Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance

Last updated: 10 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 5 Mar 2021

Non-statutory guidance to support childminding settings to operate safely.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): childminder services guidance
Self-isolation exemption

Self-isolation exemption for essential public services

The Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) Exemption Scheme is ending from 6 January 2022 and being replaced by population wide changes to isolation policy. However, there may be a need for people who were isolating before 6 January 2022 to continue to attend work under the guidance of that scheme that was in place at the time:

  • people who are already daily testing under the CNI scheme from 5 January or earlier should continue to follow the CNI guidance until the end of their isolation period
  • people who were asked to isolate prior to 6 January but who have not yet been able to return to work under the CNI scheme may engage in daily testing and return to work in line with the rules set out in the CNI guidance, if required

Guidance on the CNI exemption scheme (for those people who were isolating before 6 January 2022):

The Scottish Government has confirmed that businesses and organisations providing vital public services and Critical National Infrastructure industries can apply an exemption to allow critical / essential workers to volunteer to leave self-isolation and return to work, in certain limited circumstance, to allow vital services to continue. Education and childcare services are recognised as vital public services and therefore are eligible for exemption. This exemption is available as a measure of last resort in prescribed circumstances.

Childminding services are recognised as a vital public service and childminders can use the exemption in specific circumstances, including childminding assistants.

Exemptions are possible where a childminding setting is in danger of closing as a direct result of the 10 day self-isolation requirement for close household contacts of a positive case. However, the circumstances in which a childminder can use the exemption are limited on public health grounds, as it would not be appropriate to bring children from different household(s) into domestic premises where a household member who has tested positive is self-isolating.

Childminders can consider using the self-isolation exemption in any of the following circumstances:

  • they work from a setting that is not their home
  • the positive case in their household is able to isolate elsewhere away from the home
  • they are able to operate from alternative premises for the duration of the self-isolation period where: parents require the childcare provision to continue; the childminder has a Care Inspectorate evaluation of good or above for the quality of environment; and there are no other concerns in relation to the service operation

Before using the exemption, childminders must undertake a risk assessment taking full account of their personal circumstances and the circumstances of children using their service.

In order to use the exemption, childminders must satisfy all of the following conditions:

    • have had their second COVID-19 vaccination more than 14 days before the contact that led to their isolation
    • have a valid vaccination record (You can download the NHS Scotland Covid Status app or get a paper record of your vaccine status from NHS Inform)
    • not have symptoms of COVID-19
    • have evidence of a negative PCR test undertaken since being identified as a close contact
    • register daily negative LFD tests for the duration of their recommended isolation period
    • make reasonable efforts to isolate from COVID positive household members at home
    • fully comply with any PPE requirements, hand hygiene and other infection control measures
    • have undertaken robust risk assessment which takes full account of their personal circumstances and those of children accessing the setting

If a childminder wishes to arrange to operate from alternative premises for the duration of the self-isolation period, they should apply for a variation via the Care Inspectorate portal to operate from alternative premises stating it is a Covid-19 requirement. The Care Inspectorate will process these applications as urgent variations. The childminder would require to confirm the following:

    • the alternative premises are safe for the purpose of childminding
    • there is appropriate space for the care of the children
    • adequate resources will be available to meet the needs of children
    • the premise has appropriate smoke detection
    • parents have agreed that their children can be cared for in the alternative location
    • no adults over the age of 16 not approved by the Care Inspectorate as a childminder adult resident or childminding assistant will be present in the premise during the hours of childminding

Childminders who employ assistants

Childminders are responsible for administering the exemption for childminding assistants in line with the following guidance. They must undertake a robust risk assessment taking full account of their personal circumstances, the assistant’s circumstances and those of children using the service. The decision to volunteer to leave self-isolation must be made freely by the assistant.

Under the exemption process, before an assistant who is a close contact of a positive case can volunteer to return to work, the assistant must satisfy all of the following conditions:

    • have had their second COVID-19 vaccination more than 14 days before the contact that led to their isolation
    • have a valid vaccination record (You can download the NHS Scotland Covid Status app or get a paper record of your vaccine status from NHS Inform)
    • not have symptoms of COVID-19
    • have evidence of a negative PCR test undertaken since being identified as a close contact
    • register daily LFD tests for the duration of their recommended isolation period
    • make reasonable efforts to isolate from COVID positive household members at home
    • fully comply with any PPE requirements, hand hygiene and other infection control measures
    • have undertaken robust risk assessment with the childminder which takes full account of their personal circumstances and those of the children accessing the setting

In considering if the exemption should be applied where an assistant member has volunteered, the childminder must:

  • consult and fully engage with the assistant and/or, where the assistant is a member of trade unions, the recognised trade unions in considering whether to allow the assistant to exempt themselves from self-isolation
  • agree protocols with the assistant around the self-isolation exemption procedure, including the completion of rigorous risk assessments
  • consider how the effects of self-isolation are impacting on critical functions and services
  • consider what steps have already been taken to address this pressure
  • consider the impact of no action
  • consider the scope of the requested exemption – location, number of assistants etc
  • consider whether they are currently engaging with a local incident management team (IMT) regarding outbreak management

Exemptions should be made on a temporary basis only, and last only for as long as there is an immediate risk to business or service continuity. Childminders should maintain a record of any periods when the exemption is used and the risk assessment undertaken.

Timing

Childminders can consider the guidance above with immediate effect from 23 December 2021. The Care Inspectorate will be in the position to urgently vary conditions of registration from 5 January 2022 for childminders wishing to operate temporarily from alternative premises for the period of self-isolation.


First published: 5 Mar 2021 Last updated: 10 Jan 2022 -