Inspections in Wales

Childminders, day care and play services in Wales are registered and inspected by the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). These inspections are currently unannounced for childminders. CIW will normally telephone the service the week before they intend to inspect, to check the childminder’s availability and their operating times.

Unless concerns are raised about a setting, CIW inspect full daycare services at least once in every two years; and other childcare services - childminders, sessional day care, open access play, crèches and out of school care - at least once in every three years.

CIW inspectors will spend time at the service:

  • speaking to children, parents and staff;
  • observing children and staff interaction with children;
  • looking at child records and other information to check they are regularly kept up to date such as: child protection polices, statement of purpose, first aid certificates, fire risk assessments and DBS certificates;
  • considering evidence about children’s development and well-being; and
  • discussing feedback with the relevant person/s

Inspections now have a greater focus on child development and well-being outcomes. When inspectors visit, they will consider four themes:

  • Wellbeing
  • Care and development
  • Leadership and management
  • Environment.

The full inspection framework is available on CIW's website.  Childcare settings in Wales providing funded education for 3 and 4-year-olds (Foundation Phase) and that have previously received inspections from both CIW and Estyn will in future have joint inspections from CIW and Estyn on the above themes and the additional themes of Learning and Teaching and Assessment.

Further information about these joint inspections (if relevant to your setting) is available at: Early Years and Childcare - ensuring quality and learning. The new joint inspection framework will streamline the way CIW and Estyn will inspect these services.

The CIW inspector will send their written report to the setting within 28 days. The setting then has 14 days to check the accuracy of the report, which may be amended if the inspector agrees there are factual errors. The final report will also be made available to parents.

Watch this space - introduction of ratings in Wales

It is CIW's plan to introduce ratings in the future, beginning with full day care and sessional day care services in 2018, and other services (including childminders) from 2019. We will be awarding a rating against each of the four inspection themes. There will be four ratings: Excellent, Good, Adequate and Poor.

CIW and PACEY Cymru want to ensure that you have time to prepare for the introduction of ratings. At your first inspection (after April 2016) inspectors will talk to you about the quality of your service and advise you of the rating they would consider for each of the four themes:

This initial rating of your service will be informal and this means inspectors will not record the rating in the inspection report.  However, the inspection report will be clear about the quality of the care CIW found and how this contributes to the well-being outcomes for children you look after or care for.

Future inspections will record ratings in the inspection report for your service.

CIW have published further information including the full inspection framework and a guide to inspection on their website.

For news of any changes and for up to date information relating to CIW, please sign up to the CIW Newsletter here CIW latest news.

Regular updates and information are also available through the PACEY Cymru Facebook page and member e-newsletters. PACEY Cymru will also be producing associated guidance around ratings over coming months.