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childminders and food businesses

Comment 8th July 2010

That childminders should no longer have to register as food businesses.

Why does this matter?

I have been a childminder for 15 years, and a mum for 18 years. I have received a grade of 'Outstanding@ from Ofsted which I am very proud of, however the red tape that now surrounds childcare is making it harder and harder to do the job we love which is to care for  children. Obviously EYFS is a complicated issue with both good and bad points to consider. However what bothers me the most is that it is now the law that all childminders working from their own homes must register as a food business with their local council and be governed by the food standards agency. This causes a problem in that our details are then available to be sold to the public on the list of food businesses in the area, these details include name address and telephone number, and most concerning the nature of our business. One of the childminders in the group I help to run has had a visit from a bogus health inspector trying to gain access to her property, we can only assume he got her details from the public list as most people are unaware that we even have to register as food businesses, and unlike nurseries we usually work alone which makes us very vulnerable. No other government agency is allowed to release our information in this way, all Ofsted or the Children's Information Service would give out would be a phone number. When we spoke to our local council concerning this issue they said our details have to be available to the public because of the freedom of information act, well what about the rights of the children we care for to be safe, and in fact the rights of all childminders to feel safe and secure in their homes while we provide a valuable service to the nation. I would like the law changed so that registering as a food business is no longer the law, i don't believe its a necessary law and I am unaware of mass outbreaks of food poisoning in childminders homes, also we are never going to have kitchens that are the same as catering kitchens, our parents employ us to provide a home from home not a sterile unfriendly environment. We all take the necessary precautions to protect the children we care for in the same way we do for our own children. I think the fact that the vast majority of us have raised our own families and have fairly good common sense is being ignored in all the red tape and regulations.

Many thanks 

Marie Bell

ofsted urn 126278

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