A Government review of the childcare sector highlights the bureaucracy providers face in meeting regulatory requirements.

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The report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) reveals the extent to which nurseries and childminders are being given conflicting and often confusing advice from various regulatory authorities.

It is based on a total of 44 responses from the sector, along with face-to-face discussions and visits to 18 childcare providers.

According to the report, confusion exists among providers over demarcation limits between various regulatory authorities and their statutory remits.

Very few providers were able to explain to BIS’s Enforcement Action Team the differences between Ofsted’s general role in ensuring child well-being and those of other regulatory authorities, such as environmental health, which the report says has created a ‘clear overlap’.

One example given was of a small rural day nursery being ordered by their local authority to register as a food business for the purposes of food safety regulation, even though children are only given cheese and crackers, with fruit, as a mid-morning snack.

Another provider complained of having to choose between the advice of fire authority officers to keep fire doors closed at all times and an Ofsted inspector who said that keeping the doors closed impeded free-flow play.

The authors of the report note that while free flow is not a legal requirement, fire safety regulations are statutory requirements. Read full article…

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