I have been waiting for this …… it needs confirmation ….. but if true ……..very worrying for all early years settings   21 comments

I have mentioned / commented on the possible Ofsted fee for childminders who want to remain independently registered with Ofsted.

I have commented on the fact that the DfE / Ofsted have not published this information yet – or even given a ball park figure.

Well, today I have received information from a reliable source that my worse fears may well be right – and that if childminders want to remain independently registered with Ofsted (rather than join one of the proposed childminder agencies) then they will have to pay the full cost of that inspection – and the figure quoted is …….. about £700 per inspection.

Whilst I hope that this figure is not the fee that will be charged, I will not be surprised if it is correct – nor would I be surprised if it is a ‘leaked’ figure designed to scare  in the hope that people start to express an interest in agencies ahead of the publication of  the actual fee – so that the government can say that there is interest in agencies, and continue to push ahead with agencies.

If the figure is correct – it does of course open up a ‘can of worms’ and a whole load more questions.

Will other settings have to pay the full cost of inspection?

This Ofsted factsheet Ofsted fees says that

Childminders pay £35 per year,

Childcare providers on non-domestic or domestic premises who operate for less than four hours per day, or less than five days per week, or less than 45 weeks per year £50,

Childcare providers on non-domestic or domestic premises who operate for:  four or more hours per day; five or more days per week; and 45 or more weeks per year (Please note that only those providers meeting all three of the above criteria qualify). Pay £220 per year

So even in the most expensive example – unless inspections are 4 or more years apart, less than £700 is paid to Ofsted between inspections – and I would think that the actual cost of inspecting a bigger setting – where 2 inspectors are present and / or inspection take more than one day – will be more than £700?

 

One thing that the rumour that I have heard did not clarify is – is this figure of £700 to be charge for every actual inspection or to be collected via an annual fee that adds up to £700 – so a annual fee of about £230??

So as always – more questions if the rumour is correct

– and if it is not factually correct – just when will the government issue some guidelines / ball park figures

– and when will we know if increased inspection fees are on the cards for all early years settings rather than just those childminders who want to remain independently registered and inspected by Ofsted?

 

And for me – as a childminder – I have to ask why are the government so ‘anti childminders’ when their own figures say other types of early years settings  do not cover the true cost of inspection – and that a %  of other early years settings are graded less than good and therefore needing support.

In my opinion,  it seems to me that the government – despite their statements about valuing childminders and wanting to increase the number of childminders – actually don’t want independently registered and inspected childminders – they want ‘add ons’ to nurseries, children’s centers, schools and so on – so that a) wrap around care is provided and b) the governments idea that formal learning is better, is pushed forward and c) that direct guidance on what to do or not do, can be not onlybe provided but insisted on.

Which maybe judgmental, may be harsh, may be spreading rumour when facts are not known – but I blame the government for not providing the detail and not answering the very many questions asked by myself and thousands of other childminders.

May be if the government started responding, started providing detail – there will be lass spreading of rumours , less trying to guess what is behind the governments headline statements – and  more opportunity for professional engagement with the government, and professional personal decision making , based on facts, about the whole More Great Childcare proposals.

 

 

21 responses to “I have been waiting for this …… it needs confirmation ….. but if true ……..very worrying for all early years settings

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  1. Any chance you could let me know Penny, who the reliable source is, as I, on behalf of the 1000’s of childminders we are supporting, have been trying to get a definite figure for the new individual Childminder’s Ofsted registration or inspection fee. This is a crucial piece of information that we all need to plan for the future.
    Julia at Trio

    • Hello Julia

      All I can say at the moment is it is ‘someone close to Ofsted’ As it is still just a rumour – or even passed on and changed on route information, I need to be careful not to get someone into hot water – and I do rely on information that is passed to me (rather a lot and from many different sources)

      Once (if) it is a bit more concrete then I will share the information as and when I find out.

      Sorry I can not be more helpful – and hope you understand.

      I wrote the blog to get people thinking – ahead of any future publication of actual facts – as for some they will have to make very difficult personal decisions – for example for me personally some of my children are due to leave this September – bringing me back to normal ratios – and the rest September 14 – so I need to be planning now if I want to continue childminding and indeed if will be financially viable (I know I don’t want to join an agency)

      Hopefully the government will issue the facts soon – as I am sure the thousands of childminders that you support all have their own personal decisions to make – and will be needing support.

  2. I am so sick of the continuous drip drip drip of unsubstantiated rumours. When they first said we would have to pay for our inspections I worked along the lines of around £800 for inspection and registration and decided I would prefer to pay that rather than spend more on toys, books and good outings for the children but then I am a long serving childminder with lots and lots of resources and know plenty of very cheap outings to go on. As I also work with my childminder husband we pay double. I do agree with every thing you have said here.Penny.

    If they increase the nursery and playgroups costs then it could be the straw that broke the camels back and many just surviving will be forced to close.

    I have found the governments lack of ability to state any hard facts is having a detrimental effect on parents wanting childcare and I am not surprised by some childminders deciding they have had enough and leaving the profession

  3. Well said Penny, if our fees do turn out to be more than preschools and nurseries then this is blatant discrimination within the sector. If we are treated equally and fees take account of the size of the setting, number of children and staff then I’m happy to pay an increased fee to remain independent. It’s costs like this that lead to cost increases, isn’t that what the government was trying to reduce??

    Personally I think the speculated cost of an inspection is extortionate and something the government also needs to consider. I would only need to work one day per week as an Ofsted Inspector and would earn more than I do childminding for 45+ hours per week!!! Something is VERY wrong.

    Regards

    Ruth

  4. This is all very worrying, if I have to pay the amounts talked about, then my only option will be to increase my fees. I struggle now, as do many of my child minder friends, working long, lonely hours, and earning a lot less than minimum wage. If the government want to impose all this extra stress, then make up our wages!

    helen williams - sunshine childminding
  5. Hi Penny The figure of £700 comes as no surprise to me
    If our inspections are to be every 4 years that means our registration fee will be £175 per year to total £700.
    At a meeting with E Truss last August she quoted a slightly higher figure than £700 (somewhere I still have the notes from that meeting) therefore I have been expecting as much

    what we need now is confirmation so that cms can prepare for this additional cost
    If £175 is our new fee (and I have seen this figure quoted on a website some time ago) we need to put away around £15 every month
    I have already started saving this for the last few months just in case…hopefully it won’t be that much but some guidance from Ofsted would be welcome at this time

    simona mckenzie
  6. Well if its £700 per inspection and you look after 6 children it works out at less then a £1 a week increase for each child. My parents would not object to paying another pound as it is far cheaper than the nursery in my area. Most will get 70% of it paid by the government so they are just putting up the social welfare bill again – rather than supporting cost effective childcare providers. Are they mad or is it me – bring it on I will not join an agency.

  7. It all sounds horrific! I do object to the registration fee going up from £35 a year to ridiculous £175 + . I have stayed in this line of work because the outlay is low and to only be able to offer one full time vacancy, that leaves me short on cash and would have to then put prices up which in turn I would end up with no income so what would be the point? I have been childminding for well over ten years and I have seen many different changes for better and worse. I do not know enough about the agencies and how they will work? On the little I have read there are no definite details about agencies because if it’s going to let me decide what my fee is and recommend to parents looking for childcare? also, do I then need to be accredited with a business plan?

    cheeky monkey childminder
    • You have described the thoughts of many – and the worry.

      This government needs to start providing more details, so that people can decide on the their own future plans.All good businesses plan ahead but at the moment this is very difficult for registered childminders because of the lack of information

  8. I have just contacted Ofsted and they have said there is nothing in this news and we will be the first to know if and when there is something to tell us
    At present this is only making cms worry

    simona mckenzie
    • I am sure that Ofsted will tell us when there is something they are officially allowed to tell us.

      And yes childminders are worrying, they are also asking lots of questions, they are also wondering how long it will be before the government – (and I do mean the government not Ofsted, as Ofsted implement the law / regulation rather than make the law / regulations) provide the details to the proposals in More Great Childcare – especially about childminder agencies and future inspection fees for those who will remain registered and inspected by Ofsted.

      This figure of £700 has been mentioned my many over the last few months – so as you said yourself not a surprise to many.

      Surely childminders, and other early years settings should question, should forward plan, should try to ensure their settings remain sustainable?

      So yes – childminders are worrying – and it is up to the government to give more details so early years settings can make informed decisions

  9. I must confess I would rather pay £700 to Ofsted for an inspection than the proposed £600-£1000 to an Agency and be lumped in on their Grading. It is no surprise that a figure of this order has been mentioned. When Ofsted took over from Social Services I seem to remember the annual fee was going to be £90 and pacey negotiated it down to £25. It was supposed to increase a little each year after that and has not and I think that with respect pacey have done us a disservice. If it had edged up then we would be paying over £100 pa and would not be so shocked. I think it is entirely reasonable that we pay the cost of the inspection as long as all settings pay the same. Though Nurseries and Pre Schools etc are less in proportion to inspect because they care for more children the same basic cost incurred by Ofsted by sending out an inspector should apply.

    I also think if they do this, that if a parent or someone makes a malicious complaint that triggers an inspection and it is then unfounded the person making the complaint pays the same amount to cover the cost of the unnecessary inspection.

    • An interesting point about the cost of malicious complaint triggered inspections Brita – as I am sure these do cost the government a lot of money each year when taken across all settings and the whole country.

      Another interesting thought has occurred to me – if settings are to request a re inspection due to making improvements after receiving a lower grade – will they have to pay a £700 fee for that re inspection? Just thinking allowed but potentially this could also cost either the government or settings a lot of money and maybe make it ‘unworkable’

  10. I am going to semi retire in September, caring for just two after school children I have cared for since they were babies. If the fee is increased to £700 then this will equate to three months plus income! I am sure there must be many other C.M’s out there working just a few hours. This fee will make it unrealistic for some of us to continue as C.M’s. I feel this will encourage many to become unregistered or give up altogether.

    caroline Spencer
  11. While we continue to wait for real figures it has occurred to me that some cms may think this could be a yearly fee? As it is called the ‘inspection fee’ this may imply it covers the cycle of inspection…every 4 years?
    It would make no sense if the fee was a yearly fee of £700 as that would kill our businesses….many maybes unfortunately!

    simona mckenzie
    • Simona has some interesting discussion points, which people may want to discuss. Therefore I would like to remind people of the focus group set up by Simona http://independentchildminders.activeboard.com/, so people can discuss these points with Simona and other users.

      There are also a number of other forums where discussion is encouraged – including the One Voice Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/449207421816274/

      Therefore as there are other means of providing information and discussing views with others, I respectfully would like to remind people that (as per the information about posting on this blog) that usually one comment is sufficient, for each blog, so people can comment on the blog and give their opinion.

  12. Lets remember this is only a rumour at present, though in the current financial climate it would not surprise me if Ofsted charged individual childminders, who did not become part of an agency a fee for inspection. If this does happen then look at the choice. You either stay independant and pay or you join an agency. My wife runs a very busy setting and i work as her full time assistant, we have no intention of joining an agency, like most childminders. This will mean we will have to pay for Ofsted inspections, and as these are every 3 to 4 years the cost, based on an inspection on average every 31/2 years if the charge is £700. is £200 per year This is a business expence and reduces your tax bill by £40 per year plus a reduction in NI contributions. So the £200 becomes around £150. We would rather pay this and remain independant. Do not let us forget that to survive agencies need childminders to join to raise the income they need to survive as there is no funding for them. Childminders don’t join the result is failure. There are going to be changes but do not allow the rhetoric to cloud what should be a serious business decision, because ladies you are running a business.
    If you did decide to become part of an agancy, and the talk is that it will cost 10% of your fees, This is a lot more than the £200 per year for an Ofsted inspection and you remain independant and free to promote your buisness any way you wish.

    • Very good points Peter and I think you are right – the agency fee will be more for those who run busy settings. However if the agency fee is % based for those childminders who work part time or have young children themselves – it may not be so clear cut – and a more difficult decision to make.

      I hope childminders do vote with their feet and refuse to join agencies (and not heard of anyone who does want to yet) and the whole idea is a financial flop.

  13. sorry only just read your blogg about ofsted fees I went to the PACY introduction meeting in Birmingham where they had someone from the DfE and the question about if we did not join an agency then how much would we have to pay? as the person asking the question said she had heard it was going to be £400. He said it was not going to change from the £35 that we already pay.

    elaine o'brien
    • Thank you for posting this Elaine. I am sure we all hope this proves to be correct

    • Hi Elaine,
      If this turns out to be true then there no reason on earth for any childminder to join an agency. With the climb down on ratios i suspect more will happen.

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