Following the case of two policewomen who face prosecution for looking after each other children, we reveal what you need to know about this little-known area of the law
Mums have been shocked to learn that arranging with a friend to look after each other’s children as a friendly childcare agreement could land you in court.
This follows the revelation that two policewomen were being investigated as they’d decided to look after each other’s children when the other was at work so that they could job share.
It sounds like a very sensible solution. However, Ofsted rules state that if one person who is not related to a second person provides childcare for their child outside the home for more than 2 hours a day and in return receives a ‘reward’, this childcarer must legally become a registered childminder.
The problem comes with the definition of ‘reward’. Theoretically, this could mean something as small as a box of chocolates or a drink. In the case of the two policewomen, the reward was deemed to be the reciprocal childcare agreement. Ofsted claims that although the mums never exchanged any money, the fact both were able to enjoy free childcare for their daughters was judged to be a reward.
Becoming a registered childminder is a complicated process. You need to undertake training, potentially modify your home and comply with all the rules and regulations of being a registered childminder, including being inspected by Ofsted.
An Ofsted spokesperson said, “The law sets out that childminding requires registration where a person cares for one or more children for reward and at least one child attends for more than two hours in any one day. Reward is not just a case of money changing hands. The supply of services or goods and in some circumstances reciprocal arrangements can also constitute reward."
Do you regularly swap childcare with a friend? Ofsted states that most mums in this situation wouldn’t need to register as childminders as there are exemptions to the rules.
See the full details of Ofsted’s rules.
Me and my sister used to do this as we both worked for a family business and there were 4 children under the age of 5 bwtween us.
Obviously we wouldn't have got into trouble as we are relatives but I think it is absolutly ridiculous that people should be told who can and can't look after their own children.
People are always moaning about woman not working and claiming benefits yet when these woman came up with a solution that suited them both they get into trouble!
After hearing how costly child care is today I think it's no wonder they chose this option.
I think this is what's wrong with our country, the governement stick there nose in when it's not needed but miss poor children who are being neglected and even abused.
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