The following is an overview of the current legislation which has an affect on childminders, parents and children.
Equality Act 2010
The act replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act to make the law simpler and to remove inconsistencies.
The act covers nine protected characteristics. The characteristics applying to home-based childcare include disability, race, religion or belief and gender.
Childcare Act (2006)
The act lays out registration and inspection arrangements, providing for an integrated education and care framework for the Early Years and general childcare registers. It introduced the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in England. The Early Years Register and the General Childcare Register provide a regulatory framework for childcare under the act.
Children Act (2004)
Identified as the most influential law for home-based childcare, it outlines that the general function of the Act is for the Children’s Commissioner to be concerned in particular with the views and interests of children so far as relating to the following aspects of their well-being: physical and mental health and emotional well-being;
protection from harm and neglect;
education, training and recreation;
the contribution made by them to society;
social and economic well-being.
These five outcomes for children are recognised as the overarching aim of the Early Years Foundation Stage, namely the Every Child Matters outcomes of staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic well-being.
Health Protection Agency Act (2004)
Established the Health Protection Agency. The Agency has numerous functions in relation to health, including the prevention of the spread of infectious disease. Care of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations (2002)
COSHH deal with preventing or reducing workers’ exposure to hazardous substances. All parts of COSHH apply if a home-based childcare provider employs any staff. Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001)
This act protects persons from discrimination on the grounds of a disability, and it requires that reasonable adjustments must be made to services, provisions and/or premises so that disabled persons do not suffer significant disadvantages compared to non-disabled persons. Children are covered by this legislation as they are persons in the eyes of the law.
Data Protection Act (1998)
It protects sensitive personal data being published without a persons consent. Where children are involved consent has to be given by a parent or guardian.
Protection of Children Act (1999)
The Act states that the Secretary of State shall keep a list of individuals who are considered unsuitable to work with children.
Human Rights Act (1998)
The Act incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Children are covered by this legislation although not specifically mentioned.
Code of Practice for First Aid (1997)
The Act sets out standard practice and guidance for trained first aiders and gives tailored advice to show different people in industry what they need to do to meet their legal responsibilities for health and safety.
Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995
This Act is not currently applicable to registered childminders but acquiring a basic Food Hygiene Certificate is considered good practice. Local authorities require registered childminders to register with their local Environmental Health Department and obtain the following document: ‘Safer food, better business for Childminders’ available from the Food Standards Agency.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) (1995)
This act specifies what kind of accidents and incidents that happen in the work place are required to be reported to RIDDOR. Code of Practice for the Identification and Assessment of Children...