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Babysitting circles illegal?

(62 Posts)
Seriya Sun 27-Sep-09 20:29:46

I can't believe this piece of news hasn't been posted here yet.

Apparently Ofsted reckons that anyone who babysits someone else's children for more than two hours, or more than 14 times a year, in exchange for a "reward" - which could be money, or could be babysitting in return - is breaking the law unless they have been registered as a childminder.

So if I understand that right, I'm breaking the law every time I leave my dd in charge of a babysitter (because it's always for more than 2 hours). Equally that would mean anyone who is involved in a baysitting circle would be potentially breaking the law, or anyone else who leaves their kids with, say, a friend, more than once a month.

Is it just me or is that nannystate gone mad?

Hulababy Sun 27-Sep-09 20:32:10

I think if it is after 6pm (would need to check) it is exempt too.

RustyBear Sun 27-Sep-09 20:33:37

No, not unless the other children come to your house - it doesn't apply to children being looked after in their own home.

Hulababy Sun 27-Sep-09 20:33:38

Oh - and I think it is okay if the sitter is in your house during the day too; problem comes when the babysitting (or childminding) takes place at the minders/sitters house during the day.

Seriya Sun 27-Sep-09 20:44:47

Hmmm ok. Presumably there's also some exemption if a kid, say, regularly spends an afternoon at a friend's house (and is being watched by that friend's mother), and that arrangement works both ways?

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 27-Sep-09 20:47:11

I posted about this earlier today.

What it means is that my wonderful generous friend is probably going to be breaking the rules for helping me out with DS3, there's no way I'm going to let her do it for nothing, can't offer babysitting so it'll be a "reward" such as chocolates or wine (or both)

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 27-Sep-09 20:49:52

Message withdrawn

Habbibu Sun 27-Sep-09 20:52:42

I wondered about this too - it can't be quite as mad as it initially seems. Also seems pretty much unenforceable.

Febes Sun 27-Sep-09 20:53:02

I am looking after my friends boy this week as a one off. Him and my DD are 6 days apart and we were in antenatal group together. Do I have to go to his house to look after him??

PortAndLemon Sun 27-Sep-09 20:57:16

It doesn't apply to one-offs, or to babysitting (defined as after 6pm). So babysitting circles are fine, and one-offs are fine.

So that's something, although even as it stands it's quite, quite bonkers (I understand what they are trying to achieve, but the sldgehammer-nuttiness of it is still bonkers).

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 27-Sep-09 20:57:36

according to Ofsted - who doesn't need to reigster - babysitting in domestic property between 6pm and 2am doesn't need to be registered.


"If you care for children aged under eight on domestic premises as a childminder without receiving any payment or reward for your services"

and according to the BBC article reward can also be reciprocal babysitting.

Hulababy Sun 27-Sep-09 20:58:41

This is why I looked after my little godson for no "reward" at all once a week. Well, I did get a reward - time spent with my lovely little god child, but no payment, etc. I had to get it all checked out in advance.

The only reward that would have been likely anyway was babysitting, but I think we wre expempt as DD and godson's DD are good friends, and I think regular playdates are ok - not 100% sure though.

The regular recipricol playdate thing is difficult though. Not sure if that is a valid exemption or not, nor how it works.

If I look after my own DD, her best friend and her best friend's little sister every other week, from after school til 6ish (an hour a activity class, but me there too, most weeks included) and friend does it every other week too - are we doing something illegal or not?

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 27-Sep-09 20:58:43

yes but how do they define "one off"

Habbibu Sun 27-Sep-09 21:04:18

I'm assuming that this law doesn't apply in Scotland, anyway...

TheBalladofGayTony Sun 27-Sep-09 21:05:12

snort @ nannystate

Seriya Sun 27-Sep-09 21:14:58

"snort @ nannystate " Surprised that took this long wink

PortAndLemon Sun 27-Sep-09 21:17:48

Hulababy -- possibly. The activity class may make a difference as it means you aren't in your home, so it might be that if you wind up spending less than two hours in your home you'd be OK. Or it might not, if you're looking after them for more than two hours and some of that time is in your own home. I'm hazy on that.

If you were to take your DD, her best friend and her best friend's little sister to the friend's house and look after them there, and then on alternate weeks your friend were to take them to your house and look after them in your house, then there wouldn't be even any vague hint of illegality.

Hulababy Sun 27-Sep-09 21:25:18

I thinkt he last paragraph there just shows how daft some of the rules are! Surely there is much less risk when I a, in my own home,w here know any potential risks, etc. and can be in charge of rules, etc. Hmmm.

Well, things will stay as they are.

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 27-Sep-09 21:27:49

so my friend looking after DS3 from 9-3 tomorrow, and quite probably the same time (but different days) for the next x weeks is illegal then??

PortAndLemon Sun 27-Sep-09 21:31:37

Yes, it is illegal if (a) DS3 is under 8, (b) she does it in her own home (rather than in yours) and (c) you give her anything in return (doesn't need to be cash, could be looking after her DC in return or, technically, a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates hmm).

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 27-Sep-09 21:33:12

and the penalty if caught is???

PortAndLemon Sun 27-Sep-09 21:34:09

Although if you have a sibling you could persuade her to marry she might then count as "close family" and be exempt. Not sure you could sort out the licence in time for 9am tomorrow, though, especially if she has a current spouse she'd need to divorce first...

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 27-Sep-09 21:35:47

oh god that would just make my life even more compicated than it already is,

I do have a sibling, she has an OH (not sure if they're married or not - never thought to ask blush but she's been with him donkey's years anyhow)........nah too complicated

PortAndLemon Sun 27-Sep-09 21:40:15

Realistically, if someone reports it to Ofsted then your friend would get a "we have reason to believe you are acting as an unregistered childminder, please stop it immediately or register" letter from Ofsted, then after a while get a "perhaps we didn't make ourselves clear. Stop it right now, or else..." letter, followed by a "right, we've had enough. If you don't stop it by the time we count to three there will be trouble..." letter (it is possible that I'm oversimplifying slightly grin but that's the general idea). Then eventually if she didn't stop there would be court proceedings and a fine, most likely.

alwayslookingforanswers Sun 27-Sep-09 21:45:32

oh sod it then - I'll take her kindness and if she gets told on, and if it goes on long enough (I really hope it doesn't) I'll just have a bloody good laugh selling the story to the tabloids about how the nanny state is trying to fine someone for carrying out an act of human kindness to a friend in need.........and if the fine could be sent direct to me to pay for a registered childminder then I'd be quite happy to oblige. And I'd make sure I'd fine a tabloid that's happy to include a bit about the state of mental health care in this country as well for good measure.

If I had the money I'd find a registered childminder anyhow - then they could do the school pick-ups and I could spent until 5pm there and then I could stop feeling so guilty about my friends being so bloody nice.

Now - I wonder if she prefers red or white?

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