The Government have today published their
evaluation of the childminder agency pilots, looking at various
aspects of agency practice. Twenty organisations volunteered to
take part in the pilots in 2013, but a recent
investigation by Nursery World magazine found that more than
half of the organisations were not going ahead with the model.
Commenting on the report, PACEY’s Head of
Communications Victoria Flint said:
‘This evaluation raises further questions
around the sustainability of the childminder agency model. We find
it disconcerting that it does not provide firm conclusions on the
basis of the childminder agency trials that took place, which
questions the purpose and value of this initial phase.
‘One of the key points of attraction for
childminder agencies mentioned in the evaluation are the
opportunities for career progression and development support. We
would want to reassure childminders that this is already available
through a PACEY membership and that they should not feel it
necessary to join an agency on this point alone.
‘Although the evaluation states that CMAs
will have to demonstrate how their inspection gradings differ from
Ofsted inspection, we have concerns as to how this will be ensured
in practice. Transparency on this issue will be crucial to help
parents understand how an agency-registered childminder’s quality
of care has been assessed.”
Along with this report, the Government and
Ofsted have also published their guides for
prospective childminder agencies. PACEY is concerned that these
guides and the findings from the pilot evaluation still have not
met our concerns about the agency model, and we will be outlining
the full facts about agencies for our members soon.