View Full Version : Clarifications for 'independent' childminders

16-03-2013, 03:46 PM
For those cms who wish to remain 'independent' many issues remain unclarified....it is hoped that in the near future as we can take part in discussions with the DfE we will take advantage of that (rush to apply now) and concentrate on getting answers and clarifications that will enable us to continue running our businesses

What does it mean to be independent? 'free, liberated, unconnected, unconstrained, uncontrolled, self-governing, self-reliant, self-sufficient'..just a few of the description applied to independence
We will have to continue to be legislated by the DfE and regulated by Ofsted!
Will we accept that in return for less restriction, unnecessary control and, at times, stifling red tape and bureaucrocy at all levels we may have to pay a higher price for our registration and inspection fees?

Can we self govern ourselves? I believe so because we know what the requirements are to continue delivering high quality care as long as we are able to tap into expert support when needed? That is a very important point to be clarified...where is that coming from?
No point in asking the LAs at present because they are mostly in a state of shock!

Training will be another issue....we could access First Aid anywhere as Truss is removing the need to attend LAs prescribed sessions...honestly FA is the least of my problems as it is dictated by other powers and not LAs...wherever you are CPR will never change and you can only put a sling on one way!!!

Safeguarding and Child Protection is a main issue as this has to comply with the govt guidelines (March 2010) but must reflect the LAs own Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB) and their point of access (called differently in each area)
So we must ensure that this statutory training will be on offer to 'independent' cms 'regardless'!

If being 'independent' is what we believe we can be we must get a clear undertaking from the DfE that we will not meet 'barriers' or 'obstacles' preventing us to remain so and no 'unfair' competition is put in our way by agencies or whatever becomes available from Sept 2013?

One of the obstacles I can see looming will be the 'childcare market' Truss is creating...independent cms must, under no circumstance, feel that to get work they have to pay for their services to be provided by a 3rd party and paid dearly for when we can freely advertise our services now?

If this was the case the many 'hoops' Truss wants to remove will only become mountains that we cannot even think of climbing.

For those who wish to deliver the free Entitlement to 2,3 and 4 year olds there has to be clear understanding of how we apply for funding and that belonging to a network is not an issue if a cm is judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted...unfortunately some LAs still insist on this.
What is important is how LAs will continue to support us from one inspection to the next to maintaint the grade and quality? (by that time there may be a new govt ...so all change again!!)

So while we rightly worry about agencies or ponder choices of associations we will be able to choose from in future...let's not lose track of our aim: we want to be indpendent and know exactly where we stand and let nothing stand in our way!

16-03-2013, 04:43 PM
Thank you Simona, reading this was very imformative thankyou :) I shall stay independant :thumbsup:

16-03-2013, 05:08 PM
Should we be applying to stay independent?

16-03-2013, 05:29 PM
Should we be applying to stay independent?

No. I think Simona means that we are being asked to email the DfE if we wish to join in consultations on how to stay independent. The below line is taken from Simonas post on this link ( the same info can also be found on loocyloos letter from truss) http://www.childmindinghelp.co.uk/forum/campaigns-petitions/114746-my-letter-truss-other-mps.html

-Individual cms will be involved in future to debate agencies. Those interested can email Childminder.AGENCIES@education.gsi.gov.uk

16-03-2013, 05:48 PM
Please please email the DfE...just a short message to say you are interested as the meetings will be in all areas.
We must express our views not rely on others to represent us or how we want to run our businesses!!

These are extracts from the DfE letter:

'It would be inappropriate for me to give specific details of individuals and organisations who are working with the Department to develop ideas around agencies. However, I can confirm that the ‘task and finish group’ represents a wide cross-section of organisations, with differing views on agencies. This includes organisations which represent ‘independent’ childminders and which are run by ex-childminders themselves. The group will be considering piloting and requirements for agencies. It will not be considering the terms for childminders who wish to remain independent and this is not reflected in the Terms of Reference for the group.

We are keen to further involve individual childminders – in fact, the Minister met several childminders at a meeting on 4 March. Again, these childminders held a range of views and were able to openly debate the issues around childminder agencies. We are considering how best to involve individual childminders in the future, as well as parents. If you would like to be involved in this work, please e-mail: Childminder.AGENCIES@education.gsi.gov.uk with your contact details and we will let you know about any events in your area.

On the question of more details for those childminders that chose to remain independent. It will not be compulsory for childminders to join agencies. Many existing excellent childminders may wish to continue operating independently and individually registering with Ofsted. For these childminders there need not be any change, and they can continue to operate in the same way as they do now. Furthermore, if childminders join an agency and later change their mind they will be able to re-register with a different agency or register independently with Ofsted. The current Bill allows childminders the option of registering with Ofsted or joining an agency and this cannot be changed without further primary legislation.

On the issue of employment status for childminders who join agencies, exact details of the employment and financial relationship between a childminder and their agency will be defined by the agency itself, and are likely to be contractually agreed between both parties. There is likely to be some variation between agencies, which allows childminders who opt to join an agency to choose one that best suits them. It is likely that some agencies will choose to employ childminders directly (which brings benefits such as paid leave and sick pay) whilst others will prefer for their childminders to remain self-employed (or some may offer both options).

Childminder agencies are absolutely not intended to take business away from existing, successful childminders. Running agencies will be open to anyone who can demonstrate that they can meet the registration requirements set by Ofsted, including experienced childminders or nurseries. Childminder agencies will operate as businesses, so are likely to operate in areas where there is a demand for their services and where more childminder places are needed.' (End)

While the DfE cannot reveal names someone was happily tweeting last Tuesday as he/she attended the DfE Childminding Agency event in London and giving tit bits of info which I found very insensitive...so have written back asking for a little more respect and asking for an 'official' statemet not tweets!!

16-03-2013, 06:18 PM
i have signed up to be informed about events ... lets wait & see! i bet my local event is not local by any stretch of the imagination!

16-03-2013, 07:03 PM
Thank you for clarification Simona - and yes, I agree, those tweets WERE very insensitive last week.

16-03-2013, 07:03 PM
Thanks Simona, we are in uncertain times for sure. Lots of questions to ask. I just wish all the govt's cards were on the table now so we could respond... The drip feed is beyond frustrating.

Please let me know if you're going to be arranging another meeting? Was sad to have missed the one in January when I was abroad on holiday.

16-03-2013, 10:20 PM
The uncertainty is aggravated by Truss and the DfE who continue to ignore our request for clarification while engaging with those who pretend to represent us and air our concerns....how presumptious is that??

I have made it very clear from the start of the campaign last year and, reinforced some of the issues in this forum today, what we need to have clarified.
It appears we will be consulted....no one knows when while the 'task and finish group' do all the negotiations for us with the DfE in the meantime?
The DfE states that they have received an overwhelming interest for setting up agencies...I would take that with a pinch of salt...or a shovel if you like! If that is true I'll eat my many hats!!!

All we can do at present is keep the pressure on, continue to write letters, encourage as many cms as possible to join the campaign, get meetings going, tweet, share on Facebook if you are on it and nudge the LAs into some sort of engagement with us and keep the info sharing going out in the open in all forums and websites because every single cm's voice counts not just the few!!

On a 'happier' note get ready to hear the budget on Wednesday...the press seemed to be at loggerheads today whether the budget will announce tax breaks for the well off to help with childcare while the other said tax breaks will be delayed as there is no money for EY.... a long way from sorting out the cost of childcare or having universal childcare equally accessible to all children!!