,000 children), compared with 37% for London and 27% nationally
  • Female employment rate in London for women in couples is 58.3%, compared with 72.4% in the rest of the country – a gap of 14%
  • The employment rate in London for lone parents is 47.6%, compared with 57.3% national – a gap of 10%
  • The economic inactivity rate for women in Camden is 38% (18% for men), compared with 34% for inner London and 28.8% nationally
  • The average cost of full-time childcare in London is £14,000 per year, and probably even higher in Camden
  • This equates to £5.33 per hour, while the per-hour London Living Wage rate is £8.55
  • It is estimated that national GDP could be boosted by 10% if women’s economic participation rates were equalised across the country
  • Rates of part-time work in Camden are 24.4% compared to 21.5% in inner London and 32.6% nationally.
  • Further background on these issues - 'We Can Work it Out - Parental Employment in London', CPAG report (November 2012).
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