The campaign actually evolved from previous campaigns following a number of high profile cases such as the Louise Woodward case, the British au-pair found guilty of the murder of a child in America back in 1997. Originally the Playpen campaign, argued for the recognition of nannies so that they would not be confused with au-pairs, childminders, mothers helps, and so on. However, that case drew everyone’s attention to the fact that there’d be nothing to stop anyone found guilty of a child-related crime from taking up a post as a nanny and that shifted the focus for the campaign to the registration of nannies and the regulation of nanny agencies and that’s how Regulation Matters came about.
You might be reading this and thinking to yourself “wow, the campaign has been going a long time and still nannies are not registered” and of course both points are indeed true.
First of all, it’s important to say that, if we were to measure the success of our campaign by the time it is taking to achieve our objectives, it’s likely we’d be very demoralised and would probably have thrown in the towel some time ago. However, it is well known that campaigns calling for a change to legislation can take many years. In the childcare and early years sector you only have to look at the amount of time it took for childminders to gain recognition and for the introduction of the regulatory framework, they all now work within. We are privileged to have Pacey as a key supporter of RM and that allows us the benefit of their extensive experience in these matters.
So time isn’t an indicator as far as we are concerned.
Over recent years we’ve met with Cabinet Ministers, MPs, and Senior Civil Servants to put our case. We’ve taken part in a number of national TV debates and documentaries at home and abroad, all to raise the profile of nannies and to bring to the fore this crucial safeguarding issue.
Prior to the introduction of the Ofsted Childcare Register, introduced in The Childcare Act 2006, RM argued strongly for the inclusion of nannies. However, when it was introduced, the Ofsted Childcare Register was in two parts, a compulsory and a voluntary part. For the first time, nannies could opt to be on a register albeit it voluntary but it was more than we’d had before which is a positive result.
We’re also consulted now by government departments on related issues when they arise, so we’re satisfied the Regulation Matters Campaign has put nannies on the map but, the truth remains, nannies are still not registered so the work continues.
So, where to now for the Regulation Matters Campaign?
There’s much to do. RM has a small number of Management Sub-Groups. These sub-groups have been formed to further our campaign and, in the absence of registration and regulation, to develop a self-regulatory framework for all practitioners and agencies to work within, and that’s a tall order because if you don’t have total buy-in from nannies and agencies, anything we come up with will just be ignored and we can’t let that happen.
RM currently has 4 working management sub-groups:
Training & Further Training
Associated Organisations – Payroll / Insurance for example
Each carries out developmental work in support of RM and aims to establish guidance and opportunities for nannies and nanny agencies, setting minimum standards.
The important work of any campaign is not just to call for change and make certain demands. You have to clarify what it is you mean. What could registration and regulation actually look like? You have to be clear about the impact of that change and actually be prepared to produce a model that is tried and tested so that when you do get in front of the government, you’re not just presenting them with a problem you’re demonstrating to them the solution.
At RM we believe that COVID-19 has presented us with an opportunity for change.
RM, BAPN, Nanny Agencies, and Payroll providers, we’ve all been vocal about the impact the virus and lockdown has had on the employment of nannies and so there is an opportunity to keep that momentum going and that’s what we intend to do.
As you would expect, we’ve written to all the relevant Ministers and government departments and will continue to lobby and, at the same time, we’ll canvas nannies, employers, agencies and other interested parties so that instead of just sitting back and waiting for the government to reply, or for our followers to increase on social media, we’ll be getting on with the job of looking at the training opportunities we can develop with our expert training supporters, looking at developing a code of conduct for nannies, and a code of best practice for nanny agencies.
There’s lots to do but the Regulation Matters Campaign has attracted the support of all the industry leaders so that our work is professional, credible, and carried out with professional integrity.
If anyone can bring about change we can!