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Local authorities urged to work with childminder agencies

A children’s charity is working with the Department for Education to encourage local authorities to form strong partnerships with childminder agencies or consider becoming childminder agencies themselves.

4Children is holding information events for local authorities on how to successfully work with local childminder agencies at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre in London today, and the Leeds Hilton tomorrow.

The Department for Education introduced childminder agencies in 2013 to register childminders with Ofsted on a voluntary basis and provide them with training, advice, administrative support and marketing to families.

4Children chief executive, Imelda Redmond CBE, said: “With the doubling of the free childcare entitlement for working families with three and four years olds just around the corner, we need all childcare providers to work collaboratively to build capacity and provide the flexible childcare that families need. With their in-depth local knowledge and expertise in promoting high quality childcare, local authorities are ideally placed to play a lead role in this important agenda.”

Richmond and Kingston borough councils opened Leap Ahead, the first childminder agency to provide services for a local authority, in September 2015.

The agency is run by Achieving for Children, a social enterprise that provides the two authorities’ children’s services, and has registered 15 childminders so far.

Richmond Council’s cabinet member for children and schools, Cllr Paul Hodgkins, said: “We are proud to launch this innovative approach to childminding which puts the safety and wellbeing of children at the heart of the service.”


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