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Trust and early years childcare: parents’ relationships with private, state and third sector providers in England

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Relationships of trust are central to the provision of public services. There are, however, concerns that public service reform may disrupt established trust relations. One such reform is the provision of services by a mix of organisations from state, for-profit and third sectors. This paper reports upon an empirical study of the trust relationships between parents and diverse organisations providing early years childcare. It considers whether organisational form or sector is perceived to be a significant indicator of trustworthiness or untrustworthiness, and examines organisational behaviours which may support or hinder trusting relationships. The paper reports that a priori signals, such as sector, have little effect on decisions to trust. Instead, parents actively construct trust through observation of and interactions with providers. Attention therefore shifts to trust-producing organisational behaviours, such as transparency, and to trust-reducing behaviours, such as staff turnover. The paper identifies some benefit in provision through an integrated centre, where parents develop trust over time prior to preschool childcare use. Such a process may be particularly helpful to parents who face disadvantage.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/40797/

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