A thousand child care registration staff due to be transferred
from local authorities to Ofsted are set to challenge plans to
force them all to work from their own homes.
The staff, who currently register, inspect and support
childminders, playgroups and day nurseries, are set to move to
their new employers in September under the government’s national
Ofsted’s early years directorate will have eight regional
offices where senior managers and administrative staff will be
based, but it will have no local offices.
Instead, it plans that staff will continue to work in
patch-based teams but will be based in their own homes.
Team meetings will be held in meeting rooms rented for the
purpose. It has offered staff £500 start-up expenses to buy
office furniture and put in new phone lines, and will be supplying
them with computers.
Public sector union Unison is furious about the plan, which it
says was decided without any consultation. The union is currently
exploring whether there are grounds for bringing a legal
Unison social services national organiser Owen Davies said that
although home-based working might suit some staff, there are some
people for whom it would cause huge problems.
Many administration staff in the early years service are likely
to lose their jobs altogether, he predicted.
There is also concern among early years registration staff at
proposed changes in their job when Ofsted takes over the service.
They are set to become “regulatory officers”, responsible only for
inspecting and registering child care providers, and banned from
playing a developmental role.