'Illuminating account of child day-care policies and practice in Britain... a compelling account... a tour de force... this book is an outstanding achievement, dealing with a much-neglected subject, revealing how the provision of child care offers an exemplary case study not just of institutional and governmental politics but also of the detrimental affects of the combination of liberalism and patriarchy... the analysis is an adroit critique of public policy theory, with Randall taking to task traditional institutional analysis, network and community theory, and various policy typology models, showing how all fail to explain the peculiarity of child-care policy in Britain.' -American Political Science Review
'A timely and welcome book which explores the politics of childcare in postwar Britain... This is a useful book because it helps explain the slow development of childcare policies and the factors shaping that development.' -Social PolicyArguing that daycare is vital for gender equality, this book seeks to explain why provision, especially public provision, has been so meagre in Britain. Adopting a predominantly institutional approach, it shows how the liberal tradition of limited state intervention has intersected with the private, family, as well as the potentially redistributive, character of childcare issues. It also highlights the gendered assumptions of policy-makers, the centralization of governmental process, the weakness of the childcare lobby, and of feminist mobilization on childcare and simple contingencies of timing. This policy legacy will severely constrain new Labour's commitment to 'meet the childcare challenge'.