The Welsh Government has announced a temporary relaxation of some of the requirements in the National Minimum Standards (NMS) for Regulated Childcare for children up to the age of 12 years. The temporary relaxation, due to the Omicron variant, is in place from 17 January to 1 April 2022.
Welsh Ministers have agreed that the NMS relating to staffing ratios in day care and child minding settings, as well as staff qualification requirements, can be relaxed temporarily. Local authority approval is required prior to any relaxation in staffing ratios being implemented, to ensure that the changes are reasonable and proportionate and ensure that ongoing care can be provided taking account of local circumstances and without compromising the safety and welfare of the children being cared for.
The Welsh Government is not relaxing any of the rules around the requirement for childcare providers to have an enhanced DBS check. However, it is considered a relaxation of current/common practice around the obtaining of enhanced criminal records checks, is appropriate given the need to ensure there is sufficient childcare provision available for parents and carers who need it.
Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW), as the regulator of childcare services, also needs to be informed of any changes.