New Information Sharing Document   6 comments

Please share   – Information  below without logos

Or if you want the logos (which are in colour) Click here      Agency Information Doc – Feb 14

Together For Quality


Childminding Agency Information Document

Registered Childminding is under threat from the Government, and from September 2014, HUGE changes are going to be implemented that will impact on childminders, parents, children – and other early years settings.

News about these changes are slowly starting to reach people, including childminders, because despite the fact that a campaign against the changes has been going on for almost two years, it has been difficult to raise awareness as the Government have not issued any details about these changes, to Local Authorities, the media or to campaigners.

So first some background;

In May 2012, before she was even the Early Years Minister, Elizabeth Truss published a paper called ‘Affordable Quality’ in which she stated her view that childminding agencies based on the ‘Dutch Model’ would increase the quality of childminders, reduce childcare costs, and encourage more people to become childminders.

It was in May 2012, that the campaign against Truss’s ideas was started

In September 2012 she become the Under Secretary of State for Education, and in January 2013 she announced her flagship policy ‘More Great Childcare’

In this document were the outline details for increased ratio’s in early years settings (including Childminders) reduced role for the Local Authorities, new qualifications, and Childminding Agencies.

On the publication of ‘More Great Childcare’ the campaign stepped up a gear – but focussed on the ratio issue more than the other issues.

In June 2013, it appeared that campaigners had been successful, as Truss announced that ‘Due to lack of cross party support, they would not be continuing with plans to increase ratios.

The campaign against Childminding Agencies then took off, with all the organisations that represent childminders and childminders themselves objecting to the proposals to introduce Childminding Agencies for the following reasons;

  • Loss of individual Ofsted Inspection for those who joined Childminding Agencies
  • Introduction of a ‘middle man’ who would need to make a profit and would either drive up costs to parents or reduce income to childminders
  • Creation of a two tier registration and inspection system.
  • Quality Assurance concerns

Also of concern was the lack of information about how childminding agencies would work in practice- including costs; and the implications, including costs for those who did not want to join a childminding agency.

Despite asking questions about these concerns continuously over the last 8 months – via letters to the Ms.Truss, to MP’s, to the Prime Minister, to members of the House of Lords; Despite many meetings, blogs, articles and letters from organisations and individuals; there is still very little information from the Government.

However we are slowly picking up information (but not having it officially confirmed) from consultation responses and the evaluations of the pilots – which have only increased concerns.

It appears that the Government are thinking of;

  • Charging childminders between £600 and £1,200 per year to be in a childminding agency
  • Charging childminders for ‘extra services’ provided by the agency
  • Charging parents to access and maybe use the services of an agency childminder
  • Allowing childminders to operate from school premises to provide care for 5 – 7 year olds – with 30 children per adult
  • Allowing anyone to care for other people’s children for up to 3 hours per day (provided they are ‘friends’), but retaining the 2 hour rule for childminding assistants
  • Not allowing independent childminders to register with an agency to access some of the services offered.
  • Agencies being graded on ‘robust systems’ and only a small % of agency childminders being ‘sample inspected by Ofsted’
  • Not providing set criteria for agencies and allowing them to set their ‘own’ model
  • Matching parents to childminders
  • Allowing some childminders in agencies to be self employed, and some to be employed, but showing very little understanding about the difference in these.
  • Drastically cutting budgets to Local Authorities – and therefore the availability of training and support to those childminders who wish to remain independent.
  • Not setting any requirements for the level of training and knowledge of those who will be running childminding agencies or those employed to assess, monitor, train and support agency childminders

With time running out – childminding agencies are to be implemented from September 2014, it is vital that we make sure as many people as possible have the information to make an informed decision about if they want childminding agencies or not – and if they don’t that they need to follow the advice on these images from concerned childminder

Useful Information

Penny Webb

Elizabeth Truss MP       @trussliz  (twitter)

Lucy Powell                        @LucyMPowell (twitter)

You can find your own MP’s details:

Together for Quality Facebook Group

All these organisations are against childminding agencies

Pre- school Learning Alliance






Posted February 15, 2014 by psw260259 in My thoughts on current childcare issues

6 responses to “New Information Sharing Document

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  1. I think you have provided us with more information and support regarding this than the government.
    Thank you for another good blog and for everything you do behind the scenes, I for one know how much time and effort goes into things like this.
    Wouldn’t it be great if 40 000 – 50 000 of the childminders would send letters to Truss and their mps? Specially with all the sample letters floating around. If we make a load enough voice we might just be heard.

  2. Dear Penny,

    I’ve recently begun following you. I am English have lived in America for 41 years.

    Child minding in the UK is in a terrible state. Surely this will force/encourage many people to go underground? What the boffins at the top fail to understand is we are talking about appropriate care for living breathing little ones who will later go into the school system less well prepared than before these regs!

    From my experience care over here is not as closely regulated even when a facility appears to be legal. I have been finger printed and background checked and worked in a Montessori daycare that failed on so many of the points that I look upon as healthy for child development – but followed all the legal requirements on paper.

    Leadership knows nothing about child development or continuity of care.

    I feel for you and hope everyone bands together to make changes. Could the Save Childhood group possibly help you? Lots of professionals making noise there – time to band together ‘for the sake of the children’?

    All the best, Helen

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Thank you for your comments Helen – and yes the Save Childhood Movement are supporting us – in fact I sit on a couple of the advisory boards – the Early Education one and the childminding one. There will be a childminding section on the website – but at the moment, I just don’t have time to input the text.

      It does seem that the information is started to reach people – so hope – as you say – they do all band together

  3. Hi Penny
    Thank you for all your efforts as I know you work hard for all us Childminders, many don’t know how much you keep doing in the back ground for us but please be assured it is appreciated. I for one do not want to go down the agency road and think they will loose a lot of excellent childminders, perhaps government bodies should go out and spend some considerable time with childminders around the country NOT just London and see what they think then.

  4. I think things should be left as they are my 2 children go to a Childminder everyday and are happily settled

    I would not move them as it has took them some time to settle in

    Please leave things the way they are instead of disturbing children take there interests into account

  5. Well done for explaining everything so clearly Penny. Please everyone share by Facebook/Twitter and leave your comments on here. There has always been a swell of opposition against this preposterous idea, however Childminders have now had enough and are prepared to speak out loud and clear. Please help us to get a U Turn on the implementation of Agencies.

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