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Sector to lose DBS subsidy

The Department for Education has announced that it will be withdrawing its subsidy for criminal record checks (DBS checks) for the early years childcare sector from 1st July 2013.

The change will mean that individuals and providers will be required to pay the full cost of obtaining a DBS check in order to be registered with Ofsted and to be employed in a registered childcare setting. For registered childminders, this means that they will be responsible for the cost of checks for anyone else over the age of 16 who lives with them. Enhanced DBS checks remain a requirement of Ofsted registration.

Similarly, employers in other early years childcare settings such as day nurseries will have to pay for checks for their staff. However, one advantage of the new regulations for nursery workers is that the checks will be transferable, which means a childcare professional who moves to a new job can transfer their check, rather than their new employer having to make a fresh application.

PACEY's Joint Chief Executive, Catherine Farrell, commented to Nursery World that she felt these costs would be an additional burden on childcare professionals at a time when many are struggling to keep their costs down.

She said, "At a time when the Government is voicing its commitment to ensuring that frontline childcare providers are better supported and funded, the removal of the subsidy for enhanced criminal records checks will only serve to place extra cost burdens on providers.

"The timing of this announcement alongside the launch of the Government’s new start-up grants for registered childminders, which seeks to provide a contribution to the significant costs of establishing a nursery or childminding setting and support expansion of existing provision, demonstrates an alarming lack of joined up thinking across Government."