Two police officers in Milton Keynes may be facing prosecution this week, after authorities discovered they were babysitting their children whilst one was at work.
Ofsted stepped in when they discovered the colleagues were taking it in turns to babysit, something the authorities call an "illegal" reciprocal arrangement. Detective Constable's Leanne Shepherd and Lucy Jarrett have taken turns twice a week in looking after their children for the last two and a half years whilst they worked a ten-hour shift at Aylesbury police station.
The colleagues were reported to officials by someone, thought to be a neighbour, and the situation was placed under investigation regarding an illegal childminding business.New legislation regarding childcare has meant that people who baby-sit for more than two hours at a time or on more than 14 days a year should be registered and have to follow childminder rules. These include undertaking first aid training and following the a curriculum for under fives.
Whilst the mothers were not paying each other for the babysitting, the new legislation suggests that free babysitting in return acts as 'a reward' which therefore makes it illegal without being registered. This particular case has encouraged the Department for Children, Schools and Families to review it's definition of what a reward is.
Interestingly, the legislation does not cover grandparents, siblings, aunts or uncles.
This situation seemed to suit both parties, didn't appear to be causing the children any problems, and wasn't effecting anyone else. Surely this is a situation the authorities should have kept out of, particular as no payment changed hands?
What do you think?