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Government issue their own response to agencies consultation

The Government has responded this afternoon to their consultation about childminder agency regulation. The consultation covered some of the regulations governing agencies, such as agencies' CPD, support and visitation requirements, as well as proposed changes to early years education funding to take agencies into account. However, the full details will not be available until "departmental advice" on agencies is released at a currently unspecified future date.

Follow these links to the Government's response and PACEY's response to the consultation, which was released in May.

Commenting on this news, PACEY's Chief Executive Liz Bayram said:

“PACEY is disappointed that the Government has not made the changes recommended by us and other respondents to the consultation that would strengthen the regulatory framework for agencies.

“We believe that the definitions of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and the time allocated for CPD and other support are still inappropriate, leaving it open for agencies to meet these definitions with low standards, and omit important aspects of childminding such as safeguarding and risk assessments. Despite our recommendations, there is still a lack of qualification requirements for those agency staff who will be working with childminders.

“We are also disappointed that the Government has ignored more than half of the respondents to this consultation who said that one agency visit to a childminder per year isn’t enough. More contact is needed to maintain high quality childcare.

“The assurances from DfE that Ofsted’s registration and inspection criteria will be enough to ensure quality mean little when you consider agencies will not be providing direct services to parents, and that childminders who register with an agency will no longer have an Ofsted registration.

“Although the decision to require agencies to share agency-registered childminder inspection grades with local authorities is welcome, the fact agencies won’t be required to share those grades publicly risks parents being unable to easily access information about childminder quality, thus further confusing the system. 

PACEY will be scrutinising agencies from September to ensure that quality and safeguarding are not compromised for children.”