Government – How about saving time and money by not sending out ‘standard letters’ – and YES I am talking about childminding agencies   1 comment

This Government wastes a lot of money sending out standard letters and emails – that say NOTHING other that the ‘party line’, they certainly don’t answer the very valid questions put to them by those that take the time to write about their concerns.

First we had the ‘standard reply to all the letters about the More Great Childcare document, then the one about More Affordable Childcare  – the really annoying thing was that even if the person expressing their concerns quoted from the Government documents – they were still given the link to the documents – so that they could read them!

Proof, I think that no one actually reads the letters or bothers to answer the questions

A complete waste of Government time and budgets – so a complete waste of tax payers money – yours and mine

Then we had the letter that Truss is sending to all registered childminders in the post – again this does not give any new information or answer the questions that so many are asking.

So another waste of money

And now registered childminders are getting another standard response email / letter  – which just keeps giving the same information – and so another waste of time and money

This is the new standard email /  letter going out (always a couple of lines different but more or less the same content)

Thank you for your email of (date inserted), addressed to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare, about childminder agencies. I hope you appreciate that the minister receives a large amount of correspondence and is unable to reply to each one personally.
It is for this reason I have been asked to reply.

I was pleased to read about the success of your childminding business,and I am sure that you must be justifiably proud of the positive feedback you have received from parents who you work in partnership with.

The government greatly values the contribution made by childminders in providing flexible, high quality and affordable home-based childcare. However, the number of childminders has declined in the last 20 years. In some areas there is a shortage of childminders and not all childminders are able to access support to help them deliver high quality care for children. 

The recent government reforms are designed to make it easier to work as a childminder and support the childminding profession. These reforms include making it easier for childminders to access government funding and creating the option of childminder agencies.
Agencies will be ‘one-stop-shop’ organisations that will help childminders with training and development to help them to further raise the quality of their provision, administrative and business support, advice and finding parents. They will also provide a valuable service for parents who want to find a high quality childminder.

By enabling the creation of new childminder agencies, the government hopes to attract new childminders to the profession who want support to work as a childminder. 

The department knows that many parents struggle to find the right local childminder, so agencies can help by providing a matching service for parents. They can maintain lists of local childminders, the services and hours they provide and offer assurance that the childminder is high quality and subject to a robust quality assurance regime. Agencies will also be able to provide holiday and sickness cover, ensuring parents have reliable childcare.

I would like to re-assure you that nobody will be forced to join an agency. Agencies need to work for childminders and offer a sustainable deal and excellent package of support. Many childminders are content with the way they are working. The government is offering two different ways of working, those who remain independent will not be seen as ‘second class’ or forced in some way to join an agency.

I note that you are concerned about inspections. Under the existing Ofsted inspection framework, a childminder might only receive a visit once every three or four years. Agencies will have much more contact with childminders, including regular home visits and additional contact time on top of that. They will have a real focus on quality and support. They will also have the economies of scale to provide much more active training, inspection and quality improvement services. Agencies will have to meet all the same safety and quality standards as any other type of childcare provision.

Agencies will also be inspected by Ofsted who will also visit a number of the childminders registered with the agency as part of that
inspection. We are working with our trialists on this issue to ensure that all agencies develop a robust, rigorous system to reassure parents.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write to the department. I hope that my response has gone some way to alleviate your concerns.

As you can see from above – lots of will  – but not how. Lots of admirable aims but no details about how this will achieved. No mention of how these cost savings will be achieved, or how the quality of agency staff will be achieved / maintained.

No mention about costs either to be a agency childminder or to stay independent.

In fact no actual information – but more of a wish list of hopes.

Well that is NOT GOOD ENOUGH

So Government – Why don’t you stop sending these useless communications – and spend some time answering the questions and concerns that so many are writing to you about.

And maybe you could consider consulting fully and not using  so call consultations that have closed questions / limited possible responses. And maybe when consultations do highlight that people do not agree with Government proposals that you actually take on board those opinions and consult further – rather than deciding you know best and ignoring the views expressed.

One response to “Government – How about saving time and money by not sending out ‘standard letters’ – and YES I am talking about childminding agencies

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  1. ‘economies of scale’? so agencies are intended to be larger scale than counties then?

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