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Failing in Ofsted registration puts child safety at risk

Failing in Ofsted registration puts child safety at risk, REC warns

Parents are placing too much trust in Ofsteds Voluntary Childcare Register when it comes to hiring nannies and could be putting their children at risk, the REC is today warning.

The REC has discovered that the government department Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) is registering nannies that have inadequate or even false documentation to support their registration and recruiters are consequently having to turn these candidates away.

A recent survey carried out by the REC and social media network Mumsnet found that two thirds (67 per cent) of the 1000 mums surveyed see Ofsted registration as a thorough stamp of approval believing that an Ofsted registered nanny has had their ID and police record checked, is properly qualified, has a first aid certificate and is a safe and competent childcarer.

However, childcare recruiters have found that some unqualified nannies are slipping through the net by using false documents to support their application to be on Ofsteds Voluntary Childcare Register. In some cases they have found that applicants dont even have the right to work in the UK.

Judith Ivers, chair of the RECs childcare sector group, said: There are many highly trained, professional nannies working in the UK that are Ofsted registered and provide an excellent level of care and safety to children. However, childcare recruiters are increasingly having to turn away nannies who, despite being listed on Ofsteds Voluntary Childcare Register, are unable to provide the basic documents needed for Ofsted registration.

"We dont want to have to wait for a child to be harmed before Ofsted acts on the flaws in its current system. Despite recruiters turning these nannies away, they are still able to work and independently advertise their services online and could still pose a threat to child safety.

Nine out of ten (90 per cent) of the mothers surveyed also believed that their nannies are regularly inspected by Ofsted, yet Ofsteds own figures highlight that they inspect as few as 10 per cent.

To help mothers ensure that they employ a fully vetted and safe nanny to care for their children, the REC recommends mothers use an REC approved specialist childcare recruitment agency. These agencies abide by a strict code of practice and will ensure that all nannies, whether Ofsted registered or not, have undergone a stringent vetting procedure.

Judith Ivers concluded: Childcare recruiters are professionally trained to carry out a number of candidate background checks, from the Criminal Record Bureau checks through to confirming professional qualifications. This means that they can ensure that each and every nanny that comes through their door is thoroughly vetted before they are sent out on assignment and come in to contact with young children.

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