Further hints about Government intentions for childminding agencies   2 comments

Following on from my previous blog – this one is based on the questions from the evaluation / survey for parents in the trail areas for childminding agencies.

As with previous blog, I will not be using all the questions as some are just data about those taking part – I will again be using blue ink for my comments.

If you do not currently require childcare, if circumstances change, how likely are you to use a childminding agency over other types of childcare?

How can any parent comment on this? To do so they need information about childminding agencies – and at the moment there isn’t any! However what this will achieve is a number of parents saying they would use a childminding agency based on fact that Government suggesting that will provide quality childcare. This will give the Government ‘stats’ to use.

How much would you be willing to pay per hour for the services of an agency childminder?

Possible answers; under £5 / £5 – £5.99 / £6 – £6.99 / £7 – £9.99 / £10 – £11.99 / £12 or more

Clearly as a registered childminder, I have based my fees on a complete misunderstanding of how much parents can afford to pay and I am under charging by a huge amount. (Joking of course – I know how much parents can afford in realistic terms) Based on survey’s of average charges there should be a under £4 choice and even a between £3 and £4 choice.  

Does this mean the Government already know that childminding agencies are going to push up the cost of childcare? And if they do – they are not being truthful to parents re ‘More affordable childcare’ nor are they being honest with child.minders and prospective childminders as these sorts of fees would soon put all childminders out of business – as parents would use group care as their charges are not that much (in general)

It also means that based on these figures the amount paid for early education funding is – well a joke. How can the Government ask parents if they would be willing to pay these sorts of fees, when the Government pays on average less than £4 per hour for early years education funded hours?

What elements of an agency would you most be prepared to pay for?

Possible answers; Someone to recruit a childminder for you / Agency to provide quality guarantee / Agency to vet childminders regularly / Agency to provide sickness and holiday cover / Agency to help find place for child with additional needs / I would not be prepared to pay extra for these services

So here we are then – not only are the Government thinking about charging childminders to provide these services – they are thinking about charging parents to access these services. Is this anything to do with the informal feedback that we have had – that agencies are not cost effective? 

And how could an agency provide a guarantee that about agency childminders? Near impossible as the word guarantee suggests that ‘always at a certain standard’  – an almost impossible to achieve guarantee, I would have thought.

And just who is going to provide this holiday and sickness cover? childminders? nurseries? back up agency staff in child’s own home (so like a nanny)? In all cases the child would not know the person concerned – and would parents be expected to pay an enhanced fee for this? Would childminders be able to set their own policy about sickness and holiday pay?

If you decide to use an agency how would you prefer to pay?

Possible answers; One off fee on joining / a monthly membership fee / pay as you go for services used / Pay for services as a proportion of fees charged for childcare / Don’t Know / I would not be prepared to pay

I think these possible responses are very telling – it appears that the Government do intend for parents to pay in one way or another – parents need to be made aware of this as it is not creating more affordable childcare – it is creating extra ways to generate income from parents and childminders.

And as someone who intends to remain a independent Ofsted registered childminder – I have to ask – how much will it cost me to remain independent and how will my parents feel if I have to pay an amount to Ofsted that is MORE than all these suggested fee to parents and childminders using a childminding agency, and therefore increase the fees that I charge them?

The Government MUST provide the details of costs and services – and models of childminding agencies as soon as possible. Childminders – and it seems parents as well need to know so they can make their own plans about the future.

Posted February 9, 2014 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

2 responses to “Further hints about Government intentions for childminding agencies

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  1. So sad and sorry ! Please let agency’s fail and Childminders remain independent and a good quality childcare service.What on earth is the government thinking off!

    Angeline Hargreaves
  2. It seems to me to be another case of the government providing opportunites for interested parties( ie large nursery groups) to make more money, while controlling even more of the market by ‘controlling’ childminders as well as nursery settings, and milking parents for even more money at the same time. While yet again children get the raw end of the deal under the ‘name’ of progress.

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