PACEY: latest briefing on agencies (26 June)...please read
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  1. #1
    Simona Guest

    Default PACEY: latest briefing on agencies (26 June)...please read

    Pacey have released this latest briefing on agencies today on pacey Local
    Look out for the reference to the 60 'piloting agencies' and pacey understanding that the registration fee may go up...

    CHILDMINDER AGENCIES

    PACEY childminder members in England have made clear that their individual registration and
    inspection with Ofsted remains the best way to demonstrate to parents and others that their
    children will be in a safe and quality childcare setting.
    The current Government’s plan to introduce childminder agencies as an alternative method of
    registering childminders has raised a number of concerns. Agencies will be piloted by different
    organisations (local authorities, children centres, nurseries and other private businesses) over
    the coming months, prior to becoming available as an option for childminders from September
    2014.
    This briefing sets out what PACEY believes are the limitations of the agency approach and what
    they may mean for children, parents as well as you and your childminding business.

    What is a childminding agency?

    The Government is proposing that individual childminders have the option to join an Ofstedregistered
    agency and pay a fee for the agency’s services. These services could include matching
    parents with childminders; initial training (e.g. first aid, safeguarding etc); continuous
    professional development opportunities; quality assurance; and/or support with paperwork
    and finances (e.g. tax credits, free entitlement funding). The Government has stated the drivers
    for this change in childminding regulation and inspection are firstly to increase the number of
    people choosing childminding as a career. This in turn will increase the supply of childminding
    and, in theory, then reducing the cost to parents. Secondly to help drive up the quality of
    childcare with a particular focus on agencies providing support to people entering the
    childminding profession and those who have achieved a satisfactory grade. As both may be in
    need of additional support. This is likely to impact on the type of support an agency provides to
    childminders on its register.
    Government has stressed that agencies will have a large degree of autonomy and be market
    driven. This means there will be a variety of different ways an agency may operate with much
    depending on how much childminders and – if they provide a matching service – parents are
    willing to pay. Every agency will need to be self‐financing and responsible for ensuring that
    childminders who register with it meet required quality standards. PACEY assumes this will be
    the EYFS but at present that is unclear.
    The agency itself would be registered and inspected by Ofsted. It would be required to
    demonstrate it was delivering a range of quality improvement activities and would receive a
    grade for its services. The agency inspection would include a spot check of some childminders
    registered with the agency but they would not receive an individual grade, only the agency
    would be graded. This model is adapted from a similar approach in the Netherlands.
    What do childminder agencies mean for me?

    Increased costs

    Childminder agencies will need to be self‐financing businesses. This means that they will have
    to charge childminders and/or parents who use their services a fee for doing so. PACEY believes
    that agencies will only be able to deliver the level of quality improvement support childminders
    need if they charge significant fees from childminders and/or parents. It is not yet clear what
    this cost is likely to be and PACEY will be monitoring this as Government plans to pilot 60
    agencies begin in the next few months. However, PACEY is clear that it is likely to cost more
    than the current Ofsted registration fee of only £35 per year for individual childminders.

    Loss of autonomy

    PACEY members have made clear that, as a small business, childminding allows you to decide
    your own business terms – how much you charge, the hours that you work, how much you
    invest in your training, equipment etc. At present it is unclear what impact joining an agency
    will have on this. Will the agency require you to take on parents it matches with you? Will it
    require you to work a minimum number of hours a week? How will joining an agency affect
    your self employed status in terms of tax and other liabilities?

    Loss of support elsewhere

    Whilst childminders will not be required to join an agency, there is concern that at the same
    time as this proposal is going ahead, local authority support for childminders is diminishing.
    The agency model may well be seen as a replacement for the freely accessible support many
    local authorities offer and which, given spending cuts, many are having to reduce. Whilst it is
    clear that in difficult economic circumstances, tough choices have to be made, PACEY is
    concerned that agencies may provide a convenient alternative for local authorities looking to
    ends their childminding support. This could mean that many childminders may end up with no
    mechanism for support to train and develop other than to join an agency. This is why we are
    improving how our members’ access to free training, advice and information from us as well as
    support from peers, via PACEY Local. So that childminder still have a choice.

    Loss of inspection grading

    Many childminders have raised concern that joining an agency will mean they taking on the
    grade of the agency rather than retaining their own personal Ofsted grading. Good news if the
    agency is outstanding, less good if it is graded lower than your individual grade.
    What do agencies mean for parents?
    PACEY knows that parents value a childminder’s individual registration and inspection with
    Ofsted and are concerned that, without this, they will not be as reassured about the quality and
    safety of childcare provided. In a survey with *****, the majority of parents stated that:

    Ofsted registration and inspection of individual childminders provides them with
    confidence that a childminder is suitable to care for their child (80%)
    They would be less likely to use a childminder if they were regulated by an agency rather
    than Ofsted (75%)
    PACEY is concerned that the level playing field that childminders have enjoyed since the EYFS
    was introduced is being dismantled and that agencies will result in a two tiered system of
    regulation, leaving many parents confused. At present a childminder can show parents they
    work to the same standards as a nursery or pre‐school and are inspected in the same way. This
    will no longer be the case for agency childminders. Even for those childminders who remain
    individually registered with Ofsted, there is a risk their professionalism will be undermined.
    Government proposals include plans to encourage agencies to match parents with a
    childminder and ensure emergency back‐up care if that childminder is ill. This fails to recognise
    how engaged parents are in making careful decisions around the childcare they choose for their
    child (and how much this is a two‐way process with childminders considering the impact a new
    child may have on those already in their setting). Parents want to ensure not only that the
    childminder is safe and of high quality but also that their child likes the setting, the childminder
    and the other children s/he cares for. There is therefore the concern that a move to this model
    will mean a move away from a strong personal relationship between childminders, children and
    parents to something more commercial and impersonal.

    Your business sustainability

    Ultimately PACEY is concerned that agencies will lead to a two‐tiered system for childminding
    and one that risks eroding the parental confidence that being part of the shared EYFS
    framework with nurseries and pre‐schools has provided. Ultimately childminding’s hard won
    professionalism and the confidence it currently enjoys from parents and other professionals will
    be eroded. Over time, this will impact of childminding’s future sustainability. You can find out
    more by reading our IPPR report What Future For Childminders?, published in late June.
    In summary the current system of individual regulation and inspection is much valued by
    parents and childminders alike because it:
    Puts all the necessary processes in place to safeguard children and ensure they receive a
    quality care and learning experience.
    Ensures parents understand that childminders provide the same standards of care and
    learning as nurseries and pre‐schools.
     Is not costly or onerous to individual childminders.
     Has been proven to raise the quality of childminding.
    The agency approach will only serve to dilute this without any evidence it will successfully
    increase the number of childminders working in England nor reduce cost to parents. In the
    Netherland when this model was introduced, the quality of childminding decreased rather than
    increased and there is some evidence from childminders PACEY has surveyed that childcare
    costs would increase if they joined an agency.

    Conclusion

    Parents and childminders have voiced a number of concerns about the impact the option of
    joining an agency will have on the quality and safety of childcare provided. If you are thinking of
    joining an agency in your area, you may want to consider the following questions before you
    make the decision:
     How much will agency membership cost and will the support on offer deliver what my
    setting needs
     What will joining an agency mean to the families already using my service. What about
    new families looking for childcare?
     How much of my business paperwork is likely to be taken on by the agency and how
    much would I retain, as it is part of my self‐reflection and preparing for children in my
    setting
     What will the agency require of me in return for accessing the support it offers?
    Having considered all the pros and cons, you will be in a better place to decide if join an agency
    will be worth the additional investment to support your business.

    PACEY will continue to provide support, advice, information and training to its
    childminder members and you can find out more at www.**************.
    Last edited by Simona; 26-06-2013 at 12:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    I am not sure if Pacey have been listening to their members - but many, many childminders to whom I speak are telling me that the one thing that will make them join an agency is if Ofsted continues to unfairly inspect them. Yes, they value their individual grades - but not if Ofsted come to inspect and follow some hidden agenda to downgrade them in an attempt to force them to join agencies.

    I think the rest is very good and a fair representation of what childminders are saying at the moment

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simona View Post
    Pacey have released this latest briefing on agencies today on pacey Local
    Look out for the reference to the 60 'piloting agencies' and pacey understanding that the registration fee may go up...

    CHILDMINDER AGENCIES

    PACEY childminder members in England have made clear that their individual registration and
    inspection with Ofsted remains the best way to demonstrate to parents and others that their
    children will be in a safe and quality childcare setting.
    The current Government’s plan to introduce childminder agencies as an alternative method of
    registering childminders has raised a number of concerns. Agencies will be piloted by different
    organisations (local authorities, children centres, nurseries and other private businesses) over
    the coming months, prior to becoming available as an option for childminders from September
    2014.
    This briefing sets out what PACEY believes are the limitations of the agency approach and what
    they may mean for children, parents as well as you and your childminding business.

    What is a childminding agency?

    The Government is proposing that individual childminders have the option to join an Ofstedregistered
    agency and pay a fee for the agency’s services. These services could include matching
    parents with childminders; initial training (e.g. first aid, safeguarding etc); continuous
    professional development opportunities; quality assurance; and/or support with paperwork
    and finances (e.g. tax credits, free entitlement funding). The Government has stated the drivers
    for this change in childminding regulation and inspection are firstly to increase the number of
    people choosing childminding as a career. This in turn will increase the supply of childminding
    and, in theory, then reducing the cost to parents. Secondly to help drive up the quality of
    childcare with a particular focus on agencies providing support to people entering the
    childminding profession and those who have achieved a satisfactory grade. As both may be in
    need of additional support. This is likely to impact on the type of support an agency provides to
    childminders on its register.
    Government has stressed that agencies will have a large degree of autonomy and be market
    driven. This means there will be a variety of different ways an agency may operate with much
    depending on how much childminders and – if they provide a matching service – parents are
    willing to pay. Every agency will need to be self‐financing and responsible for ensuring that
    childminders who register with it meet required quality standards. PACEY assumes this will be
    the EYFS but at present that is unclear.
    The agency itself would be registered and inspected by Ofsted. It would be required to
    demonstrate it was delivering a range of quality improvement activities and would receive a
    grade for its services. The agency inspection would include a spot check of some childminders
    registered with the agency but they would not receive an individual grade, only the agency
    would be graded. This model is adapted from a similar approach in the Netherlands.
    What do childminder agencies mean for me?

    Increased costs

    Childminder agencies will need to be self‐financing businesses. This means that they will have
    to charge childminders and/or parents who use their services a fee for doing so. PACEY believes
    that agencies will only be able to deliver the level of quality improvement support childminders
    need if they charge significant fees from childminders and/or parents. It is not yet clear what
    this cost is likely to be and PACEY will be monitoring this as Government plans to pilot 60
    agencies begin in the next few months. However, PACEY is clear that it is likely to cost more
    than the current Ofsted registration fee of only £35 per year for individual childminders.

    Loss of autonomy

    PACEY members have made clear that, as a small business, childminding allows you to decide
    your own business terms – how much you charge, the hours that you work, how much you
    invest in your training, equipment etc. At present it is unclear what impact joining an agency
    will have on this. Will the agency require you to take on parents it matches with you? Will it
    require you to work a minimum number of hours a week? How will joining an agency affect
    your self employed status in terms of tax and other liabilities?

    Loss of support elsewhere

    Whilst childminders will not be required to join an agency, there is concern that at the same
    time as this proposal is going ahead, local authority support for childminders is diminishing.
    The agency model may well be seen as a replacement for the freely accessible support many
    local authorities offer and which, given spending cuts, many are having to reduce. Whilst it is
    clear that in difficult economic circumstances, tough choices have to be made, PACEY is
    concerned that agencies may provide a convenient alternative for local authorities looking to
    ends their childminding support. This could mean that many childminders may end up with no
    mechanism for support to train and develop other than to join an agency. This is why we are
    improving how our members’ access to free training, advice and information from us as well as
    support from peers, via PACEY Local. So that childminder still have a choice.

    Loss of inspection grading

    Many childminders have raised concern that joining an agency will mean they taking on the
    grade of the agency rather than retaining their own personal Ofsted grading. Good news if the
    agency is outstanding, less good if it is graded lower than your individual grade.
    What do agencies mean for parents?
    PACEY knows that parents value a childminder’s individual registration and inspection with
    Ofsted and are concerned that, without this, they will not be as reassured about the quality and
    safety of childcare provided. In a survey with *****, the majority of parents stated that:

    Ofsted registration and inspection of individual childminders provides them with
    confidence that a childminder is suitable to care for their child (80%)
    They would be less likely to use a childminder if they were regulated by an agency rather
    than Ofsted (75%)
    PACEY is concerned that the level playing field that childminders have enjoyed since the EYFS
    was introduced is being dismantled and that agencies will result in a two tiered system of
    regulation, leaving many parents confused. At present a childminder can show parents they
    work to the same standards as a nursery or pre‐school and are inspected in the same way. This
    will no longer be the case for agency childminders. Even for those childminders who remain
    individually registered with Ofsted, there is a risk their professionalism will be undermined.
    Government proposals include plans to encourage agencies to match parents with a
    childminder and ensure emergency back‐up care if that childminder is ill. This fails to recognise
    how engaged parents are in making careful decisions around the childcare they choose for their
    child (and how much this is a two‐way process with childminders considering the impact a new
    child may have on those already in their setting). Parents want to ensure not only that the
    childminder is safe and of high quality but also that their child likes the setting, the childminder
    and the other children s/he cares for. There is therefore the concern that a move to this model
    will mean a move away from a strong personal relationship between childminders, children and
    parents to something more commercial and impersonal.

    Your business sustainability

    Ultimately PACEY is concerned that agencies will lead to a two‐tiered system for childminding
    and one that risks eroding the parental confidence that being part of the shared EYFS
    framework with nurseries and pre‐schools has provided. Ultimately childminding’s hard won
    professionalism and the confidence it currently enjoys from parents and other professionals will
    be eroded. Over time, this will impact of childminding’s future sustainability. You can find out
    more by reading our IPPR report What Future For Childminders?, published in late June.
    In summary the current system of individual regulation and inspection is much valued by
    parents and childminders alike because it:
    Puts all the necessary processes in place to safeguard children and ensure they receive a
    quality care and learning experience.
    Ensures parents understand that childminders provide the same standards of care and
    learning as nurseries and pre‐schools.
     Is not costly or onerous to individual childminders.
     Has been proven to raise the quality of childminding.
    The agency approach will only serve to dilute this without any evidence it will successfully
    increase the number of childminders working in England nor reduce cost to parents. In the
    Netherland when this model was introduced, the quality of childminding decreased rather than
    increased and there is some evidence from childminders PACEY has surveyed that childcare
    costs would increase if they joined an agency.

    Conclusion

    Parents and childminders have voiced a number of concerns about the impact the option of
    joining an agency will have on the quality and safety of childcare provided. If you are thinking of
    joining an agency in your area, you may want to consider the following questions before you
    make the decision:
     How much will agency membership cost and will the support on offer deliver what my
    setting needs
     What will joining an agency mean to the families already using my service. What about
    new families looking for childcare?
     How much of my business paperwork is likely to be taken on by the agency and how
    much would I retain, as it is part of my self‐reflection and preparing for children in my
    setting
     What will the agency require of me in return for accessing the support it offers?
    Having considered all the pros and cons, you will be in a better place to decide if join an agency
    will be worth the additional investment to support your business.

    PACEY will continue to provide support, advice, information and training to its
    childminder members and you can find out more at www.**************.

    in reality though - this puts PACEY in the role of an agency - we're paying a fee to join and access advice and support and training
    if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got

  4. #4
    Simona Guest

    Default

    Ah but so far agencies have to register new cms and hopefully pacey will not take that role, also home visits are required to monitor quality and pacey are not in every area

    Overall it is a good warning statement although with so few details it is hard to do anything but to give just a warning at present
    Apart from cms it is also parents that need to be informed...we don not want any of them looking to agencies from Sept to find childcare

    Sarah...you are right and we have discussed this...
    I feel that in the past many cms have seen Ofsted as a positive challenge to show our good practice and how well our children progress but now cms are very unsure of what an inspection will bring, what will the inspector want to see, what have they not covered and this will add to the worry

    This needs to be made clear to pacey or anyone who represent cms that this uncertainty 'may' drive some cms in the arms of an agency just to get rid of that awful sinking feeling as an inspection approaches

    My added and foremost worry is if LAs become agencies.... how many cms will see that as a safe place to be?...after all LAs know cms best and that would be better than an unknown quantity such a purely business driven agency
    LAs are also experienced in registering cms, supporting them and we have very strongly opposed any change in their role and if they are local to us the visits and support are easy to carry out

    Much to think about and hope we will soon know when the 60 interested parties are revealed

 

 

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