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Government removes disqualification by association rules

By Rachel Lawler

Bubbles disqualification arrangements
The government has announced that childcare practitioners will no longer be disqualified from providing or working in non-domestic childcare settings because someone who lives or works in their household is disqualified.
 
The update comes in response to a consultation on the topic, which ran from May 2016 to July 2016, and the changes are due to come into effect in September 2018.
 
Unfair regulations
The government said: “It is clear from the consultation that there is a significant consensus that the current arrangements are widely considered unfair and that they represent a disproportionate response to the risk to children.”
 
Safety first
However, the Alliance has voiced concerns about the changes. Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “Any changes to government regulations impacting schools and early years providers should always have the safety and wellbeing of children as their utmost priority, and so we are both disappointed and concerned that the government has decided on a wholesale removal of existing disqualification by association rules.
 
“We know that the current rules are often a source of confusion and difficulty for early years providers and it’s clear that steps to make these rules clearer and less onerous for practitioners have been long overdue. Nevertheless, it is vital that this is balanced with the need to ensure the safety of the children attending schools and early years settings and so while we recognise that this decision is supported by the majority of consultation responses, we still do not think that the government’s chosen approach strikes this balance.”
 
Childminder concerns
The Alliance has also expressed concerns about the changes not applying to childminders. Neil added: “We remain disappointed that, despite representations from the Alliance, the government chose to limit this consultation to schools and group providers, and to exclude childminders. While we recognise that there are key differences between the way in which these settings operate, and that this will inevitably have an impact on the way that disqualification by association rules should be applied, this was never a reason to exclude childminders from the scope of the consultation completely.”
 
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