Childcare complaints commitment

Childcare complaints commitment

Ofsted’s strategic plan sets out our commitment to engage more with those who use the services we regulate.

2004: our first complaints commitment

In 2004 we said that we would give parents and carers more information about the complaints we receive about childcare providers that may affect their suitability to care for children.

We decided to do this by publishing complaints information in our inspection reports, which are available on our website.

This complaints commitment helps to ensure that parents and carers are able to get relevant information, so that they can make informed choices about the care that they choose for their child(ren).

A revision in 2006

When we made our first complaints commitment we tried to balance the interests of providers with those of parents or carers, who want to know as much as possible about those they trust to care for their children.

However, some providers told us that this approach disadvantaged providers who were subject to malicious or vexatious complaints.

As a result, we revised our complaints commitment in 2006. We said that we would publish information about complaints only where we, or the provider, took action in order to meet legal requirements.

Our complaints commitment in 2009

Between January and March 2008 we ran a consultation about publishing more information about childcare providers on our website. We included questions about the publication of complaints information. We sought the views of service providers, service users and others with an interest in childcare.

We have revised our complaints commitment as a result of this consultation.

Our revised complaints commitment will give parents and carers easy, quick and up-to-date access to complaints information; they will no longer have to wait for an inspection to take place.

From May 2009 we will:

  • publish new complaints information on our website, separate from inspection reports, as soon as we have completed an investigation
  • continue to publish information relating to complaints – made against childminders or childcare providers – only in circumstances where we, or the provider, take action to meet the legal requirements of registration
  • publish historic information about complaints received since a provider’s last inspection where we, or the provider, took action to meet legal requirements
  • remove complaints information from our website five years after the closure of the complaint investigation.

This revision to our complaint commitment demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensure the information that we publish is relevant.

Information about complaints received prior to a provider’s last inspection will remain accessible in the last inspection report. This is to ensure that parents and carers can access a full history of complaint information.

We will make complaints information available on request to people who cannot access our website. We will do this by sending the information in writing or providing it over the telephone.