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How the temporary changes to some standards in the NMS have been reintroduced to support childcare providers caring for all children.

First published:
17 April 2020
Last updated:

We have reintroduced the temporary changes to some of the requirements in the National Minimum Standards (NMS) for regulated childcare. The NMS apply to child minders and those who provide day care for children up to the age of 12.

Childcare providers

Getting approval for changes

Before you make changes to your standards, you must talk to your local authority (through Family Information Services or your contact in the childcare team).

Who to tell about changes

You should notify Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) of any changes.You can do this using the ‘Local authority relaxation of National Minimum Standards’ notification on CIW Online.

Protective measures in childcare settings

Read our guidance about getting your childcare service ready to allow more children to attend and protect them and your staff from coronavirus.

Physical distancing

You must also follow our guidance about taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in your setting. 

Relaxation of staffing ratios will only be agreed on a case by case basis, by your local authority. A decision will be made depending on local circumstances and the type of setting. The relaxation in standards are to allow providers flexibility in exceptional circumstances.

Providers cannot exceed agreed numbers of registered children.

Applying day care staff ratios in a mixed age range setting

You should use the ratio applicable to the youngest child in each group.

There may be some circumstances where it may not be possible for some childcare settings to use the relaxations of the NMS, and follow the protective measures guidance. This could be because of the size of the space you use to look after children and the need to keep group size consistent.

Keeping children safe in settings where there are a minimum of two staff on duty

Any decision to relax this requirement should be taken by the settings registered child care provider and person in charge. A full risk assessment should be done before any local authority agreement. The risk assessment should include, an on-call support system and contingency measures if the person in charge becomes unavailable.

Who should have a recognised childcare qualification

The registered childcare provider or person in charge has to prove to the local authority why they need to relax any standards. They also need to prove how they can ensure the quality and safety of the care at their setting.

Local authorities

How to tell Care Inspectorate Wales of changes to childcare settings

You need to email Care Inspectorate Wales (even if you have refused an application to relax the NMS) at CIW@gov.Wales (add ‘Local authority notification of relaxation of National Minimum Standards’ or 'refusal of relaxation of National Minimum Standards’ in the subject header).

Identity (ID) verification checks and Disclosure of Barring Service (DBS)

ID verification and DBS checks

How to apply for ID check for DBS

The Disclosure and Barring Service have introduced temporary changes to ID checking guidelines as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. Get advice about getting a DBS check.

Urgent DBS checks

If you need an urgent DBS and you are a Responsible Individual, Registered Person, childminder, childminding assistant or a ‘Lives at’ please contact CIW on 0300 7900 126 ‘selecting option 3’.