Ofsted procedures for registering a childminder agency have several key steps to follow. This section explains how to apply, the associated fees, and how long the process takes.
Note: Childminding agencies register childcare providers and help them find suitable parents. They can also give advice, business support, and offer childminder training.
What exactly is a childminder agency in England? It is an organisation that has Ofsted permission to register childminders.
There are some clear advantages of registering with a childminder agency.
Registered childminder agencies will provide a range of useful services to agency members and to parents (e.g. advice and support).
But, setting up a childminder agency in England means you will need to register with Ofsted.
Note: Childminder agency registration can take place as an individual or as a private or public sector organisation (e.g. an academy or a school).
When you register a childminder agency you will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and an interview by Ofsted inspectors. Check out the 'Ofsted DBS Application' process for further details.
There are two different, yet connected, childminding registers you can join. So, depending on your situation as an individual or an organisation, you would need to:
Note: Registration on the compulsory part of the Childcare Register means you can choose to join the voluntary part. But, you must have already registered childminders on the compulsory part to be able to register them on the voluntary part as well.
The full Ofsted registration process can take up to four (4) months to complete when you set up and register as a childminder agency.
Note: The current cost to register as a childminder agency is £220. But, joining the Childcare Register is free if you have already registered on (or applying to register for) the Early Years Register.
Q. Is Registering with a Childminder Agency a Requirement?
The simple answer is 'no'. As an individual childminder you can choose to join an Ofsted-registered childminder agency or you can also choose to maintain your individual Ofsted registration instead.
Q. Can I be Self-employed and Register with a Childminder Agency?
In fact, the best answer to this one is... it would depend on the actual agency.
Some childminding agencies will choose only to employ childminders registered on their official list or directory. Whereas, others will allow childminders to remain in self-employment.
Q. Can I Register with an Agency and Keep My Individual Ofsted Registration?
Once again, the best answer is 'no'. An individual Ofsted registration would become null and void after registering with a childminder agency.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) will answer any questions you may have about the application process.
Telephone: 0300 123 1231
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Review current call charges.
Being inspected as a childminder or childcare provider
Childcare and early learning
How to become a childminder or nanny (England)
Registering as a childcare provider
You must inform Ofsted if any of the recorded details change (e.g. to someone named in your application). Use the notification form CMA3 for to change your registration details.
You will learn whether you can start working as a childminder agency on completion of the registration inspection visit. If so, you will receive a registration certificate by mail.
Once you have registered as a childminder agency, Ofsted can:
Note: You must display your Ofsted registration certificate in your place of work at all times.
Ofsted may turn down your application for becoming a childminder agency. If so, you will receive a letter called a 'notice of intention'. The notice of intention will inform you why Ofsted turned down your application and how to object and appeal.
As a rule, you can choose to withdraw your application at any time. But, you would lose that option if you get a notice of intention to refuse your registration. In this case, they would not refund the registration fee.
Setting Up a Childminder Agency with Ofsted in England