Recruitment of and working with assistants in childminding settings

Guidance to assist you in your role if you are planning to work with or employ Assistants to help you care for children in your childminding setting. 

As the registered child-minder you are the main carer for the children and are responsible for and must monitor the work of any assistant. You can employ more than one assistant as long as there are no more than three people caring for the children in one day.  You can employ up to a maximum of 2 assistants whilst working from your own home, as long as there are no more than three people caring for the children in one day. 

When deciding to care for additional children and/ or work with additional staff, you must inform the London Borough of Waltham Forest Planning Department 

Factors to consider when becoming and employer:

Legal Requirements 

All employees should be issued with a Job Description which set out their roles and dutiesthey should  also be inducted on your policies & procedures, in particular paying regard to Safeguarding, H&S, Equal opportunities and emergency evacuation procedures. ACAS has a range of information and advice on Employment law along with templates for job descriptions and contracts

Employees are legally entitled to a Written Statement of the main terms and conditions of employment (contract) within two calendar months of starting work. This should include details of things like pay, holidays and work hours, Sickness Policy-reporting, cover, and pay, Annual Leave Policy, Disciplinary Procedures.

Ofsted requirements 

Providers by law must inform Ofsted of anyone aged 16 years or over who lives or works on the premises where child-minding or childcare on domestic premises takes place so that they can check to see if they are suitable to be in contact with children.  Providers can inform Ofsted of a change to their registration using an EY3 form

Registering with HMRC 

If you are planning to work with an assistant, you will also need to register with HMRC as an employer. This is because any assistants that you employ must be on your payroll.  Both you and your assistant must be clear on their employment status. They are NOT self-employed whilst they are working for you 

Child Supervision

You are accountable for any assistants, and be satisfied that they are competent in the areas of work they undertake.. As part of this you should also be satisfied that your assistant/s can understand and implement all your statutory policies & procedures in English . If not, they must complete and pass the level 2 ESOL course. If you designate your assistant/s for any  lead roles e.g. H&S, SENCO, Behaviour Management, you must ensure they are competent to carry out those responsibilities 

If you work with an assistant or another child minder, each person must meet the ratios at all times. You may leave assistants in sole charge of children for up to two hours during a single day, however to do this you must have written parental permission. Where assistants are assigned key children parents must be informed of who they are.  If you choose to leave children alone with an assistant (for no more than 2 hours) you cannot leave an assistant with more than six children under eight and only three of these children can be in the early years age group and only one of these may be under one. 

Any assistant, who might be in sole charge of the children for any period of time, must hold a current paediatric first aid certificate

You will need to ensure your assistant/s understand how to handle and maintain the children’s/families personal data in a confidential manner. 

Employing family members

Regardless of your business structure (sole trader or limited company) you can employ your family members as part of you business. The general rule is that your partner or spouse should be paid for the effort and hours worked in your business. It should be noted that family members who live in the family home and who work in the business are outside the scope of the national minimum wage. Where family members work for the family business, but do not live in the family home (for example, grown-up children), you must pay at least the national minimum wage.

Where the amount earned exceeds the “lower earning limit” you must register as an employer with HM Revenue Customs (HMRC), complete the required PAYE records and file annual returns. 

If you are in doubt as to a potential employees status use Employment Status Indicator (ESI) from HMRC 
If the family members are not being paid please visit the Government website to check if you are compliant with the rules of working with volunteers 


Employer Liability Insurance 

If you employ an assistant or another child-minder, by law, you will need to hold employer’s liability insurance and display an employer’s liability certificate. You will also need one if you are going to be working with a student. You will need to check with your insurance provider. (If you are a member of PACEY (revised July 15) and hold PACEY public liability insurance, underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Plc, this already includes employer’s liability insurance. However you will need to contact PACEY to activate this element of your insurance and obtain a certificate.Staff Qualifications

Early Year Foundation Stage statutory frameworks advises (EYFS) (section 3.9) that you must ensure that those looking after children are suitable to fulfil the requirements of their roles. Providers must have effective systems in place to ensure that practitioners and any other person who is likely to have regular contact with children (including those living or working on the premises) are suitable. 

Safer Recruitment 

All statutory and public organisations which employ staff or volunteers to work with children should adopt a consistent and thorough process of safe recruitment in order to ensure that those recruited are suitable. This includes ensuring that safe recruitment and selection procedures are adopted which deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children or are otherwise unsuitable to work with them.

Also as part of the recruitment process you as the prospective employer will be required to obtain the candidates name, home address, telephone number* along with the following:    

  • references (please ensure that you ask for two referees) 
  • full employment history 
  • interviews (it is good practice to keep copies of your questions and answers and notes of your observations if you ask them to do a trial day) 
  • medical suitability (it is good practice to obtain some information about medical fitness) 

DBS Checks

You must have robust safer recruitment procedures in place. this must include an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check ensuring that you record the reference number and date of issue, adhering to the Disclosure and Barring Service “code of practice” on handling disclosures. Once your assistant receives their DBS certificate, your assistant must register with the update service within 14 days of the certificate being issued. 

If your assistant has a DBS check through another organisation, this must be 'child workforce', enhanced and they must be signed up to the DBS Update Service. Furthermore, if an individual is applying for a role which involves being at their home address Ofsted will only accept their DBS check if it has been obtained for a home-based role. 

Should you need to disqualify anyone working with you, you must report to Ofsted ASAP (& within 14 days). You must also inform Ofsted and complete a DBS referral form if the person leaves your setting before you disqualify them if you had safeguarding concerns about them. 

Individual supervision

You will need to carry out regular supervisions with your assistant/s. These sessions will provide you with an opportunity to provide coaching support coaching and training to your assistant and develop their skills in working with the children. Your assistant will also have an opportunity to make any personal disclosures about convictions they may have and /or share any safeguarding concerns they have about the children.   


Only those over 17 years of age may be included in ratios for the Early Years Register and those over 18 for the Childcare Register. If assistants are under the required ages for the relevant registers they must be supervised at all times

Key information and guidance on working with / employing an assistant:


Last update: Wednesday 1st of July 2020 12:39:55 PM