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Agency pilots evaluation

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.