I signed the recent petition on Reciprocal Childcare after the recent news that two friends who job-shared and cared for each others' children were stopped by Ofsted and told they would need to register as Childminders.
This was the Government's response:
The Childcare Act 2006 requires anyone providing childcare for reward to register with Ofsted, with the aim of ensuring every child in a commercial childcare service is safe and well cared for. Parents would expect no less. However, our intention has always been that friends and families caring for children through informal arrangements should be exempt from having to register and we believed that was what always happened. In the light of this recent case we are talking to Ofsted about how we can make sure theres a shared understanding with Ofsted, and with parents, of what the law means and how it should interpreted.
(there was also a bit at the bottom about how much lolly they are throwing parents' way every day to help pay for childcare, etc etc)
It was also on the news last night that the police officers in question were told that they could resume their arrangement unhindered.
Yes - the Government seem to be trying to blame Ofsted / at least make Ofsted look a bit silly and overzealous...but I do have sympathy with them, as the regulations are so specific about how many hours are allowed, whose house it should be in, etc
Given that it's been discussed all over parenting boards for years that that wasn't "what always happened" it's pretty staggeringly incompetent of the Government not to have been aware of how the rules were being interpreted. If they weren't aware, which I don'tbelieveforonemoment have my doubts about.