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Making childcare arrangements

17 March 2017

Once you have chosen a childcare provider, you may want to set up a formal agreement that clearly states what is being provided and at what cost. Other agreed terms and conditions can include:

  • Details of any fee or deposit to secure your child’s place
  • The date the contract starts
  • What is included in the cost, such as nappies, food days out, etc.
  • The days and hours your child will be with the childcare provider
  • What happens about payment if your child or the childcare provider is sick
  • What happens during time off for holidays and bank holidays
  • The notice period you need to give for holidays
  • Any personal preferences such as limiting your child’s TV watching
  • Any health issues that need to be managed such as allergies
  • The notice period to terminate the contract and if there is any payment due

Once the details of the contract have been agreed it should be signed and dated by all parties. Each party should retain a copy.

Your child’s safety – ten things you should know

1. Firstly, what is safeguarding? In a nutshell, safeguarding is about keeping all children safe and protecting them from all types of harm.
2. Whether you use a Childminder, Nursery, Pre-School, Holiday club, or after school club, all providers have to register with Ofsted; who will inspect them regularly to make sure that your child has the best possible care. You can find out more in a guide Inspecting registered childcare providers: information for parents.

3. All childcare providers have to keep your children safe whilst in their care and most providers will need to have a written policy about how they do this. You can ask to see this if it’s not been shared with you.

4. Your childcare provider should share any concerns about your child with you. However please be aware that they have a legal duty to report any worries that they may have if they suspect a child may have been harmed.

5. All childcare providers must have a person who is specially trained and qualified to manage any safeguarding concerns. You should be told the name of this person. If you are using a childminder, this will be the childminder themselves.

6. All staff working in early years and childcare settings must have checks to make sure that they are suitable to work with your child before they are employed which have to be renewed each year.

7. When employing new staff a childcare provider must also obtain suitable references before they employ anyone.

8. All members of staff should have safeguarding training which is renewed regularly.

9. You should be told how to raise an issue or make a complaint if you are unhappy about anything.

10. Does your child have music lessons, attend a sports club or something similar? Take a look at the guidance for parents in choosing activities, clubs or personal tuition for children and young people.
You can find lots more useful information on the Essex Safeguarding Children’s Board (ESCB) website.

Making a complaint about your childcare provider

If you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s care within the childcare setting, speak to the provider about your concerns. This will often solve most problems. If you are still not satisfied you might need to ask them about their complaints procedure.
If you have made a formal complaint and feel it is unresolved you can contact Ofsted, which can investigate complaints or concerns about the quality of childcare provided by Ofsted-registered childcare providers or childminders, or about people providing childcare who are not registered with them. 
If you have concerns for a child's safety or wellbeing call our Health and Social care line on 0345 603 7627.