All childcarers in the UK should be registered, according to a new campaign group.
Regulation Matters: working for the welfare of children, comprises ANA (The Association of Nanny Agencies), BAPN (British Association of Professional Nannies), Chiltern College, Morton Michel, Nannytax, Norland College, REC (The Recruitment & Employment Confederation) and Voice: the union for education professionals.
Tricia Pritchard, Senior Professional Officer (Childcare) with Voice, who chairs the campaign, said: “We are calling for the registration of all childcarers in the UK, so that nannies and other home childcarers are brought under the same regulatory umbrella and are held to the registration standards currently required of childminders in order to safeguard children, improve childcare standards and create consistency in the childcare industry.”
The Campaign is launched following the recent report by Elizabeth Truss MP – the Conservative Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk, and now Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Early Years in the Department for Education – which called for the childcare system in Britain to be dramatically overhauled to make it more affordable, and the Childcare Commission's call for evidence and ideas on how to make childcare more affordable for working families and reduce any unnecessary burdens. The Commission is looking at identifying any regulation that is not needed to ensure safety or quality.
Tricia Pritchard said: “It is our understanding that the Coalition Government is looking to remove what it sees as ‘red tape’ and to effectively de-regulate provision where it can.
“We are extremely concerned that the driver for reform is cost cutting and not improved quality and safeguarding. The Government's main focus appears to be making savings on its investment of £7 billion a year on childcare support.
“It is our view that childcare is a safeguarding issue and therefore de-regulation of any kind would be a backward step. We would go further. We believe that the current regulatory framework should be widened to include nannies and all home childcare provision, and that no child should be put at risk by a cost-cutting exercise.
“It is ludicrous that the Government should be looking at de-regulating the services provided to the most vulnerable in society – babies, toddlers and young children.
“It is, of course, reasonable that governments should review provision, regulation frameworks and of expenditure, and it is for this reason, knowing that the childcare and early years sectors are under review, that we seek this opportunity to highlight the fact that:
- anyone can call her/himself a nanny;
- s/he is not subject to any regulation or inspection (other than the Voluntary Childcare Register); and
- there is still no mechanism in place to stop a nanny from working with children and young people if s/he is found to be unsuitable.”
Regulation Matters Campaign: Working for the welfare of children
The Campaign calls for the registration of all childcarers in the UK, so that nannies and other home childcarers are brought under the same regulatory umbrella and held to the registration standards currently required of childminders in order to safeguard children, improve childcare standards, and create consistency in the childcare industry.
We seek to achieve recognition for the valuable service provided by all home childcarers by:
· lobbying the Coalition Government to include nannies, maternity nurses, doulas, au-pairs etc with childminders in the requirements for registration and regulation, under the general umbrella of ‘home childcare’;
· encouraging parents / employers to employ only those home childcarers who are professionally trained, insured, registered and inspected; and
· making it socially unacceptable to place young children in the hands of unregistered childcarers
To progress our campaign for higher standards and uniform registration and regulation to include nannies, the National Campaign has the following key objectives:
- safeguarding measures in place supported by legislation to remove from ALL childcare and early years sectors those found to be unsuitable;
- safeguarding of ALL children, ensuring that every child is cared for safely and professionally by committed, well trained practitioners; and
- aiming to have all "Home Childcarers" in the UK working to and measured by a recognised set of Core Professional Standards.
Our goal is clear – to promote quality in early years care for the benefit of children and their families.
In England, the law states that people who work with children have to keep them safe. This safeguarding legislation is set out in The Children Act (1989) and (2004).
From 10 September 2012, changes to disclosure and barring services have been introduced by the Coalition Government which will affect employers and other organisations working with vulnerable groups, including children.
These changes include amendments to the definitions of regulated activity with vulnerable groups including children. Controlled activity; planned – but not implemented – registration and continuous monitoring have all been abolished.
Other important changes include:
- The ISA can only bar a person from working in regulated activity if it believes the person is, has been or might in the future, engage in regulated activity.
- In December 2012 the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will merge into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This new organisation will provide a joined up, seamless service to combine the criminal records and barring functions. Further legislative changes will come into force during 2013 and 2014.
No current legislation or proposed upcoming changes provide for the registration / regulation of nannies
In the current climate of de-regulation, we urge the Government to think again, to look at recognising that ALL children should be offered the same level of safeguarding and that ALL those working with children must be required to meet the same high standards, to include registration and a rigorous inspection regime.