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Compulsory Nanny Register - Would it work?

(17 Posts)
nannynick Mon 04-Jul-11 23:25:03

If you have read the Education Select Comittee's report you will notice that they consider the Voluntary Ofsted Childcare Register should "provide the public with a more reliable system for vetting carers which provides greater scrutiny of applicants."

They don't say how they would go about doing that, or what vetting procedures should be used. How would they decide if someone was suitable or not... should Government even be making such decisions on behalf of parents?

If nannies all have to be registered, what is then to say that they don't then have to follow EYFS;
In the same document it says: "Dame Clare Tickell recently published a report and recommendations, following her review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). She has concluded that the EYFS framework should continue to apply to all providers working with children in the early years and that Ofsted should continue to work with local authorities to be clear about how it will inspect in this area."

So to me that may well mean that if nannies do have to register, then we could well have to conform to EYFS. That is then Government telling you how to educate your child in your own home... isn't it? Not just telling you how but also checking that it is being done, as if EYFS becomes a requirement for nannies, then nannies will be inspected on it, won't they?

If you could design a nanny registration scheme... what would you include and what would you not include?

fraktious Tue 05-Jul-11 02:50:57

Not the EYFS!

<you will a more coherent reply when it's not 5.30am but I'm marking place for later on this>

I would have:
a more comprehensive qualification requirement
paeds 1st aid as it stands
insurance as it stands
CRB (although that system needs reforming)
A requirement for employer's to submit their details so future employers can verify employment and facilitate barring unsuitable nannies - this is probably the major flaw with voluntary registration, beyond the whole 'if you're registered you must have been checked' as there's no real way to report nannies and as you don't have to be registered you'd never know whether they'd been barred or not unless you thought to ask, which most people don't
A requirement to complete a certain amount of CPD over a given time period as many nannies are shockingly bad at this

I would also issue each nanny with a PIN which needs to be given to HMRC by the employer to crack down on tax evasion!

Would it work? Probably not. Where do you draw the line on what a nanny is? The government has already blurred in home childcare enough. Would this be for anyone wanting to call themself 'nanny' making that a protected title? Would it be compulsory for everyone doing that sort of job? What sanctioning powers would it have?

I've thought for a while that there would be a move to make registration compulsory so I wouldn't be shocked if it went this way and whilst it's nice in principle I'm not sure on the practicality.

nannynick Tue 05-Jul-11 08:49:22

>A requirement for employer's to submit their details so future employers can verify employment and facilitate barring unsuitable nannies - this is probably the major flaw with voluntary registration, beyond the whole 'if you're registered you must have been checked' as there's no real way to report nannies

How would some organisation decide that a nanny is unsuitable. An employer might dislike the way a nanny does the ironing, does that make them an unsuitable nanny? I could imagine that if there were a complaints system in place, that the administrator of that system would be constantly trying to get to the bottom of what the complaint is about and if that really did make the nanny unsuitable or if it was just a falling out between employer and employee.

Nannies can be reported to local social services. Local social services could be consulted prior to granting a nanny registration status. However how would that be constantly updated. Also it creates a lot of work for social services - when childminders register, social services records are checked and that can create a long delay.

BAPN has asked members for their views on making it compulsory, so there are certainly moves in that direction. However I am not sure parents will want Government telling them what to do in their own home.

nannynick Tue 05-Jul-11 09:19:52

Wonder how this would affect parents who had au-pairs? We don't have an au-pair immigration category any more, so how would an au-pair be considered different to a nanny under a compulsory registration scheme?

fraktious Tue 05-Jul-11 10:54:11

I think that's the biggest issue. Who is a nanny and who would have to register?

The complaints thing would be on the same basis as CMs but reserved for cases where the child was endangered. What scares me about not having this is there is no way to check in the situation where someone is fired for, say, leaving children unattended or bring drunk on duty but the police refuse to get involved so it never shows up on a CRB. There is absolutely noone to report the nanny to. OFSTED don't seen to care even if they are registered.

Strix Tue 05-Jul-11 11:05:03

From NannyNick:

"However I am not sure parents will want Government telling them what to do in their own home."

Absolutely right, Nick! The government is not qualified to tell me how to raise my children. Ofsted inspectors are not welcome in my house. And I wil hire whom I deem right for the job.

For example these things are important to me:
- Nutritional food preparation as well as consumption in front of the children (and my definition of nutritious is long way away from OFSTED's)
- keen on an active / sporty lifestyle
- Fairly well dressed (i.e. doesn't show up for the school run in attire suitable for clubbing)
- On the firm side of discipline (esp. for DD, not so much for DS1 and DS2 is 6 months so not relevant for him)
- Can construct English sentences with correct grammar. (recommend the Germans over the English on this front)
- Does not believe a woman's place is in the home.

Not one of these things in important to OFSTED. And some of the things that are leave me dazed and confused.

mranchovy Tue 05-Jul-11 14:06:20

Couple of points:

Although the paragraph quoted mentions 'legislation if necessary', there is no direct reference in the original report to making registration on what is now called the 'Voluntary Register' compulsory.

The evidence on which the report apparently based this recommendation made two alternative proposals: "... either the overhaul of the way that nannies are registered on the Ofsted Voluntary Register of the for [sic] the introduction of a [sic] compulsory registration of all nannies, where their application and documentation are properly scrutinised and checked."

So the Select Committee have gone with the first recommendation and apparently ignored the second: there does not seem to be much support for the idea of compulsory registration for nannies. But that doesn't mean it will never happen of course, and the inevitable consequence would be an increase in the childcare 'black market' with unregistered, unqualified, probably untaxed and quite possibly illegal workers caring for children whilst employed as 'home helps', 'personal assistants' etc. European mobility of labour laws are also likely to make it very difficult to achieve consistency of requirements.

Finally, I note that the BAPN does not appear to have provided evidence to the Select Committee.

nannynick Tue 05-Jul-11 14:46:23

Don't think BAPN existed at the time, they are very new.

MrA as a parent, do you want to see the registration system changed?

mranchovy Tue 05-Jul-11 15:41:10

> they are very new

Ah yes, so I see. Good luck to them, I hope they thrive although I suspect many Nannies will unfortunately not bother to support them. One of the first things they need to do is get on the HMRC list of approved professional bodies so you can claim your membership fee as an allowable expense for income tax purposes.

As a parent the only relevance of the registration scheme to me is the ability to use childcare vouchers and it is obviously necessary to have some kind of registration otherwise there would be nothing to stop abuse of the tax break/benefit.

Compulsory registration would have the consequences I outlined in my last post so that is not a good idea.

I like the idea of an independent professional nanny association, but if this was to be involved in regulation the funding would have to come from somewhere, and even if the current Ofsted Voluntary Register fees were paid to such an organisation it obviously wouldn't pay for anything more effective than what we have now.

Couple of thoughts:

Peer review i.e. nannies inspecting nannies? Would count as CPD for the reviewer as well as an inspection for the reviewee. Many obvious pitfalls, but cheap.

Publicity: the Voluntary Register will never be a guarantee of quality or even much of an indication of suitablity so that should be made clear.

Foreign nannies: the best trained nannies we have had have done the equivalent of NVQ Level 4 qualifications in Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Any 'British' professional nanny accreditation should not discriminate against excellent nannys qualified and experienced overseas - in fact it should recognise that many foreign countries have a better system for childcare including training than we do.

nannynick Tue 05-Jul-11 15:58:15

I wonder if the Jersey system would work. I'll post a link to it when not on mobile.y system would work. I'll post a link to it when not on mobile.

fraktious Tue 05-Jul-11 18:27:43

I've spoken to BAPN about foreign qualifications. They will now accept EU equivalents (although I suspect the onus would be on the nanny to go through NARIC) but unfortunately not Aus/NZ ones which are miles closer to British ones in any case.

Peer review could be interesting but there are so many different childcare styles and no real 'norm' for nannies that it would be difficult to standardise.

nannynick Tue 05-Jul-11 18:59:59

Parents will have different views of what quality childcare is, not sure how quality of care provided by a nanny could be assessed.

I think I'm against compulsory registration, the more I think about it the more unworkable I feel it is.

Some sort of optional scheme might work but if Childcare Vouchers were withdrawn, why would anyone bother registering. I think any scheme proposed needs to be able to stand on it's own two feet not just be there due to some tax reason.

Strix Tue 05-Jul-11 20:40:21

Exactly Nick. When I sign up to all of the responsibilities and costs of being an employer, I expect to make the decision I see fit. You start to get into a situation -- as we now have with childminders -- where people want to be paid for the hours they spend doing things that actuallyrequired by ofsted and not parents (i.e. clients/employers). My childminder jumps through all kinds of rediculous hoops. But a childminder is a business which iopen to the public so I thing the regulation there is a good thing. A nanny (or even au pair) lives in my house and conducts the for my children as I see fit. I don't have to compromise withother people's children's needs. If I fancy tennis at 2:00 on Friday, then that is what will be. If I want my children to dance backwards whilst shouting their timetables every day at 4:00 then so be it. OFSTED has no business in my private home. And the government can even run the schools. I'm certainly not giving the mrights to the rest of childrens' days.

Strix Tue 05-Jul-11 20:41:47

Oh jeez. I really should have proofread that. Sorry.

mranchovy Wed 06-Jul-11 00:52:49

Nick are you referring to the Jersey Childcare Trust accreditation scheme? Looks like a good model for a Third Sector implementation to me.

nannynick Wed 06-Jul-11 01:01:56

Yes, that is the scheme. It has been running a while I believe, so JCT may well have some statistical data on how well the scheme has worked and also what problems have been encountered.

Part of the scheme is that a nanny is interviewed... that works on a small island as travel distances are not that large. Could it work in mainland England, I'm not so sure. The costs of having people do those interviews may well be quite high - it was one of the problems with the Childcare Approval Scheme I think... certainly I recall having to travel to see someone when I registered under CAS.

Strix Wed 06-Jul-11 11:06:20

I think all of these schemes add too much beaurocracy to the job. Some parents will probably welcome it. But others, like me, want to vet out their employees on the things that matter to them.

However, I think it is unlikely that the current government will want to hand more power to OFSTED. The Tories and OFSTED are well know to get on like a house on fire. A fundamental belief of the conservatives is smaller government and individual freedom. So, I don't see them boadening the scope of the OFSTED 'nanny state'. Or perhaps I have my head blissfully in the sand?

Also, I agree with Mr. A's advice that is will invite a widening of the black market where people hire people who are not technically nannies, but in practice are hired to look after the children.

And, the cost of administering this scheme is to be born by whom? The employer (i.e. me)? I think not. Childcare is prohibitively expensive in this country. Anything that adds to that cost is likely to be a bad idea.

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