Income tax and National Insurance

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.

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

There is a legal responsiblity for keeping financial records. The Finance Act 1994 states that accurate records need to be kept. Information about what records you need to keep can be found on HMRC website.

If you would like an easy to use guide about running the tax and insurance side of a childminding buisiness then our Business Skills e-book may be for you.

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.

Home Responsibilities Protection

Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) was a scheme to help protect a person’s State Pension. It has been replaced with National Insurance credits for parents and carers.

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.

Find out more here

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. Two main providers are:

Morton Michel

PACEY (Professional Association for childcare and early years)

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.

Since 2008, as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage, childminders in England have been expected to keep more detailed records about individual children’s development and it is likely that if you keep these on a computer, you will need to register as a Data Controller with the ICO. If you are in any doubt about whether you will need to register, you can call the ICO on 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545 740 for clarification.

It has been confirmed with the ICO 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 which will tell you if you need to register.

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 Notification Helpline on 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545 740

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 these checks yourself and 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.

Environmental Health and Safety

If you provide food to the children in your care and you registered as a childminder after 1st January 2014 then you do not now need to register separately as a food business with your local authority as this will happen automatically when you register with Ofsted. However, all childminders who provide food are still responsible under food law to ensure that food is prepared, stored and handled in compiance with the food hygiene regulations. 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.

If you would like to complete a Food Hygiene online training course that has been written specifcally for regsitered childminders, please visit our shop where you will find more details.

SEN 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 or a disability which requires specialist support. If you are registered with Ofsted on the Early Years Register 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 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 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.

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

Code of Practice 2014

The 0-25 Code of Practice, for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, has gained Parliamentary approval and came into force on 1 September, replacing the current code.

It replaces the 2001 document and includes for the first time a dedicated chapter for early year’s 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).

Download your copy here.

The Foundation Years has published a Government Early Years Guide to the SEND Code of Practice that you can access here.

SEN and Disability in the Early Years Toolkit

4Children and 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 an online course about supporting children's speech language and communication

Cerebra positively different website

Cerbera is a unique charity set up to help improve the lives of children with brain related conditions through research, education and directly supporting the children and their carers.

Resources and books can be borrowed free of charge (even delivery and collection is paid for!) To find information about the resource boxes, visit their website then click on ‘get help’ and then ‘library’ in the menu on the left hand side of the screen.

There are also grants available for children under 16 years of age

Safeguarding

Childminders in England 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.

It is crucial that you keep up to date with the procedures for safeguarding children and it is your responsibility to ensure this. 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. While it is not compulsory for childminders to have written policies, consider how you will inform parents about your responsibilities if you do not have your policy and procedures in writing. See Childminding UK's policy and procedure pack.

New Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years Information

Ofsted have produced new guidance for Inspectors regarding what needs to be in place in settings regarding safeguarding. You can view the new document here http://bit.ly/2bpOx8H

Below is a summary 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. What isn't clear yet is if this affects assistants who can currently be left unsupervised with minded children for up to 2 hours per day

A new requirement for all staff and leaders to receive regular updates on safeguarding at least annually- this can be done through emails such as this one, e- bulletins such as the NCC bulletins, which you will find on the NCA site and newsletters such as the NSCB bulletins- which you need to subscribe to on the NSCB site if you haven't already. And of course you need to find time to read them to receive the information that allows you to fulfil this requirement.

A new requirement for 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

A new requirement for a 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 – In Northamptonshire, the requirement for refreshing safeguarding training is already 2 years so this won't mean any changes for you.

New Prevent Duty from September 2015

From September 2015, registered childminders 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. When Ofsted inspect they will be looking for ' 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 thePrevent Duty to your safeguaring policy. NCA's suggestions for safeguarding policy and our purchased safeguarding policies have already had this included for you.

Download the guidance documents below:

Prevent Duty advice

Fundamental British Values in the Early Years

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.

All childminders must have attended Safeguarding Children training and should update their knowledge by regular refresher training. For a suitable online safeguarding refresher training course visit our shop.

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 so that you are informed when there are changes to the information.

The Government pocket guide about Information Sharing will help you identify how to share information correctly in order to help safeguard children

If an allegation of child abuse is made against you or a member of your family you must contact Ofsted and the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). Details of who will be available from your LSCB. For information about how you can help protect yourself from allegations of abuse read more here.

Each Local Authority determines 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.

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 if aimed at all those who come into contact with young children including childminders.

Information Sharing advice for practitioners 2015 replaces the Information Sharing: guidance for practitioners and managers 2008

Each LSCB is likely to recommend what content needs including in Safeguarding training with 2 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 2 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

Childminding UK's online safeguarding training covers both of these topics.

Free online training Forced Marriages awareness

Other Safeguarding Information

This section contains information you may find helpful.

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.

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 8-12 year olds

On Friday January 9th, 2015 the NSPCC launced 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. There are also 2 short animations which will be aired on Prime Time television and other digital screens. It is hoped this new campaign will help parents/carers to have the confidence and tools to talk to their children about online safety.

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 leaflet

Downloadable Guide to help Protect Children from Sexting

This free guide is available from Virtual College

FREE downloadable guide to help protect children from sexting.

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 here.

The fact sheet 'Looking after children and those in early years settings during heatwaves: guidance for teachers and professionals' can be downloaded here.

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.

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.

Jury service

Jury Service is a public duty and 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 Government website has more information, including the maximum expenses you can claim which you may find useful.

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.

  • 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) https://www.gov.uk/employing-staff This will inform you about your responsibilities when employing staff.
  • (2) http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payerti/employee-starting/status.htm This 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.
  • A 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. NCA have produced a Supervision and Appraisals Resource Pack to help with you meeting the EYFS requirements: page18; 3.11, page 20; 3.20, 3.21, 3.22, page 21; 3.24, 3.25, 3.26. This contains sample proformas to help you to record inductions, supervisions and appraisals.
  • 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 premisesA 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 Requirements 3.57, 3.58, 3.59, 3.60, 3.61, 3.62 and 3.63.

Link to Ofsted Disclosure and Barring Service checks factsheet