After the third reading of the Children & Families Bill in the House of Commons, it has become apparent that, despite concerns from the childcare sector and parents, the Government intends to press ahead with plans to pilot childminder agencies. Childcare minister Elizabeth Truss has said that she has been approached by 60 organisations who are interested in participating in the pilot scheme, which can include private companies, community interest groups, charities, individuals and local authorities.
The Government has suggested that local authorities would be well placed to develop the agency model. We know from our work with them that many are very much opposed to this, but in order to ensure that all local authorities are aware of the risks PACEY has produced a local authority briefing which has been distributed to Early Years decision makers and elected members in each Local Authority in England, outlining why we believe childminder agencies are not viable.
We have also produced a briefing for childminders which outlines our concerns about the agency model, and advises them of their options.
PACEY would like to encourage all its members to read the briefings, and to ensure that their local authority is aware of PACEY's concerns about local authorities acting as childminder agencies. We are also asking members to let us know if their local authority has told them they are planning to participate in the pilot scheme, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org