Requirements for risk assessments
A childcare factsheet
The Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage sets out legal requirements that all providers must meet. This includes requirements relating to risk assessments. Providers must have a policy and procedures for assessing risks and must carry out risk assessments in two circumstances. These are in relation to: the environment (paragraph 3.63 of the Statutory framework) outings (paragraph 3.64 of the Statutory framework). This factsheet sets out our expectations relating to the policy and procedures and the identification, checking and recording of risks in these two areas.
Risk assessment policy and procedures
The Statutory framework requires providers to have a policy and procedures for assessing risks. You must have these in writing unless you are a childminder (paragraph 3.3 of the Statutory framework). There is no detail on what the policy and procedures must cover. We would normally expect them to cover how and when risk assessments are carried out, who is involved in assessing risks, what aspects they cover, what records are needed and how these must be kept. If you are a childminder you must be able to explain these arrangements to us if you do not have your policy and procedures in writing.
Risk assessments relating to the environment
The legal requirement is for risk assessments that identify aspects of the environment that need to be checked on a regular basis, when and by whom those aspects will be checked and how risks will be removed and minimised. The Statutory framework states that it is for providers to judge when these risk assessments should be in writing. However, providers must also comply with the requirements of health and safety legislation (paragraph 3.53) and providers must consider how they meet
the requirements for risk assessments in relation to that legislation where five or more people work together.1 The Statutory framework also requires risk assessments to be reviewed regularly. If providers are also registered on the Childcare Register the requirement is for risk assessments to be reviewed annually. How you decide on what needs to be written, what needs to be checked and how often it is reviewed is very much down to you but you may wish to take into account: the size of your provision, its layout and location (for example if there are stairs for children to negotiate, or an outdoor area that has rubbish thrown into it from passers-by) the ages of children attending and whether areas within the provision are used by children of different ages whether you involve children in assessing risks, including taking account of their height, developmental understanding and mobility whether the risk assessment is for your sole use at all times or whether other people use it as well (for example a community hall where risks may be introduced by other users) whether your staff group, including any volunteers, understand risks to children and how to manage them and can explain this to others the number of people who need to know if aspects have been checked, including part-time staff, volunteers or agency workers.
Risk assessments for outings
There is a legal requirement for you to carry out risk assessments for outings. The Statutory framework makes it clear that this should include an assessment of the ratios of adults to children needed for outings, and it must include an assessment of the risks and hazards that might arise for the children. We interpret an outing as being any occasion you leave the premises where you provide childcare with at least one child being cared for. The children do not necessarily have to return to the premises (for example their parents may collect them from the outing destination). If you are collecting children from elsewhere, such as school, before bringing them into the childcare setting, we do not interpret this as an outing. However, it is still good...
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