Latest Changes to the Childminder Services Guidance

Latest Changes to the Childminder Services Guidance
The Scottish Government issued a letter to all registered childcare providers last week via the Care Inspectorate Provider Update, which included details of updated COVID-19 guidance for the sector, including childminders, which was shared with you as a PDF. 

The updated guidance can be implemented within your childminding setting from Monday 5 July; however, to allow time for making changes gradually, all settings have until Monday 19 July to begin operating within this new guidance.  

Please be aware that the changes to the Childminder Services Guidance (and the guidance for nurseries and other settings) are linked to the local levels of restrictions (0-4) that we have in different parts of the country, which may differ depending on your local authority area. It is important to keep up to date with the guidance and what you can do in your area, and at each level.

What does this mean for your childminding setting? 
Some changes to the guidance to be aware of include areas such as: 

  • An easing of restrictions on blended placements (in Levels 0-2)
  • PPE - when a child has become unwell with symptoms of COVID and requires direct personal care, the guidance now states that eye protection (in the form of goggles or a visor) should also be worn in addition to gloves, aprons and a surgical mask
  • Visits to settings by professionals - within Levels 0-2 there has been an easing on visits to settings by professionals.
  • Within Levels 0-2 there has been a slight easing of enhanced cleaning requirements in relation to soft furnishings (such as throws)
  • Singing – the updated guidance now permits unrestricted singing in Level 0 (indoors and outdoors) and also in Levels 1-3 outdoors and indoors with appropriate ventilation.

Easing of Restrictions on Blended Placements 
The most important change for childminders and families is an easing of restrictions on blended care. Childminders will be very aware that blended placements have been restricted during the pandemic and that even where they have been allowed - the guidance has, until now, promoted single provider models of childcare firmly as the preferred method of delivery. 

During this time some blended placements have been allowed, but as a secondary consideration and largely where a need could be demonstrated for them. This has been of major concern to us here at SCMA as we are aware how much demand there is for blended care from families and how important this is to many childminding businesses. 

SCMA has worked to influence an easing of restrictions and we’re pleased that the latest guidance marks a distinct change in approach and a move away from single models of childcare being preferred ahead of blended placements.

In summary:

  • Level 0 - all blended placements can go ahead, without restriction, provided they are supported by risk assessments, and the preference for a single model of childcare has been removed
  • Levels 1 and 2 - blended placements need not be restricted provided that one of the settings is caring for fewer than 12 children and that individual placements do not involve more than two settings - and the preference for a single model of childcare has also been removed
  • In Levels 3 and 4 single models of childcare are preferred, but blended placements will continue to be allowed on a case-by-case basis

Video Update 
You may find it helpful to watch a short video update from SCMA Chief Executive, Graeme McAlister, which helps to outline the changes to the latest Childminder Services Guidance and what this could mean for your setting. Watch our latest video here 

Please familiarise yourself with this updated guidance which you can begin following from Monday 5 July, but all settings have until Monday 19 July to fully implement any changes.

Check what level your local authority area is in / Childminder Services Guidance PDF  / SCMA COVID-19 FAQs