Are quality assurance schemes cost-effective?
In quality-assured settings the quality of provision is much higher, especially for childminding. However, quality assurance membership is not necessary for settings to achieve an outstanding judgement: many settings not in quality assurance schemes are outstanding. Nor is being part of a quality assurance scheme sufficient to ensure a good or better judgement: many quality assurance scheme members are judged satisfactory and a few inadequate.
Taking part in a quality assurance scheme involves considerable investment of staff time, and often a financial cost. The providers and staff team need to be motivated to work towards achieving the standards of a quality assurance scheme over a sustained period.
Providers themselves see some value but are not always convinced the effort has been worth it in terms of improved outcomes for children or improved take-up by parents.
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