The BBC is to close its in-house childcare nurseries over a three year period due to a reallocation of funds.
The move will save the broadcaster more than £1million. Although staff pay discounted rates for places, the nurseries are heavily subsidised by the BBC to the tune of £5,000 per child.
The six in-house nurseries with places for 217 children are located across the country. The first closures will come in 2008 at the Woodlands site at White City and the One World Service site, also in London. The final closure is planned for Cardiff in 2010.
Roger Fairhead, BBC’s head of reward, put the decision to close the nurseries down to a reallocation of funding. He explained that it was difficult to justify the the high running costs of the nurseries given the proportion of staff who were using them. He said: “The decision was the outcome of a general realisation that the BBC is a fixed income business and needs to ensure it is spending money in the best possible way.”
Aware that the sacrifice will not come easily to those employees who do use the service, the BBC is endeavouring to secure discounts and deals for staff to use childcare facilities in their local vicinity. It already offers staff the option of tax-efficient childcare vouchers.
Fairhead said: “The combination of childcare vouchers and BBC plans to source alternative, convenient nursery resources will hopefully partly mitigate the impact of the in-house nursery closure.”