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Has the link to childcare listings for child minders gone completely?

(48 Posts)
seekinginspiration Fri 16-Oct-09 08:38:48

Up until a few weeks ago I could get a list of local childminders with names and telephone numbers just by going to www.childcare.link and clicking on a map until I got to my local area. I could also find the local toddler groups the same way. Now I'm being redirected to Directgov and when I search for childminders I am given a link to my local Family Information Service. Has something happened are childminders being bombarded with crank calls and junk emails, or have they just moved the web site location, if yes where is it ?

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 08:44:19

No we want it back - but the government broke it

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 08:45:30

Childminders are actually pretty hysterical that the government is restricting our trade in this way

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 08:46:47

try here - it's patchy

seekinginspiration Fri 16-Oct-09 08:53:14

Thaks Katymac but - no good for my area. I tried the link on direct gov but for my post code it directs me to the family information service. I'm just near Heathrow but in the admin county of surrey. When I put in the postcode and using the advanced search option went for nursery schools it brought up silly listings way out of my area and didn't include two that I know of. What's happened to the old site it was pretty good?

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 09:29:04

bit of info here

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 09:29:56

Call Surrey FIS. Tell them you are not happy that the system is not working, Surrey FIS are aware. By telling them you are not happy, they may try harder to get their data online. It isn't only Surrey that failed to get their data online, many other local authorities are in a similar situation, not sure if all their computer systems were supplied by the same contractor.
Surrey FIS can send you a list of childminders with vacancies, as their system is working, it's just not uploading the data to the government website.
IF you want to make a complaint to SurreyCC I have the email address of a senior manager responsible for FIS, CAT me, or send me an email if you want it. Also write to Michael Grove MP, plus your own MP if you are not in Michaels area.

4kidsandlovingit Fri 16-Oct-09 14:11:53

I`ve just tried and searched for childcare nearest to mypostcode and I`m not on here and neither is another childminder in our village. It shows pre schools here but the nearest childminder to us is shown as 3km away. I`ve e-mailed them and am just waiting for a response!

sofewbraincellsleft Fri 16-Oct-09 18:09:29

I too have just tried. I nor several other childminders with my postcode and another nearest postcode are not on there. It starts with 3 miles away and having to search through 380 childminders. This is ridiculous.

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 18:53:29

When you search, are the childminders it does show in a different county/local authority area? That would be my guess - as some local authorities did upload their data and others did not. It appears that local authorities were able to select various system providers, rather than the system being all provided by one company... so those which selected a certain provider (or providers, it isn't clear yet) have not uploaded due to a technical difficulty with the system purchased. I can't establish which LA's brought which companies software.

Also another reason why the mileage is wrong is due to Childminders wanting their address data withheld. If you don't want your address data withheld, then your full postcode, rather than just the Outbound (the first bit, such as GU1) can be used and will give a far more accurate distance measure.

stomp Fri 16-Oct-09 19:35:00

I've complained twice, no one has bothered to reply angry. I'm on the south coast- west sussex- and there are no childminders showing at all!
I also called the CIS, the boy on the switchboard waffled, i got no-where.

Ripeberry Fri 16-Oct-09 20:14:37

I'm a CM and I'm 2km away from my postcode. Utter shambles angry. And they had the cheek last month to tell us to complete the forms asap or we would not be on the system.
Well all the info is wrong anyway...everyone seems to be marked as having no vacancies.
Why not put your request on Net mums, you should get plenty of replies.
Good luck in your search.

WailingGhoshe Fri 16-Oct-09 20:36:49

Ive been ranting about this since last week, have contacted FIS here, as well as watchdog (who phoned once) Daily Mail (who didnt even bother to answer), Surestart (who didn't know what I was talking about) and NCMA who again never answered.

It is disgusting that the Government can let this happen.

Unfortunatly, we are just the bottom of the tank when it comes to Childcare in this Governments eyes and nobody is bothered that it will put a lot of CM's out of business, as well as cause all sorts of problems for parents trying to find childcare.

angryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangryangry

I wanted to put it to Gordon Brown today, but unfortunatly was not at home at the time.

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 21:09:17

Stomp - I think someone posted on the other thread that West Sussex removed all their listings due to childminders addresses being made available.
What I suspect happened was that West Sussex sent though all the data, which included the full postcode of each provider. That triggered the map display and address display. I feel that is a fault of the database display system on Direct.Gov as it should be checking the provider type and if it = childminder then it should not display the full address data - but still allow for better accuracy on distance calculations.

West Sussex FIS should have told you that. One of the major issues at the moment seems to be the lack of information coming from FIS to childcare providers. Surrey following my moans to them, sent an e-mail to all childcare providers (who have signed up for Surrey Early Years updates via e-mail) telling them a little about the new system and that it wasn't working correctly, plus providing a link to a Surrey specific Parent Know How Directory which does work.

As a childcare provider if FIS are not providing you with information about the new system, about the delays (in some areas), how you now need to go about providing updates to that data, then you need to contact the FIS manager and complain. Once you get past the front line, the senior managers are usually quite helpful. It's just getting past the front line which can take a while... just keep sending e-mails until they refer it on to the FIS manager.

You can search the FIS directory (select Find Your FIS) which may tell you the FIS Managers Name... then you can send an e-mail to the generic FIS e-mail address marking it for the attention of that name. For example here is the entry for West Sussex

West Sussex are using:
ECD System: Tribal
FSD System: Tribal

Surrey are using:
ECD System: Open Objects
FSD System: Open Objects

I wonder who else is using Open Objects?

Norfolk:
ECD System: Tribal
FSD System: Open Objects

Hmm... Norfolk are using both Tribal and Open Objects... Now I wonder which of the Systems childminder data is supposed to be on... I'm suspecting it's FSD.

Hampshire:
ECD System: Tribal
FSD System: Tribal

Hampshire have uploaded their Childminder data to Direct.Gov

For those of you who have your data available at Direct.Gov... is your council using Tribal? For those of you who do not have their data available... what FSD system is your council using? Search for your FIS, click on the entry and scroll down to see the FSD System - then post your County/Council name plus FSD System: whateverappears

WailingGhoshe Fri 16-Oct-09 21:16:20

Nick i cant find it I am in Dorset.

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 21:18:48

Have sent Open Objects Software Ltd an e-mail, asking if they did indeed provide software to Surrey and Norfolk and if it is their software which is causing this delay. I wonder if I will get a reply!

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 22:10:36

Nick - I'm in Norfolk

Mine was avail but wrong
Then went
& is now avail but wrong (again)

hmm
sad

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 22:28:22

WailingGhoshe -
Dorset Sure Start, Grove House, Millers Close, Dorchester... www.dorsetforyou.com/fis is that the one?
DorsetFIS
They are using:
ECD System: Open Objects
FSD System: Open Objects

Kate - your's is actually looking quite nice now. You and DH are listed, you are marked up as being a Childminder and School Pickup. It is showing opening hours and price. Shows your website address and e-mail address. On click through - E-mail link works, website doesn't (expect that's a coding error with the Tribal system, which will be ironed out eventually). It isn't showing your house number or street name... but is displaying the full postcode (didn't think it was supposed to show that either). Shows your phone number (same number as on your own website).

So you actually seem to have a lot more than other people do - which may be a good sign, as it may mean that Open Objects has resolved part of the issue. Though doing a search on Direct.Gov for Surrey still pulls the Ofsted data... so guess Surrey haven't yet turned on their DirectGov update module (or whatever the thing is called to publish the data).

Kate - suggest you contact Norfolk FIS to ask them to change anything you want changed... as it does look as though DirectGov now has a connection to Norfolks data feed.

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 22:44:22

At 2pm they didn't know what I was talking about wink

But if you click on the map link you can see my house hmm

Shame it says I have no vacancies

IdrisTheDragon Fri 16-Oct-09 22:53:18

I just looked for my postcode and it's useless. Gives a list but each entry has no information at all. The old version said useful things like school pickups, times covered, some description and what age ranges they cover. This one just says information by ofsted and no vacancies for everyone, including all pre-schools, nuseries and creches. I find that hard to believe.

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 22:57:06

Oh & it doesn't say I am a network childminder, that I am accredited, that we can care for children with disabilities

I don't mind about the phone no after all I spend a lot of time & money getting it on to the WWW

Oh & pop GY in.....apparently I am 2km from there <<snort>>

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 23:13:45

For those following the technical chat on this one... looks like it is the ECD (Enhanced Childcare Directory) System that is the important one from our point of view... as it is that which is holding childminder data.

An interesting document from Lancashire from when they were making the decision as to which supplier to use.

Katy - I think the distance calculator is not very accurate and is also probably "as the bird flies" which can be a lot different to "by road".

ITD - when it says "information by Ofsted" that is temporary data. That was never supposed to be on the system at all... but due to technical difficulties experienced by some local authorities, where the local authority failed to meet the target date (7th September) the information had to be sourced from Ofsted at the last minute... so that data is basic to say the least. Complain to your local authority FIS Manager - they may have a local work around for the problem... Surrey for example publishes their data on their own website.

Katymac Fri 16-Oct-09 23:17:37

Umm it's about 12 miles hmm

(Psst, Nick, did you get my email?)

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 23:17:39

>At 2pm they didn't know what I was talking about

Kate - Don't think you were talking to the FIS Manager. Probably best not to deal with the front line staff... just ask to speak to Susan Grime.

nannynick Fri 16-Oct-09 23:19:23

Katy - got your e-mail. Will have a look. Getting a bit late now, so may be tomorrow.

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