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Childminder agency consultation

Childcare Minister Liz Truss MP today wrote to PACEY and other childcare organisations to say that the government's consultation on childminding agencies was published this morning.

PACEY will be responding to this consultation in full. Liz Bayram, PACEY Chief Executive, comments,

"This latest government consultation does little to settle PACEY’s anxieties that childminder agencies will not help to raise quality of care for children or deliver the promised cost savings for families. Although it is encouraging to see that the fee levels for individual childminders to register with Ofsted will be frozen at £35, we are concerned that this is only guaranteed for one year.

"It is vital that the inspection and regulation of agencies is robust enough to offer parents adequate reassurance around the quality of care delivered by the childminders on its books. PACEY finds it particularly concerning that, after the initial year, the number of inspections an agency conducts with its childminders could be reduced to one per year. This will not be enough to convince parents of quality care and threatens the level of professional contact and support for agency-registered childminders.

We are also concerned that the consultation does not address how childminder agencies will meet safeguarding requirements for those living with childminders, not only the childminder themselves. This exists for independent childminders and we know it's an important factor in parents choosing their childcare.

We need to see more details of how Ofsted plans to ensure adequate support and professional development for agency-registered childminders. The Government also needs to provide a clear outline of how it plans to support childminders who choose not to join an agency, to ensure they have the opportunity to continuously improve and offer high quality care to children and families."

View the consultation documents here.