By Penny Watts, Director, BAPN - the association for professional nannies (guest post - personal opinion)
I have been a nanny for over 30 years. During this time, I have had a lot of dealings with Ofsted. I have been visited twice for an inspection and, unfortunately, both times had problems with the people who inspected me.
But my ongoing issue with Ofsted, that I encounter every year, is that they do not give receipts.
My Ofsted registration is sent through at the beginning of August. This always coincides with the week that my boss goes on their two or three-week holiday.
I am fortunate that my boss pays for my Ofsted registration. So as soon as they are back from their holiday, I am there with my letter asking them to pay, which they do.
The reason that they have agreed to pay is because they are allowed to claim vouchers.
Other than claiming vouchers, the Ofsted registration actually has no benefit to me as a nanny. Having said this, I have always strongly agreed that we need to have a nanny register for our profession. But I am unclear how this can cost so much money and have no benefit to the nanny at all.
Getting back on track with this moan about Ofsted.
In October, I realised that the voucher company had stopped paying me the vouchers. This is always slightly hard to work out and confusing, as the voucher money does not get paid at the same time as my wages. Sometimes I forget to check that it has gone into my bank at all.
At this point, my good bosses paid me immediately what I was owed and then we all set about trying to figure out why the payments had stopped. I rang the voucher company and they said it was because we had not given them a receipt to show that I was still Ofsted registered.
I explained I don't receive a receipt from Ofsted, and never have, other than my original paperwork, which was back in 2008. I then proceeded to ask my boss if he had a receipt from his payment, but he had paid online and had no receipt either.
The voucher company advised me to phone Ofsted, which I did, and after several phone calls and hanging on for a very long period of time, I eventually got through to somebody who said they do not give receipts. This is a problem that I have had before and the lady at Ofsted said she had been aware of other similar problems which she had reported to Ofsted before. Eventually, she agreed to send me an email so that I could prove to them I was still registered with Ofsted.
As I am a director of BAPN, I have had the opportunity to actually go up to Ofsted headquarters in London and speak to somebody on several different issues that nannies have concerns about. One of which was why they cannot provide a receipt. According to Ofsted, this takes too much time and effort and, because Ofsted is a rolling registration, they only need to know when you are not re-registering. Which is why they don't see that they have to send out a receipt.
As I have explained to Ofsted, not only would a receipt be good for proving that you are Ofsted registered to companies like voucher companies, it is also something that I have to explain every time I go for a new job, because they look at the Ofsted registration form and think that I have not bothered to re-register since 2008. I then have to explain it is a rolling registration and if they want to check online they will see that I am still registered.
I truly believe that it would be far easier for Ofsted to send an email saying this person has re-registered for another year on the Ofsted nanny register.
I think it would be a good idea to have a receipt because I have heard of nannies showing people their old registrations but not actually still being registered. If their boss doesn't use the vouchers then some nannies don't see why they need to be Ofsted registered.
Parents are often confused about Ofsted registration as they feel that if a nanny is Ofsted registered they will have been visited and vetted by Ofsted. However, to be Ofsted registered as a nanny is merely filling out a few forms – which anyone could do. I always explain this to parents, but I know there are a lot of parents who just think that because their nanny is Ofsted registered she's completely fine and they don't need to do any more checks. I think this is a loophole that really could do with being sorted.
So, sending out an email that nannies could be print off saying that the person is registered for another year with Ofsted registration would:
- stop nannies being able to say they're registered when they're not;
- provide a receipt for any voucher companies or anybody else who needs to see proof;
- make nannies feel they're getting something for their money.
Although I know I've just had a big moan about Ofsted, I truly believe that to be a professional nanny you should be on a register, but I do still think it could be done better and hope that maybe someone from Ofsted might read this and make it better soon.
Regulation Matters: “The Campaign calls for the registration of all childcarers in the UK, so that nannies and other home childcarers are brought under the same regulatory umbrella.”: