Department for Education
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No regulation for unpaid childcare arrangements between friends

Unpaid childcare arrangements between friends will be legally exempt from Ofsted registration and inspection under new legislation the Government announced today.

Children's Minister Dawn Primarolo welcomed the move which will mean that from April this year, friends caring for one another's children without payment are no longer included within the remit of Ofsted.

Dawn Primarolo said:

"I am pleased that following a positive response to our consultation, and overwhelming public support, friends supporting one another with unpaid childcare will be exempt from the registration and inspection process. This amendment has been made to ensure that hard-working parents are not penalised for supporting their friends with unpaid childcare.

"Formal childcare from childminders, nurseries and children's centres across the country provides an invaluable service to millions of families. It is right that we ensure formal childcare is of the highest possible standard and that this is backed up by thorough inspections by Ofsted to ensure every child has the best possible start in life.

"This move strikes the right balance between ensuring the quality and standards of formal childcare whilst protecting informal arrangements between friends."

The amendment to an Order under the Childcare Act 2006 will be supported by revised Ofsted guidance which will highlight where and when childcare arrangements are considered to be formal and within their inspection remit.

The Government is clear that the amendment does not affect the tens of thousands of professional childminders who provide a valuable service to parents

The proposed changes were put to parents, childcarers and other organisations through a short consultation in December 2009 and January 2010. Over 250 people responded with the majority in favour of the amendments, along with overwhelming public support through a petition on the No.10 website

Editor's Notes

This press notice relates to 'England'

1. The plans to change the regulations were confirmed:

2. The Government today laid an Order to Parliament under the Childcare Act 2006 to ensure unpaid childcare between friends and for mutual aid is exempt from Ofsted registration and inspection.

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