Article about agencies - Nursery World mag
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  1. #1
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    Default Article about agencies - Nursery World mag

    I had a long chat with a journalist today who is writing an article for Nursery World magazine about childminder agencies.

    I made it very clear at the start that I am not in favour of agencies and neither are most of my colleagues.

    She asked me about the Lords debate where the motion to wait until the consultation was over before setting up agencies was rejected earlier this week. I said we felt that was a great pity and that we feel the Govt are trying to push agencies on us, regardless of what we say.

    Baroness Morgan of Ely made a very good case against agencies starting up including explaining that they weren't going to do our paperwork for us - and that's the bit cms want help with more than anything. She deserves a medal but sadly they didn't listen to her.

    We chatted about who (if we wanted them) should run agencies - the private sector or others. I said that if the private sector are nurseries then they are not, with respect, going to put childminder needs first as they are in direct competition with us.

    I said that, remembering we do not want agencies, the more palatable solution would have been to give LAs a clearer role - less paperwork burden and more help and support. However, they are not only introducing agencies before the consultation period is over - they are also taking away our LAs which is causing a lot of problems for childminders.

    Apparently agencies are saying that we need them to network with other providers - well we wouldn't have needed them if they had left our LAs in place and given them extra support to help us ... I made that clear as well.

    The final question - would childminders be prepared to pay £700 for a re-inspection (NOT inspection - that wasn’t mentioned - so don't panic!!) to try and raise their grade from unsatisfactory or requires improvement.

    I explained the history of the £700 and how it has been bandied around for some time as the apparent cost of inspecting a childminder. I tried to explain how much £700 is in real terms to a childminder who earns £3.50 / £4 an hour or less in some areas of the country.

    I said that many childminders believe if Ofsted inspections were fairer in the first place we wouldn’t need re-inspections.

    I said that I am part of the Ofsted Big Conversation group which will be meeting Ofsted soon to discuss inspections and is working towards a better inspection system for all early years providers including childminders.

    I hope I did you proud

  2. #2
    Simona Guest

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    Is Baroness Morgan the same as in Baroness Morgan OFSTED Chair?
    If so that is confusing...maybe there are 2?

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    I think she is both as Sally Morgan Ofsted chair is a life peer in the House of Lords

  4. #4
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smiley View Post
    I think she is both as Sally Morgan Ofsted chair is a life peer in the House of Lords
    Oh...so she is against agencies while Ofsted are busy pushing them?
    Clear as mud!

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  6. #6
    Simona Guest

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    This is the link to the article
    Attempts by peers to amend childcare bill fail | Nursery World

    Thank you for your contribution to the agency debate...I have only just had the time to come back on this and these are my personal views after much reflection.

    The article refers to 'pilots' but the agencies are actually 'trialling' their models and so far we have no idea what each of the 20 organisations will come up with in terms of a 'model'.
    Take or leave it ....any model will revolve around being a commercial body, making money to be sustainable and therefore needing to raise funds from fees...someone will have to keep the agencies viable and Cms will be charged for this.
    Charging parents would totally go against the idea that they would lower costs to them and make More Affordable Childcare null and void.

    A pilot in my view has a model to try but a trial is different
    None of the 20 have put anything concrete on a plate and presented CMs with an offer...in fact most are probably still relying on CMs' input to build something around what CMs would need from an agency.

    That makes me question why these organisations have actually taken the challenge to become an agency when they have nothing to offer us...I question their motive behind this?

    I also refer to my belief, from which I have not deviated from the start, agencies are taking 1st priority in any debate or campaign.

    I feel strongly this is not fair or just to those CMs who wish to remain independent and who are now taking 2nd place to an ideology...we are the 'unheard' majority

    We, the independent, have been very patient and we still have many unanswered questions as to our future...the main one remains the issue of our future 'registration fee'...IF, this is to be reviewed then I feel it would only be respectful and fair for us to now have an answer on this...we can then move on and plan our future.

    I do not deny that agencies are coming...the process has gone too far now...but the main aim is to keep Cms calm and avoid joining an agency until they are absolutely sure that is what they want and the offer is suitable to their business.

    Agencies can only be successful if they have a numbers of members for the trials to go ahead...so far there is no evidence of this and none are forthcoming to the numbers they have recruited as volunteers.

    There will be CMs who choose to join an agency and that is their prerogative.

    So while the main campaign appears to be 'against agencies' I think there is a need to concentrate on the huge numbers who do not wish to join.

    My message is 'keep off' agencies and I will continue with my efforts for this to be clearly understood and will take the message to those who can take this forward on our behalf!
    Last edited by Simona; 29-11-2013 at 10:32 PM.

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    Thanks Simone

    It would be really nice to hear back from anyone who is trying agencies . I worry we have scared them off. One person did post on fb but then went quiet before telling us anything.
    We have our briefing today but as we are not part of the trials - I'm sure we won't be told anything about it .
    'It's never too late to have a happy childhood' ( Tom Robinson)

  8. #8
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadavi View Post
    Thanks Simone

    It would be really nice to hear back from anyone who is trying agencies . I worry we have scared them off. One person did post on fb but then went quiet before telling us anything.
    We have our briefing today but as we are not part of the trials - I'm sure we won't be told anything about it .
    Yes that would really help but I doubt any CM who has volunteered will be coming out and sharing information...even though I have read a few say they would join 'just to find out' what is going on.

    I am also aware that a lot of the discussions about agencies take place on Facebook and therefore the information cannot be shared
    Many CMs on this forum are also on FB so I hope for some info sharing

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    I'm on the fb page too and nothing has been shared apart from one who said it sounded good and she wanted to try it.
    All I can think of us they may be offering some cheap or free enticing training.
    There was a scary line in the nursery article about agencies affecting market forces re what we can ask in fees. It will be awfully unfair if they try to standardise as people in places like London will really lose out.
    'It's never too late to have a happy childhood' ( Tom Robinson)

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    It was the line about the pilot agencies will give info about

    'their effects on local markets'

    This is what it is all about.
    Agencies are trying to drive down our prices by creating a standardised fee,
    'It's never too late to have a happy childhood' ( Tom Robinson)

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    They have pledged to lower the cost of child care.
    'It's never too late to have a happy childhood' ( Tom Robinson)

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    I have had a few private messages from people frightened to say anything in public about their local agencies.

    They talk of the agencies implanting fear into cms - we won't support you - you'll be on your own - Ofsted will cost you more than we will - nobody will help you - you won't get any training - Ofsted will grade you harshly if you are not in an agency etc etc...

    Childminders are joining out of fear ... which isn't a good way to start a business relationship

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    We are always being told we should be transparent in our services to parents - especially where fees etc are concerned - how come this does not apply when the Government is happily messing about with our future!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadavi View Post
    They have pledged to lower the cost of child care.
    Does this mean they will make nurseries cheaper? ..... I think not. Because in the govts eyes they are seen as proper grown up businesses and not silly women who babysit

    Wibble the cross x
    The bats have left the bell tower.....

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    They are trying to drive down the price by agencies setting the amount and independent Cms seeming greedy for asking more.
    That's how it'll work
    'It's never too late to have a happy childhood' ( Tom Robinson)

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    What else can 'getting info about (agencies) effect on market forces mean? (See article printed above in this thread)
    'It's never too late to have a happy childhood' ( Tom Robinson)

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    We had our childminders briefing and like I expected - nothing whatsoever known about agencies.
    I suspect our local dev team will be the agency - this contains the lady from hell who tried to carry out the most ridiculous detailed RAG Imaginable!
    She came five times for three hours each and still wasnt half way thru when she stopped (she stopped because RAG was abolished.....)

    That reason more than ever makes me determined to stay independent!!

    Sarah's reports make me very angry and sad - how dare they resort to bully boy tactics.
    Hopefully we'll have the weight of sheer numbers on our side come September....
    'It's never too late to have a happy childhood' ( Tom Robinson)

  18. #18
    Simona Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadavi View Post
    They have pledged to lower the cost of child care.
    Truss has promised 'More Affordable Childcare' but that means it may be more affordable for parents ...I can't see how?...but not cheaper for CMs to deliver when we may have additional charges to belong to an agency

    At the moment we have nothing to go on because the agencies cannot tell CMs who volunteer for agencies what they will charge until Ofsted sets their inspection fee.
    The potential agencies are 'trialling' because they have no model or structure as yet and fromwhat we know few volunteers....a trial is different from a pilot as Denise burke said in her Home childcarer article

    We need to keep checking the foundation years website for feedback

    I would hope those CMs who are being threatened will find the courage to report this to their representing associations if they belong to one....that can be done in confidence
    There will be support for independent CMs from many sources, training will be available ...at a cost maybe...but we are being charged by some LAs already so what is the rush to go into the unknown??

    We also need to wait until Ofsted explain why they are splitting CMs from the rest of the workforce...Cms must stand firm and be patient...this is not helping anyone.

 

 

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