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Childcare contracts and complaints

Your contract with your childcare provider

Before your child can attend a childcare setting,

  1. You will need to sign a contract with your chosen childcare provider. Signing a contract with a childcare provider is a legally binding document.
  2. Before signing any contract, make sure you have read the terms and conditions and fully understand the content of the contract.
  3. Make sure when you have signed the contract you receive a copy from the provider at the time you have signed it.

Where you have made a verbal agreement with the provider to reserve a place at a future date, although a contract may not have been signed, you may be asked to pay a retainer fee to secure the place. In these circumstances make sure you obtain written notification from the provider that you are securing the place.

Making a complaint about a childcare provider

Sometimes parents and other people with an interest in childcare have complaints or concerns about the quality of a registered childcare service or childminder. There are three ways for you to address any complaints and concerns.

If you think a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

Tell the childcare provider

Unless you think children are at risk of harm from the childcare provider, it is usually best if you discuss your concerns with the provider or the person in charge before you contact Ofsted.

If you are a parent or carer and cannot sort out your concern through discussion, you can make a formal complaint in writing to the provider. The law says providers must have a process for handling written complaints. Home childcarers do not need to have this process.

Tell Ofsted

Ofsted can look in to any matter related to the requirements of registration, they cannot deal with other issues you may have, such as disputes about contracts and fees.

Before contacting Ofsted, you may find it helpful to work out what you want to say and make a note of any relevant people, times and dates. Tell Ofsted if you have already discussed the matter with the provider and what action, if any, they took.

To complain about a school or childminder please see their website (external link).

Email -

Telephone - 0300 123 1231

Tell the council's Family Information Service

If you are unable to resolve the issue with your childcare provider you can contact us. We will also look in to concerns about people providing childcare who are not registered with us as a childcare provider.

Email -

Telephone - 01706 719900

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