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56% of childminder applications take longer than 12 weeks
OnJul 23, 2019
By Rachel Lawler
More than half (53%) of childminder applications took longer than 12 weeks to process in 2018, according to statistics released by Ofsted.
Ofsted says that it aims to have most applications to register as a childminder or home childcarer completed within 12 weeks, although some will always fall outside of this timescale due to delays with other agencies or additional investigations.
The statistics show that in 2018, just 44% of childminder applications were completed within 12 weeks, down from 54% in 2017.
New IT system
The update comes after Ofsted confirmed that its process for registering childminders had been affected by delays earlier this year.
Ofsted said that the delays occurred after it switched to a new IT system in July 2018, leaving them unable to process applications for two weeks. After this period, the new system was said to have experienced "challenges" when it went live, leaving a backlog of new registrations to work through.
The statistics also show a significant decrease in the number of applications to register as a childminder with just 2,390 applications in 2018, compared to 3,950 applications in 2017.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “It is disappointing but not surprising to see a 25% reduction in applications for childminding, particularly in light of the record numbers of childminders leaving the sector– 1,000 in the last four months of 2018.
"These declining numbers reflect not only those leaving the sector but the fall in those joining – something surely made worse by the fact that more than half of applications (56%) now take more than the 12 weeks Ofsted advertises as its processing time.
"Childminders are an essential part of the early years sector, offering working parents flexibility, providing quality childcare and helping government to deliver its flagship childcare schemes. The sector is struggling to retain experienced professionals so it seems careless in the extreme to let the registration processes drag on unnecessarily.
"Ofsted needs to address this growing backlog because doing nothing could mean potential childminders will not even consider registering at a time when the sector needs them most."
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