Why does regulation matter in babysitting?

Without regulation, families are at risk of using low quality childcarers. Find out more about how and why we are part of the campaign to regulate the babysitting industry, in this informative blog;

Regulation is about taking responsibility

The babysitting industry has never been regulated, and where there is no regulation, children are liable to be exposed to low quality childcare and inappropriate carers. This needs to change. SafeCircle takes the responsibility of making it happen.

The babysitting and nanny industry follow different rules to the rest of the childcare industry. In fact, in the babysitting industry there are no rules. For reasons unknown, this childcare sector is yet to be regulated by the same government-led standards expected of other services such as Ofsted-registered nurseries and childminders.

Anyone can call themselves a babysitter or setup and operate a babysitting placement agency without the requirement or experience to recruit safe professionals.

Keeley Black – Family Consultant

Where there is a lack of regulation, it means that people can do whatever they like. There are no standards to follow, no qualifications required, no ongoing reviews.

Quite literally anyone can call themselves a professional babysitter. What’s more, absolutely anyone can setup and operate a babysitting agency or directory without a single qualification or day of experience within the childcare sector, nor the knowledge on how to recruit safe childcare professionals. These agencies are also not required by law to complete any form of background or work experience checks.

The risk of children being exposed to low quality childcare is greatly increased as a result.

All of this means that across the country’s most well-known childcare providers, you’ll find that the range of experience and qualification from the sitters they offer differs wildly. We’ve witnessed it first-hand. Those providers are not promoting the safeguarding of children and therefore the risk of children being exposed to low quality childcare is greatly increased.

What does it mean to be regulated in the babysitting industry?

To regulate in this industry is a matter of taking responsibility.

The simple fact is that most well-known providers are not taking that responsibility because they don’t have to. That’s in addition to the fact that many don’t know they should check babysitters or even how to do so.

What’s more, it doesn’t suit their business models which revolve around promoting as many individuals as are willing to signup to offer babysitting – regardless of experience or qualification in childcare. Many of the individuals actively working as babysitters on other services fail to meet SafeCircle’s criteria – in fact we only recruit around 4% of applications made to our team.

In order to be regulated in the babysitting industry and provide a safe and high quality childcare offering, we need to mirror the regulatory standards of other childcare sectors.

There are two crucial parts to this: 1) Regulating the sitters – to ensure that the people entering family homes and directly caring for children are qualified and safe; 2) Regulating the company – to ensure that the people operating the agency know safer recruitment methods and have the right safety practices in place.

1) Regulating sitters

The key is ensuring that the right safety and experience checks are in place for:

  • Qualifications
  • Professional childcare work experience
  • Regular police checks (DBS)
  • Reference checks
  • ID checks
  • Paediatric First Aid
  • Character assessment

2) Regulating the company

An agency offering childcare recruitment or placement services should at a minimum:

  • Be operated on a day to day basis by individuals who have qualifications and professional work experience within the childcare sector. This experience should be a minimum of 5 years and ideally include supervisory or management experience;
  • Have a safer recruitment policy in place which explains how they recruit their babysitters;
  • Have staff who are safer recruitment trained who undertake this recruitment work;
  • Have a clear safeguarding children’s policy, allegations against professionals policy and lead person for such matters who is trained in both areas.

The status quo risks exposing children to low quality childcare within their own home. It’s time that someone took responsibility for the welfare of children in this sector. That is where SafeCircle comes in.

Keeley Black – Family Consultant

SafeCircle takes the responsibility by regulating sitters and campaigning for industry-wide regulation

SafeCircle was born to provide families with a new option that addresses the core quality concerns within the rest of the industry.

We ensure our sitters meet the very highest standards

Keeley Black – Family Consultant

First and foremost, SafeCircle takes the recruitment of babysitters very seriously. Because there is no regulatory framework for the babysitting industry we created our own using our extensive knowledge and training.

We created our own regulatory framework – our unique Assurance Framework

Our unique 12 point Assurance Framework is designed specifically to enforce regulation-level standards upon ourselves for the safe recruitment of babysitters and ongoing checks which other services are not fulfilling. This is vital to ensure that our high quality standards are met and maintained.

We believe that we have a responsibility in ensuring that the people who we recruit to our babysitting team are not only safe, qualified and skilled in caring for children but show an unrivalled level of professionalism and discretion for our member families.

We hold ourselves accountable, and have the experience to know how to do so

Our Managing Director has more than 15 years of experience working within childcare and child protection industries. She knows the fundamental building blocks required to create a safe and high quality childcare environment.

Our entire operation, from recruitment through to review systems, are built around ensuring that the right checks happen at the right time. If at any time a sitter is not meeting the standards set in our Assurance Framework we have the processes and practices in place to deal with it immediately.

But we also know that safety and high standards are about more than just checks. As a company, we have introduced various safety features within our system to provide proper support and privacy to both families and sitters.

We are shaping the future of regulation within the babysitting world.

Together with Regulation Matters UKSafeCircle is leading the mission to change the status quo.

Pushing the government to introduce clear guidance and regulation that means all home-based childcare including evening, weekend and ad-hoc childcare business owners take the same responsibility as us

We as a business are not yet regulated, but we want to be. As members of the Associated Organisation Sub-Group, we’re pushing the government to introduce clear guidance and regulation in the babysitting and nanny industry.

We’re actively shaping the future of our industry, with the strong desire that responsibility is placed on professional childcare business owners to complete checks to a regulatory standard like us, and like the rest of the childcare industry.

Safeguarding children is at the heart of our drive for change and wish for regulation. We are determined to succeed in our vision to see all agencies take on this responsibility alongside us, allowing parents to be free to make the right choice in childcare for them without having to unknowingly compromise on quality and safety.

What is Regulation Matters UK?

Established in 2006, the Regulation Matters Campaign (RM) is unique in that its focus is on campaigning for the professionalism of the home childcare sector by calling for the registration of all those who provide professional childcare related care within the home including; nannies, babysitters, doulas, maternity nurses, au pairs, mothers helps and much more. In addition to this Regulation Matters also fights to see all agencies providing a placement service for these home childcare roles to become regulated.

With their new charter announced, they are continuing to gain further support to this important cause which will ultimately safeguard children across the country.

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