Inspections in Wales

Childminders, day care and play services in Wales are registered and inspected by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW). These inspections are currently unannounced although for child minders and open access play, CSSIW will normally telephone the service the week before they intend to inspect, to check the child minder’s availability and the operating times.

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

What is different?

CSSIW have changed the way they inspect from April 2016 .  In future inspections  CSSIW inspectors will spend more 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, fire risk assessments and DBS certificates;
  • considering evidence about children’s development and well-being; and
  • discussing feedback with the relevant person/s

Inspections have moved to 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 CSSIW'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 CSSIW and Estyn will in future have joint inspections from CSSIW 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 CSSIW and Estyn will inspect these services.

The CSSIW 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 CSSIW'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.

CSSIW 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 CSSIW 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.

CSSIW 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 CSSIW, please sign up to the CSSIW Newsletter here CSSIW 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.