Revision of inspection framework cost providers £12m

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Nursery costs for introducing the revised early years common inspection framework were nearly £600 each, according to Ofsted figures.

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Ofsted introduced the revised framework in 2015, which it says cost settings hundreds of pounds to familiarise themselves with

A new report by Ofsted has calculated that the cost to all private, voluntary, and independent nurseries in England of familiarising themselves with the revised CIF and the handbook for early years inspections was £577 per setting - or a total of £9,409,139. 

The figure is derived from multiplying the average cost of £577 per nursery, based upon responses from a sample of childcare providers, by the total number of registered PVI settings.

Ofsted estimates the cost for all childminders to familiarise themselves with the revised framework at £2,810,202 - or £59 each.

For childminder costs, the inspectorate gathered evidence from 45 childminders who indicated it took one person a day to familiarise themselves with the updated guidance.

The calculations are based on a childminders’ annual salary of £13,000 (working 220 days per year), and the number of registered childminders as of September 2015 (47,558).

It is one of a number of reports looking at how changes to Ofsted’s regulatory activities affect business in terms of savings or costs.

Another report looks at the effect of simplifying the early years compliance handbook on providers, which ws published in April 2016.

Ofsted removed overly detailed information and brought in a separate factsheet on ‘serious accidents, injuries that need to be notified’ into a single compliance handbook, which it says reduced the size of the document by 62 pages. This is mainly for providers who are, or may be, non-compliant.

The inspectorate says the reduction in pages within the handbook saved early years providers time and money. It estimates that it saved each provider £19.80.

Commenting on the cost to nurseries of familiarising themselves with the new framework, Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said, ‘NDNA welcomed the positive impact of the new Common Inspection Framework which brought in a half days’ notice for inspections and regional scrutiny panels.

‘Nurseries are performing better than ever before despite having to adapt to the new framework, with 95 per cent of nurseries achieving good or outstanding judgements.

‘The £9 million that the new framework is estimated to cost private nurseries will translate into a few hundred pounds per setting. However, taken into a context where these businesses have absorbed years of underfunding and have other real burdens such as rising business rates and salary bills being pushed up by the National Living Wage, this is yet another cost they have to find.

‘The new Government must be made aware of these additional costs in an already highly regulated sector and increase its basic funding rate accordingly.’

An Ofsted spokesperson said, 'Ofsted’s duty is to inspect and regulate the early years sector, to ensure that childcare in England is of high quality. We cannot comment on broader issues facing the sector.'

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