The Organisation for Childminder Agencies, OFCMA, is an Unincorporated Charity that is made up of representatives from Ofsted Registered Childminder Agencies.
We set up so that we can campaign more effectively as the voice of the sector, rather than as disparate agencies. OFCMA act as a formal representation of the sector in regional and national arenas. The organisation also allows and encourages experience and knowledge to be shared within the sector.
Here at OFCMA we are passionate about ensuring our childminders feel supported and this has never been more important than now. We know how difficult the circumstances are currently under the COVID-19 situation, for all our childminders.
Some of you will be open for key worker families and vulnerable children. You are at the frontline, helping other critical workers to continue to work.
Some of you will have closed because you do not have any key worker children. You will be feeling concerned, upset and worried about not seeing those children you have built a bond with for an indeterminate amount of time, and about the future of your businesses.
Some of you will be closed to self-isolate or to keep your own families safe, all of these situations come with their own concerns and worries.
OFCMA would like to take this opportunity to reiterate to all agency registered childminders that we will continue to support you with every element of your childminding business, as we always have. Stay safe and well!
To provide mutual integrated support to enable our members to deliver high-quality services to their registered childminders and to be the visible leading voice for Ofsted registered childminder agencies.
OFCMA has five key objectives:
- Ensure high standards of childcare and early education through providing exemplary services to childminders registered with our member CMAs
- Promote the benefits of using high quality registered childminders to families
- Promote the benefits of registering with an Ofsted registered childminder agency who is a member of OFCMA to new entrants and existing childminders.
- To promote the role and responsibilities of CMAs to the wider sector such as statutory bodies e.g. Local Authorities and the wider maintained and PVI sector to encourage further cooperation and sharing of information
- To contribute to policy and best practice in the wider Early Years sector at local, regional and national levels.
Code of Practice
Membership of OFCMA confirms commitment to our objectives.
To be a member of OFCMA the Agency must be Registered with Ofsted and following their first full Ofsted inspection judgement be graded ‘effective’.
All member agencies will:
- Provide registration, support, regulation, inspection and training services to their registered providers that meet and continually strive to exceed the National Minimum Standards outlined in the CMA’s regulations, A Guide for Childminder Agencies;
- Support other members by practical means or through peer support on the delivery of services;
- Maintain high standards of childminder agencies and commercial practice, including abiding by the agreed Protocol of Transfer of Childminders (Appendix A). This requires us all to follow up ‘check’ requests and release CPD and summary of inspection(s) in line with our individual agency information sharing policy in a timely manner, within no more than 15 working days (see point 4 of Minimum Standards);
- Be respectful of professional geographical areas where each member agency operates;
- Maintain the confidentiality of information shared by other members and not use this information to gain competitive advantage, excluding any safeguarding;
- Contribute, through OFCMA, to the debate on matters affecting the
- Not speak on behalf of OFCMA unless authorised by OFCMA;
- Notify the Executive Committee immediately of any enforcement action being taken or proposed by Ofsted or any other statutory body;
- Notify the Executive Committee immediately about any member who fails to act in accordance with this Code of Practice and/or in any way takes actions likely to bring OFCMA into disrepute;
- Commit to attend 3 meetings annually.
In applying to be a member of OFCMA, a provider is also agreeing to the bound by this Code of Practice.
Minimum Standards for childminder agencies are outlined in A Guide for Childminder Agencies. All our members agencies must comply with the requirements as outlined in the Guide document. However, our members also demonstrate excellence and the highest standards by continually aiming to exceed standards. This is conveyed by the following:
To exceed the regulations, member agencies should:
- provide honest, open and transparent information, advice and guidance e.g. an information briefing to recruit new agency childminders;
- DBSs must be home-based for childminders and household members
living at the domestic premises where childcare will take place;
- ensure registered childminder’s DBSs, and those of their household
members including assistants are on the update service and carry out
regular status checks on these DBSs;
- ensure relevant Agency staff DBSs are on the update service and carry
out regular status checks on these DBSs;
- from the second year of a childminder’s registration , offer a minimum of 2 visits per year (main premises) for all early years agency childminders, one of which must be the unannounced inspection visit, but excluding unannounced regulatory visits. An agency reserves the right to charge an additional fee for visits that exceed those required by regulation;
- encourage and support Agency registered childminders to gain relevant qualifications (e.g. a level 3);
- visit any non-domestic premises where Agency registered childminder
operates for part of their time, to confirm suitability;
- respond to background checks requested by Ofsted or other Ofsted
Registered Childminder Agencies within 15 working days;
- execute any additional services or facilities as specified within their
individual Childminder Agency’s Statement of Purpose.