AN EAST LANCASHIRE nursery management software firm has launched a management tool designed to help nurseries navigate their staff returning to work post-lockdown.

The move to launch StaffPlan comes after Nelson-based Connect Childcare conducted a survey to assess the confidence among Early Years (EY) childcare providers about reopening today

It found that of the 634 respondents, 13 per cent are not confident to safely open their doors again today – with 27 per cent also stating they don’t feel confident in managing their workforce.

In addition, 61 per cent stated they were unconfident or unsure about bringing employees back from furlough, and 19 per cent were apprehensive about organising staffing ratios.

Chris Reid, CEO of Connect Childcare, said: “When the Government announced the reopening EY childcare services, we decided to conduct our own research into how the sector is feeling about resuming some form of ‘normality’. And the numbers show that there is definitely a concern for safety from across the board.

“Before COVID-19, the industry was already feeling the pressure from underfunding and depleting staffing levels, but now it has additional challenges to face. Nurseries are responsible for ensuring their settings run as smoothly and safely as possible, and the numbers indicate they’re in need of greater direction and support to make the transition less daunting.”

The StaffPlan tool, which is being offered free of charge until October 31, enables practice managers to manage complex staffing requirements from a single, centralised record in real time without the need for multiple spreadsheets.