Ofsted unveils childminder agency handbook

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Ofsted has published its new Childminder agency handbook, along with the application forms that people will need if they wish to apply to become an agency.

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Childminder agencies can start operating from 1 September, following the pilot this year, although less than half the organisations who took part in the pilot are planning to go ahead.

The documents provide guidance to those wishing to become agencies about how to apply, as well as information on how Ofsted will regulate agencies once they are registered. It also provides guidance for inspectors.

Further information about inspection of childminder agencies will be published before the first round of inspections begins early next year.

The handbook includes information about the requirement for agencies to have a ‘nominated individual’ to represent the organisation in its dealings with Ofsted. This person must have a full and thorough understanding of their own role within the childminder agency, the requirements for registration and the requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Each agency must also have a ‘statement of purpose’, which outlines the service that the agency plans to provide and how the provider intends to meet the aims and legal requirements of a childminder agency. ‘All staff must understand the document and be able to apply its content on a daily basis to situations and circumstances that occur,’ says the handbook.