In early 2013, as part of its childcare reforms, the government announced that it would allow childminder agencies to be established from September 2014. The independent study was carried out by Ipsos MORI and Ecorys.
The aim is to encourage more people to become childminders, offer more support and training to them, improve quality of provision and to help parents in their search for childminders.
19 trials were completed, after 100 organisations initially expressed an interest. 11 local authorities took part, along with various types of provider.
- Recruitment of childminders by an agency
- Registration and checking procedures in relation to childminders registering with an
- Business support that may be offered to childminders registering with an agency
- Training and continuous professional development (CPD) offered to childminders
registered with an agency
- Quality assurance processes undertaken by an agency
Learnings from the report
The importance of a strong business model was highlighted. Those looking to set up agencies were warned to keep revenue projections conservative, especially as many childminders were resistant to the concept. It was noted that this reluctance to join agencies should be reflected in low membership fees for childminders. The majority would wish to remain self-employed as well.
Parents, on the other hand, were generally keener on the idea, with results suggesting they felt agencies would provide better quality, more flexible childcare for them and their children.
Potentially, the main benefit to childcarers could be support and training in areas such as EYFS. Face-to-face time with experienced agency staff and peers was perceived well, particularly for those new to childminding.
If you’d like to read the full report, you can do so at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/350757/DFE-RR365_-_Childminder_agency_trial_evaluation.pdf
How do you feel about childminder agencies? Do benefits outweigh the negatives for childminders?