Childminder agencies


Childminder agencies

Childminder agencies

Since 2014, childminders have had the option to register with a childminder agency rather than with Ofsted. Childminders do not have to belong to an agency, this is optional.

The purpose of the agencies is to provide an alternative route into childminding by a means to access support, training and development beyond what is possible for local authorities to deliver. They also assist parents in in finding a high-quality childminder.

The aim is for agencies to be a one-stop-shop for both childminders and families and also to help reduce costs for individual childminders for services such as training and continuing professional development. Some agencies also provide other business services for their members such as managing fees, invoicing, handling tax and national insurance.

Many agencies provide support for parents by listing all their member childminders, the ages they cater for and the hours they work, helping to match up parents’ demand with childminder vacancies.

All childminders registered with an agency keep their independence, but joining an agency is often a good option for those childminders who want to be part of an organisation that will provide support and training as well as inspections but who do not want to register with a trade association.

Different agencies offer different levels of support, so as a childminder considering joining an agency, you should check if the agency meets your individual needs.

Also, as childminder agencies are self-funding they may charge membership fees to childminders, or extract a levy from parents’ fees. They may have a menu of different services with different associated costs so again, you should check if the agency offers what you need at a cost that is suitable for you. You can find a complete list of registered childminder agencies on Ofsted’s website here.