PACEY Cymru would like to thank all those who responded to requests for completion of the Business Assessment Questionnaire which supports our work in Wales as Cwlwm. PACEY Cymru had responses from 325 childminders and one nursery worker. Of the 325 responses 86% were members of PACEY.
As part of this work we would like to share the top level findings of this piece of work with you in relation to childminders, based on the 325 responses received. The findings related to all childcare and early years providers will be available soon as part of a wider piece of Cwlwm research and will be used to shape Cwlwm work over the next year. We will be taking the findings forward with Welsh Government over the coming weeks and months and will provide further updates as work takes shape. Welsh Government are planning some events to support sustainability in the autumn and so the responses from this questionnaire will shape the content of these.
What is working well in childminding settings?
Childminders in Wales have clear knowledge and understanding on the following subjects with settings meeting the requirements to;
- review policies and procedures regularly.
- comply with HMRC requirements
- have relevant insurance
- have a daily record of attendance
- have up to date DBS checks
- share information with parents/carers
Some best practice quotes/suggestions provided in line with reviewing policies and procedures included;
‘Policies should be changed as and when any changes are made either through government updates or CSSIW or PACEY implement amendments’
‘I do these at the same time as my Quality of Care Report’
‘I do this every September and go through with parents offering them the chance to change anything. I also review contracts at this time’
Some best practice quotes/suggestions provided in line with sharing information with parents included;
There was a variety of methods used by respondents including verbal feedback, scheduled meetings/discussions, text messaging, daily diaries, photographs, newsletters, emails, Facebook, ‘What’s App’, text and phone.
‘[I share information] on my Facebook business page (without photos of children or naming children). [Verbally] on drop-off & pick-up and in a daily diary for under 3s’
‘I[ share information] through a verbal handover, using lots of photographs and visual information about what's been happening’
What areas could be developed for childminding settings?
1. Food Safety
- Requirements around registering with the Food Standards Agency
- Requirements in relation to Food Allergens that came in in December 2014
The majority were aware of the requirements in this area (82%) however there were a number of responses where those responding were not clear on what was required.
Best practice noted under this section included;
‘I have received training on Allergens and their impact on individuals. I have written a policy and spoken to parents regarding the changes’
There is more information available to members on this subject in MyPACEY. PACEY Cymru also runs webinars to support you on subjects related to this issue.
2. Information Commissioner Office (ICO)
- Requirements for registering with the ICO
Again many were aware of requirements to register with the Information Commissioner Office, however many were not fully aware of the need to register with the ICO if you are processing personal information electronically for the provision of childcare. This includes taking photographs of the children in your care using a digital camera. There is more information available to members about registering with the ICO in MyPACEY.
PACEY also provides online training on Data Protection and PACEY Cymru provides a webinar on the ‘Use of Social Media in Childcare Settings’ which may be of interest to you in this area.
3. Issues relating to sustainability of childminding services
- Management of outstanding fees
- Confidence in business sustainability over the next year
- Ensuring a business surplus (income greater than outgoings)
- Having sufficient income to run for at least 3 months.
- Marketing the childcare service
The responses showed that18% of those who responded stated they had outstanding fees within their settings and 16% were not confident that their service was sustainable over the coming year. 22% stated they were not making a profit in their childcare service with 16% stating they did not have sufficient income to run for at least three months. 43% stated they did not actively market their childcare service, relying on word of mouth.
In line with marketing 32% stated they had a professional email address for their service, 32% a professional Facebook account,19% a website and 3% a professional Twitter account.
IT access was a barrier for 20% of those who responded however the 80% who stated they were competent in the use of a computer also had access to one in their setting. This could be a significant issue going forward for those lacking in IT skills as CSSIW move to more electronic based systems away from paper copies of documents and forms.
PACEY Cymru will be taking these issues forward with Welsh Government over the coming weeks. Issues relating to sustainability are high on the agenda for us as an organisation and we will provide further updates to members through the e-newsletters and on the website.
As a PACEY member you have access to a range of resources to support you in managing your service including a factsheet on managing debt from unpaid fees. Members can also get support through the legal advice line.
You can also use the Childcare Place Cost Calculator for childminders, and this will help you determine the actual cost of providing a childcare place for one hour which will support you in having a clear understanding of the costs of running a childcare service.