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Legal Requirements

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Income tax and National Insurance

The information below is primarily for childminders registered in England. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland please make sure you are referring to the right country's information within the HMRC site.

Most registered childminders are self-employed and run their own business. You can check whether you are employed or self-employed on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website.

Being self-employed means that you are responsible for paying your own tax and National Insurance contributions so you must register your business with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for self-assessment and National Insurance purposes

National Insurance Contributions

If you're self-employed you normally have to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions. If your annual profits are over a certain amount you also pay Class 4 contributions. In certain circumstances you may be exempt from paying. Find out more about Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions, including exceptions, by following the links below.

Class 2 National Insurance contributions

Class 4 National Insurance contributions

You have a legal responsiblity to keep financial records. The Finance Act 1994 and the Finance Bill 2016 state that accurate records must be kept. Information about what records you need to keep can be found on HMRC website.

We have created a 'Managing your Financial Records Guide and Resource pack' especially for you. This is an easy to use guide about running the tax and insurance side of a childminding business and is set out in 3 easy sections

  • What you need to know

  • What you need to do and how to do it

  • Forms that you can use and guidance on how and when to use them

Great resource - this has really helped me to organise my finances and I now know what I can and cannot put down as expenses

Managing your Financial Records Guide and Resource Pack

This guide makes understanding your financial requirements straightforward and the forms that are included, help organise your income and expenses so that you can complete your tax returns with confidence

HMRC have agreed expenses allowable specifically for registered childminders which can be found in their Business Income Manual- childminders expenses.

HMRC also have a free online learning product aimed specifically at Childminders. This learning aid will take you through all aspects of self employment from registration to submitting returns. The main benefit of this targeted learning tool is that it has all of the information on the allowances available to childminders which are different to those for the general self employed people. Please use this link to access this online learning. There is also a handy online ready reckoner which allows you to calculate how much you need to set aside for tax and insurance contributions.

National Insurance Credits

National Insurance credits for parents and carers have replaced the Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) which was a scheme designed to protect a persons State Pension.

You may still be able to apply for HRP if you were:

  • caring for a sick or disabled person for a complete tax year before April 2010
  • a foster carer for a complete tax year before April 2010

National Insurance credits for parents and carers replaced HRP from 6 April 2010. If you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010 and you had years of HRP before 6 April 2010, these years have been converted into National Insurance credits, up to a maximum of 22 years. These will go towards your basic State Pension.

Insurance for Childminders

Public Liability Insurance

This needs to be in place as soon as you receive your registration certificate and maintained even if you are not currently caring for children

There are several companies who provide this - but do check levels of cover as well as price as you need to make sure you have enough insurance cover. Some Local Authorities will state the amount of cover you must have if you are providing government funded childcare places.

Childminding UK Annual Members can access discount on Public Liability Insurance with Morton Michel. LINK TO MEMBERSHIP PAGE

Car Insurance

If you plan to transport children in your car, you need to be covered for business use on your car insurance. Some companies charge extra for this.

Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act 1998 covers correct storage and sharing of both manual and electronic information. There are eight principles put in place by the Data Protection Act 1998 to make sure that information is handled properly.

They say that data must be:

  1. fairly and lawfully processed;
  2. processed for limited purposes;
  3. adequate, relevant and not excessive;
  4. accurate;
  5. not kept for longer than is necessary;
  6. processed in line with your rights;
  7. secure; and,
  8. not transferred to countries without adequate protection.

If, in your work as a childminder, you store sensitive details about other people on your computer or any digital format (including PDAs and photos on digital cameras), you will need to notify the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) that you are a "data controller" for data protection purposes. The ICO is the UK's independent public body set up to promote access to official information and protect personal information.

If you are in any doubt about whether you will need to register, we have helped you by finding the telephone number you can call for clarification.

If registered in England call the ICO on 0303 123 1113

If registered in Wales call the ICO on 029 2067 8400

If registered in Scotland call the ICO on 0131 244 9001

If registered in Northern ireland call the ICO on 028 9027 8757

The ICO has confirmed that childminders’ data protection responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998 are as follows:

  • If you keep all your childminding records on paper, you do not need to notify the ICO.
  • If you keep information about the names, ages and addresses of children and their parents, details of payments, or any data for staff administration on a computer, purely for accounts and records purposes, you are also exempt from notification.
  • But if you keep more extensive records, or information of a more sensitive nature, for example about children's health, behaviour or development, on a computer then you need to contact the ICO to find out if you need to notify.
  • Also, if you are going to be taking digital photographs of the children in your care, you will be expected to register with the ICO.

If you are not sure if you need to register with the ICO or not, you can use their online self-assessment tool

The notification costs £35 a year and you can either complete your notification online at www.ico.org.uk or request the forms by calling the office of the relevent country.

We have created a Data Protection Online course specifically for Registered Childminders

Data Protection Online Training

Our online Data Protection Course is unique in that we give you all the information you need regarding the Data Protection Act, but also go step by step through the Data Protection Principles and link them to the EYFS explaining what you actually need to do

Disclosure and Barring Service

You and anyone connected to your childminding business, including household members over the age of 16 need to have DBS checks including signing up to the update service. You will need to pay for all DBS checks.

If you live in England will need to firstly visit the Capita website as they have to check your identity before you can apply for DBS checks. Everyone who has a DBS check will receive a copy of their disclosure by post.

If you live in Wales you will need to apply through the CSSIW website

If you live in Scotland you will need to apply through mygov.scot

If you live in Northern Ireland you will need to apply through [nidirect government services])https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/accessni-criminal-record-checks)

Environmental Health and Safety

If you are starting up a childminding business in England and want to provide food/drink you must inform Ofsted who will automatically register you with the Food Standards Agency. In Wales and Northern Ireland you must register with your local authority or district council. Advice for childminders Scotland can be found on Food Standards Scotland

All childminders who provide food are responsible under food law to ensure that food is prepared, stored and handled in compiance with the food hygiene regulations

Check with your Food Standards Agency for your responsibilities. In England the Food Standards Agency has produced some useful guidance about these responsibilities and a Safer Foods Better Business pack with further advice. If you need further advice you should contact your local authority Environmental Health department.

We have produced a Food Hygiene online training course that has been written specifcally for registered childminders.

Food Hygiene Online Course

We have produced the only online Food Hygiene course available which has been designed and written specifically for Registered Childminders. It has been validated by Cherwell and South Northants Public Health Team as part of our Primary Health Authority Partnership for Childminding UK Members. It is recommended you complete Food Hygiene training every 3 years.

This is what one childminder who had completed our online Food Hygiene training course told us.

Fantastic course - it has enabled me to follow and maintain a high standard of food hygiene safety and helped me to understand what and why I record information about allergens in food that I provide

SEND and Inclusion

Childminders have a legal duty to treat all children equally according to their needs, to help them develop to their full potential. You must also consider whether a child may have a special educational need and/or a disability which requires specialist support.

If you are registered in England on the Early Years Register you must adhere to the following:

The Statutory Framework for the Early Year’s Foundation Stage which states:

Special educational needs

Providers must have arrangements in place to support children with SEN or disabilities. Maintained schools, maintained nursery schools and other providers who are funded by the local authority to deliver early education places must have regard to the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice. Maintained schools and maintained nursery schools must identify a member of staff to act as Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and other providers (in group provision) are expected to identify a SENCO. Childminders are encouraged to identify a person to act as a SENCO and childminders who are registered with a childminder agency or who are part of a network may wish to share a role between them.

Please contact your local authority to find out what the process is and who can offer support in your area.

SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years

The English code of practice includes for the first time a dedicated chapter for early years providers explaining what they must do to meet their duties to identify and support all children with SEN, whether or not they have an Education Healthcare Plan (EHC plan).

If you are registered in England Download the Code of Practice for England

If you are registered in Wales please download the Code of Practice for Wales

If you are registered in Scotland please download the Code of Practice for Scotland

If you are registered in Northern Ireland please download the Code of Practice for Northern Ireland

We have produced an online training course to help you understand why you need to know about the SEND Code of Practice 2015 and how to implement it into your setting; what to record and how you might achieve this together with how you can communicate effectively with others.

Working with Children who have Special Educational Needs or Disability

This online course will be invaluable in helping you to follow the Code of Practice and it includes downloadable forms that you can use to set realistic targets for the children in your care. It explains how to make any reasonable adjustments needed and how to work with parents and other professionals who may be involved with the child.

SEN and Disability in the Early Years Toolkit

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) have produced a toolkit for SEN and disability in the early years. Each section of the toolkit provides a briefing on a particular aspect of the SEN and disability reforms as they apply to early years providers.

Download the SEN and Disability in the Early Years Toolkit

Speech and Language support

The Communication Trust has some excellent early years resources, including a free online course about supporting children's speech language and communication

Safeguarding Children

As a registered childminder you have a legal responsibility to safeguard children. It is crucial that you keep up to date with the procedures for safeguarding children and it is your responsibility to ensure this.The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has lots of useful information to help. Please view the NSPCC website to see which documents are applicable to the country you live in.

The information below is primarily for childminders registered in England.

All childminders must have attended Safeguarding Children training and keep their knowledge up to date.

Safeguarding Children Online Course

We can help you to keep up to date with our online course. Ofsted have confirmed that they will accept online safeguarding training providing it meets the requirements of the EYFS.

Childminders have a legal responsibility in the Early Years Foundation Stage 3.4. – 3.8. to understand the signs of possible abuse and neglect and to know how to respond accordingly in order to obtain help for the child.

You must have and implement a policy and procedures designed to help safeguard the children in your care, including the use of mobile phones and the action you will take if there is an allegation against you or a member of you family.

It is not compulsory for childminders to have written policies if on the Early Years register however it is a requirement if you are registered on the Childcare Register (CR2.1). If you do not have a written policy please consider how you will inform parents about your responsibilities.

CUK is a one stop shop for training and polices - I cannot recommend them enough

Policies and Procedures Resource Pack

We have produced a policy and procedure pack. which contains a safeguarding policy which you can simply edit and use

Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB)

Every area has a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) with some areas working together and creating a joint LSCB. Your Local Safeguarding Children Board will have produced interagency safeguarding procedures with a view to ensuring consistency. It is important that you are aware of how you access the information from your LSCB. Some LSCB websites allow you to sign up for updates and/or newsletters so that you are informed when there are changes to the information.

Each Local Authority decides on the thresholds that are used to determine if a child is at risk of significant harm. In your area, these may be produced by the LSCB or by the Local Authority themselves. You need to be aware of these, so it is important that you find out where you can access these for your area.

Each LSCB is likely to recommend what content needs including in Safeguarding training with two of the newer elements being Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). If your last training did not cover these elements or you would like to refresh your knowledge of these two areas, there are two free online courses available for you. Please note that these may NOT replace your standard Safeguarding Refresher training.

Free online training in Child Sexual Exploitation

Free online training in Female Genital Mutilation

The Childminding UK online Safeguarding Course covers basic information about both of these subjects

Allegations

If an allegation of child abuse is made against you or a member of your family you must contact Ofsted and the Designated Officer (DO) (formally known as the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)). Details of how to refer and contact your DO will be available from your LSCB.

Information Sharing

It is vital that you know what information you are allowed to share to safeguard children, who you can share this information with and when it is right to do so. The Government guide about Information Sharing will help you identify how to share information correctly in order to help safeguard children

Government Safeguarding Documents

All childcare providers must also have regard to the Governments statutory guidance document Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 and if there are concerns about a child's safety or welfare, you must use your LSCB’s guidance to obtain help for the child concerned.

What to do if you are worried a child is being abused 2015 is aimed at all those who come into contact with young children including childminders

All childcare providers may find Keeping Children Safe in Education helpful to refer to.

Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years Information

Ofsted have produced guidance for Inspectors regarding what needs to be in place in settings regarding safeguarding. View this document and a summary of the main changes.

Below is a summary of some of the changes - you need to make sure you have included these in your childminding practice.

  • A designated safeguarding lead needs to be available all the time the setting is open- for childminders working alone, this will not mean any change.

  • All staff and leaders to receive regular updates on safeguarding at least annually- this can be done through e- bulletins from your local authority, updates/newsletters from your LSCB and email. And of course you need to find time to read them to receive the information that allows you to fulfil this requirement.

  • Schools and settings to have appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place to protect learners from harmful online material – this includes ensuring children are taught about safeguarding risks online

  • Staff behaviour policy - this won't affect childminders who work alone, but will affect those of you who employ others. It is not yet known if this policy would need to be in writing.

  • Clarification that designated staff need to have safeguarding training every two years.

Prevent Duty

From September 2015, registered childminders in Scotland England and Wales will need to know about the Prevent Duty.

The Prevent duty is the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on specified authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

Part of this requirement is to promote fundematal British Values- most of which you will already be doing as part of your day to day childminding work. There are 2 guidance documents available for schools and early years providers. It is important that you read these documents.

Prevent Duty advice for schools and childcare providers

Fundamental British Values in the Early Years

When inspected you will need to be able to show ' a clear approach to implementing the Prevent duty and keeping children and learners safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism'. You will need to add information about the Prevent Duty to your safeguarding policy.

At Childminding UK we have created both 'suggestions for safeguarding policy' and 'our purchased safeguarding policies' which have already included the Prevent Duty for you

Download the relevent Prevent Duty Guidance for either Scotland, England or Wales

Prevent Duty and British Values Online Course

This course covers information about the Prevent Duty and the Channel Process. It also covers what British Values are, and how you can implement them into your day to day work with children. It also explains what Ofsted will be looking for when they carry out your inspection.

British Values Poster - Download

We have designed this poster particularly for childminders who care for young children. It shows simply what the 4 British Values are and and examples of what you do in your childminding setting to promote them. It is available as either a downloadable version or a hard copy ready for you to print, laminate and display as you choose

Safeguarding Acronyms

Childminding UK aim to always explain what commonly used acronyms stand for and has produced a handy glossary of the acronyms you may come across in case you will find it helpful.

Glossary of Safeguarding Acronyms

Confused about what LSCB or all the other acronyms that are used in safeguarding mean? This FREE glossary gives clear explanations for you

Other Safeguarding Information

This section contains information you may find helpful. Some of it will help you meet your legal requirements and others are guidance about standard safeguarding practice.

National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) helpline

This helpline for children and young people is manned 24 hours a day and 7 days each week by experienced and specially trained staff and volunteers who will offer to share information with the Police.

The helpline number is 116 000.

NSPCC site

The NSPCC website has lots of information for parents/carers and childcarers to help keep children safe including the underwear rule, advice about online safety and advice about baby and toddler safety.

The NSPCC have launched a new national whistle blowing helpline.

Callers to the freephone number will be offered expert advice in confidence and their anonymity will be protected if the complaint is taken any further.

And because the service is being delivered by the NSPCC, which is a ‘prescribed body’, whistleblowers who face a backlash at work will have a special legal protection under employment law.

The helpline can be reached on 0800 028 0285 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday

Private Fostering Arrangements

Private Fostering is where a child under 16 years (18 years with a disablity) is cared for for 28 days or more by someone who is not a close relative, guardian or a person who has parental responsibility. There is a legal requirement for the local authority to be informed of any private fostering placement.

The local authority will visit the child and foster carer(s) and make sure their needs are being met. They will also offer support and advice to the child, parents and foster carers.

If any of your minded children are being cared for in a private fostering arrangement, please inform your local children's services team.

Online safety advice for children

The NSPCC has it's Share Aware campaign aimed at parent and carers of children aged 8-12 years. Included is a downloadable guide and access to hard copies of parent booklets.

National Crime Agency - Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre (CEOP) 'thinkuknow' website for internet safety guidance for the use of parents/carers and children age from 5 upwards

Understanding the links between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence- information for professionals

“We put a pet to sleep which had been neglected by its owners. Later those same people were jailed for neglecting a child. Could we have made a difference?"

There is increasing research into the links betwen animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence. The NSPCC guide 'Understanding the links, animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence- information for professionals' suggests that most agencies do not include cruelty to animals as part of their assessment into child abuse. Much is being done in the UK to highlight these links.

Signs of neglect in pre-school children

NSPCC have produced numerous leaflets about the signs, indicators and effects of abuse.

Downloadable Guide to help Protect Children from Sexting

This free guide is available from Virtual College

Fire Safety tips

Childminding UK has received information from Fire Protection Online (part of the Fire Service) and suggested we may like to share it if we felt it would be useful to childminders and parents. So here it is! This article was written last year and you will see reference to socket covers which considering the latest thinking around the safety of current socket covers may be something you decide to risk assess for yourselves.

Delivering better oral health: an evidence based toolkit for prevention

This toolkit covers general oral health and not just children's oral health. It includes advice on toothbrushing and healthy eating.

Public Health England (PHE)

Public Health England was established on 1 April 2013 to bring together public health specialists from more than 70 organisations into a single public health service. PHE provides expert public health advice, support and services tailored to local needs. There are several local centres across England and health protection teams who can assist with specific health protection enquiries. Look up your local centre Download the fact sheet 'Looking after children and those in early years settings during heatwaves: guidance for teachers and professionals'

How to Protect Yourself from Allegations of Abuse

We have produced this useful FREE guide to help you understand the steps you can take to help prevent allegations of abuse against, you or other members of your family.

Jury service

Jury Service is a public duty. In England and Wales if you are sent a Jury Summons you must complete and return within 7 days.

Jury service normally lasts for up to 10 working days.

Jury Service is unpaid but you can claim expenses for food, travel and loss of earnings. However there are limits to what you can claim and they may not cover all your lost income. Expenses cannot be claimed until the end of your jury service .

It is possible to apply for your Jury Service to be deferred until a later date, but there must be a valid reason for your application and you may have to give evidence to support your request. Examples may be that you will be on holiday or are due to go into hospital for treatment. You can only defer Jury Service once in a 12 month period and you must let them know when you would be available.

Alternatively you can request to be excused from Jury Service due to work commitments. Every request is considered on an individual basis and the court may not agree that you can be excused. If you are a busy childminder caring for children from several families who would find it difficult to either find alternative childcare or take time off work themselves, you may wish to request to be excused from Jury Service. Also, you may not be able to afford to lose the childminding fees if they are much more than the expenses you are allowed to claim for loss of earnings. Expect to have to give some evidence of how many children would be involved, the amount of earnings you would be losing and letters from parents explaining their difficulties in finding alternative care for their child(ren).

If you request to be excused from Jury Service or to have your Jury Service deferred and your request is refused, you will have to attend.

The English and Welsh Government website has more information, including the maximum expenses you can claim which you may find useful. Click here for information on Scotland and Northern Ireland

Employing and working with assistants

When considering taking on an assistant to work with you, there are certain things you should take into consideration before you decide.

The information below is for childminders primarily registered in England. For childminders registered in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland please check what additional requirements you need to meet.

  • Please be aware that you cannot leave an assistant alone with children for more than two hours in any one day (so, for example, if they were left alone with any children during the ‘school-run’, this should not be for more than two hours during the combined ‘school-runs’)
  • Look at the following websites (1) Employing Staff - this will inform you about your responsibilities when employing assisstants. (2) Direct gov - will give you additional information.
  • You should also become familiar with the HMRC website as there are other requirements which HMRC need to ensure you are meeting, around employers’ responsibilities regarding Minimum Wage, Income Tax, National Insurance, whether an assistant can be considered as employed or self-employed etc.
  • If you would like general information about employing others, ACAS has information about recruitment, contracts, sick pay and lots more.
  • contract will be needed to reflect the terms and conditions agreed, including the general rights and obligations that you and your worker agree with each other e.g. working hours and conditions.
  • Think about what training plan you would need to put place for their development and what training they need to do before they start including an induction plan. The EYFS, page 20; 3.20 suggests induction training must include information about emergency evacuation procedures, safeguarding, child protection, the providers equality policy (not necessarily written) and health and safety issues.
  • Written records of the assistant will need to be kept including those detailing their personal details, CPD, Supervisions and Appraisals.
  • You must have planned Supervisions meetings in place for the assistants with evidence to show Ofsted.
  • There may be financial implications to your business planning
  • An assistant will need to attend a 12 hour Paediatric First Aid course, if they are to be left alone with the children. (It would be good practice for assistants to obtain a paediatric first aid certificate, even if they are not being left alone with children). You may wish to check with your - - Local Authority to see if there is any funded Paediatric First Aid training available.
  • Other training may also need to be funded. An additional fee may be required by your insurance company. If you wish the assistant to wear ‘uniform’ this will also need paying for.
  • Each assistant must have a DBS checks and register for the update service.
  • DBS checks must be completed by Capita using this web page The person requiring a DBS check must create a Government Gateway account. Once this has been created access the capita website as stated above to fill in the application form for a DBS. Please note, the applicant must apply for the update service, an additional cost will be incurred. The update service can be applied for either at the time of application or up to 19 days after the date of the DBS certificate being issued (If the window of 19 days is missed you will need to reapply for a new DBS check this would include paying the full costs again.) It is good practice to devise a system to ensure you do not miss the renewal date of the update service. Even though you may have clicked the automatic update this does not always work. If you miss the renewal you will need to reapply for a whole new DBS and register with the update service again incurring all costs.
  • Once the DBS certificate has been obtained the person will need to complete an EY2 form following the links from the Ofsted Online portal (remember to put the DBS number on the EY2 form) return this to Ofsted and await a letter confirming whether the person is suitable

  • Think about what induction and training plan is in place for their development (have they read the policies, are they aware of fire exits, do they know where first aid kit is, what child care training have they had, in house training – you explaining observation for example! etc.) How will you manage formal supervision and appraisal meetings? They should be conducted on a regular basis and formally recorded. This is unlikely to be feasible whilst children are present.

  • You should also think about how your consent forms include the assistants i.e. applying sun cream, taking photos, emergency medical assistance etc.
  • If assistants are needed to pick up from school or be left alone with the children then it is suggested that the parents’ written consent is obtained. Assistants cannot be left alone with the children until they have obtained paediatric first aid. Your public liability insurer needs to be told that you are working with assistants as the appropriate cover will be required.
  • Your register will need to show when the assistant is working. It will also need to show how ratios are shared between the adults when on and off the premises. A key person system should be in place, each key person should be responsible for their own observations. Consider EYFS Welfare Requirements 3.27, 3.28 and 3.29
  • You should think about how you handle your planning when working with assistants - how do they know what each child’s individual learning is? Are you likely to need a planning meeting? How would this be managed?
  • Don’t forget the ratio numbers for childminders section 3.41, 3.42 and3.4 3. And don’t forget to think about the space requirements under Premises for each child on EYFS Welfare Requirements3.57, 3.58, 3.59, 3.60, 3.61, 3.62 and 3.63.
  • Download Ofsted Disclosure and Barring Service checks factsheet

Guide to Working with Assistants (including supervisions and appraisals)

There is a lot to think about when taking on an assistant so at Childminding UK we have produced a useful Guide to working with assistants (including supervisions and appraisals) which contains sample proformas to help you to record inductions, supervisions and appraisals as well as prompts to ensure you are meeting all your legal requirements.

The 'Assistant Guide' has been such a valuable resource - it has helped me get all my paperwork in place for my assistant

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