II. Implementation of the National Childcare Strategy
- Changes in Care Standards Bill, Part V dealing with the provision of children ages eight and over. These changes deal with issues such as overnight care, charging, disqualified people etc. It is expected that the bill will receive Royal Assent before the end of the summer 2000 and will be implemented with new regulations by OFSTED by September, 2001.
- The Protection of Children Act 1999 creates a system for identifying people unsuitable to work with children and creates a unified access point for employers to check on potential employees.
- The Employment Relations Act 1999 includes a parental leave entitlement of up to three months unpaid leave, plus an extension of Maternity leave from 14 to 18 weeks and reduce the qualifying period from two years to one. Parental leave may be taken for adoption or assistance for a disabled child. Details of parental leave regulation is available through the website (http://www.dti.gov.uk/ir/erbill.htm) and the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999 will be published by the Stationary Office (http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/stat.htm#1999)
- A "Draft Code of Practice for Nanny Agencies" was issued by the DfEE in 1999. A new guidance and regulations covering employment agencies is to be published.
- Early Development Partnerships (later replaced by Early Years and Childcare Partnerships) and Early Years Development Plans were instituted formally by the statute in the "School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (July)". There are currently 150 Partnerships in England and similar ones in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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