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Childminder refused to disclose Ofsted number-normal?

(38 Posts)
queenofthepirates Mon 12-Nov-12 16:19:46

In brief, I was speaking to a prospective CM for my daughter. All was going well until I asked for her Ofsted number so I could look at her latest report. She refused point blank until I had signed a contract with her, telling me she was rated good and that was all I needed to know. She told me she'd never been asked for her number in five years prior to contracts.

AIBU naive to assume that most parents would view their CM's report before signing up?

anewyear Fri 16-Nov-12 08:39:48

Just another thought,
An Ofsted report is only a tiny snap shot a (few hours) of a childminders (same as a school!!) day.
I wouldnt look at an Ofsted report and think 'this childminder is crap because she only has a satisfactory',
I would rather make my own mind up by visiting and talking to her/him.

procrastinor Thu 15-Nov-12 23:39:53

I must admit I didn't know about the tax credits thing. She should have just explained it that way rather than coming across as incredibly rude.

ChildrenAtHeart Thu 15-Nov-12 23:35:34

Tanith, that is because at the time cms had to sign a form from tax credits to say they had the child, how many hours, how much fees were etc. Once that procedure was stopped some time ago cm's couldn't be held accountable any more so the guidance is outdated and irrelevant. Many cms are unaware of this or still feel uncomfortable about giving out their number however. Maybe this cm is one of those but she could still have offered a copy of her Ofsted report minus reg number

Tanith Thu 15-Nov-12 19:16:06

When tax credits were first introduced, childminders were held accountable for fraudulent use of their numbers: at least one, to my knowledge, was prosecuted. The NCMA campaigned to take childminders out of the equation and we were advised not to give out our numbers.

For that reason, I wouldn't necessarily treat this childminder with suspicion.

Welovecouscous Thu 15-Nov-12 18:25:43

Sounds like the NCma should be advising cm not to withhold their number.

I work in a regulated profession - wont say which - and if someone asked for my professional registration number I would always give it.

ChildrenAtHeart Thu 15-Nov-12 18:21:34

It is a legal requirement to display your registration certificate so parents can see it and to provide a copy of your report on request. Refusing to give out your reg number has been 'recommended' in the past to prevent fraud but as this information is in the 'public domain' and parents are encouraged to check that CM is registered and to check the report it isn't a terribly good idea really. You can now opt to have your contact details published on your report and it is pretty easy to identify a cm (along with their reg number) by post code on the Ofsted website, plus many FiSs list the reg number with your details too so witholding it is a fairly pointless exercise. If a parent wants a registered childcare reg number they could look on the Ofsted website any get any nursery or presch reg number too.
Having said that the cm the op spoke to seemed to be a bit off and I would have alarm bells ringing.

MrAnchovy Thu 15-Nov-12 18:20:26

You volunteer your name, address and post code, I don't remember ticking a box for ofsted number.

There isn't a box to tick for Ofsted number, that's what is shown on the site already. The point is that you are agreeing (or not) for your name and/or address and/or post code to appear as well.

Differentangle Thu 15-Nov-12 16:38:32

I understand that there is an issue here with regard to tax credit fraud, but as a parent, I definitely wouldn't leave my child with someone who refused to show me their ofsted report before I signed a contract. The ofsted report forms part of how you might make a decision as to whether you would be happy leaving your child with the childminder

anothercuppaplease Thu 15-Nov-12 16:17:48

You volunteer your name, address and post code, I don't remember ticking a box for ofsted number.

Acepuppets Thu 15-Nov-12 15:23:46

I thought they had to display registration certificate on the wall any way.

GrimAndHumourless Thu 15-Nov-12 15:16:19

I think it's to do with volunteering your ofsted reg number?

anothercuppaplease Thu 15-Nov-12 14:45:12

You are absolutely right. On their 'new' website you can search by address or name of childminder, and their unique ref number is there.

It defeats the point really.

I was told when I was trained (two years ago) that I shouldn't give out my ref number before signing the contract, they are confidential and can lead to fraud.... But it's there for anyone to see.

Welovecouscous Thu 15-Nov-12 14:38:14

How is it protecting you if parents can get the number from the ofsted report anyway?

anewyear Thu 15-Nov-12 14:36:57

I dont give mine out for the reasons mentioned above.

I also show a paper copy of my report to prospective parents.
I also thought it was considered best practice to do this too?

i dont give out my number until contracts have been signed....but...i do give a paper copy of my report with the number crossed out.

I have a copy on my website too with the number crossed out.

I have nothing to hide (i am good with many outstandings) but i have been aware of potential "clients" wanting numbers upfront. Just to claim the tax credits.

Last year a couple were ringing round the local childminders (me included) to ask for our numbers, they didnt want any care just our numbers. They were upfront about it and offered us money for the exchange!

lets just say i was polite but turned down their offer

Welovecouscous Wed 14-Nov-12 23:05:38

I wouldn't go ahead with her. It is very strange not to want to disclose something which is on the ofsted website anyway. Weird.

Our nanny gave me her number up front so I could satisfy myself she was indeed registered.

anothercuppaplease Wed 14-Nov-12 18:41:42

We were told during training to not give out our ofsted number before signing the contract. Because of fraud. I was even called by a 'prospective parent' who wanted to pay me with childcare voucher, and wanted me to give her the money back, and then she would give me a fee to do this so that she would pay less tax. 4
I always show a paper copy of my report to prospective parents, highlighting the good bits and also the bits I need to improve, and what I now have in place to improve on my weaknesses.

I think she could now be suspicious of you!

I agree about just putting her postcode into the Ofsted inspections website.

It may well be she has had tax credits problems but it's not like tax credits make the child minder pay it back! It sounds like she was a bit rude and defensive. I would want to see her report even though the reports don't hold a huge amount of sway for me.

calmlychaotic Mon 12-Nov-12 21:36:37

agree with what others have said. if she had explained her reasons for not giving it then maybe but i would suspect hiding something, probably negative report. I have been asked for my number on numerous occasions

Akasa Mon 12-Nov-12 18:48:03

Certainly not a good response from the childminder but was she aware of why the number was being asked for. I do know that in some areas, minders were being advised to withold their URN until after contracts/deposits sorted because of bogus Tax Credit claims.

As others have said you can probably work out which is her report on the Ofsted website unless of course she lives in a postcode where there are many minders. Where my sister lives there are seven minders in one postcode area so you have to be a bit of detective to work out whose report is whose and since four of them say "the minder lives with her husband and two children" (yes, I have read them all!!), it is a bit of a shot in the dark to work out who the C/M is..........

wishiwasonholiday Mon 12-Nov-12 18:35:30

Our children's centre gives out our ofsted numbers!

I have a link to mine on my website but some childminders are paranoid people claim fraudulently with it, they would need the full address etc too and tax credits sometimes check.

I wouldn't dismiss using her just because of that, look her up on the ofsted website.

piprabbit Mon 12-Nov-12 17:42:38

If she's registered with Ofsted you can find her easily on their website.
If you can't find her, I'd suspect the worst.

minderjinx Mon 12-Nov-12 17:38:21

I think there may have been a breakdown of communication here. Many childminders can be a nervous about giving out their registration numbers as tax credit fraud is rife and some are even worried they may get into trouble or be under suspicion themselves if others abuse their details. In fact, as others have said, it is not that hard to get hold of the information in other ways, so there is in my view little point in worrying about this possibility. Perhaps she somehow got the impression that the OP was only interested in getting hold of her registration number and was a bit brusque as a result. I think it is highly unlikely that she is unregistered or has anything damning in her report, as that would come out immedoiately the OP agreed to sign a contract which would of course show her registration details.

ReetPetit Mon 12-Nov-12 17:32:31

all you have to do is look on the ofsted website by putting in her postcode and you can read her report. that way at least you will know if she has anything to hide.
it could just be she has a bad experience with tax credits. it happened to me once, a parent used my number to claim, i don't give out my number to parents but i do show them my report when they visit which has got the number on it. i just wouldn't be happy giving my number to people who email/call me until i had met them...
it may be perfect innocent so best not to jump to conclusions imo smile

Tanith Mon 12-Nov-12 17:31:53

I would think the most likely reason is to prevent you from fraudulently claiming tax credits. It's a big problem in some areas and, for a time, we were advised not to give out our Ofsted number.

At this stage, all you need is her report and she should be able to give you a copy with her number blanked out, as the others have suggested.

If you want to check she's registered, ask Ofsted to confirm; you only need her name and address for that.

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