13/10/2009 05:00 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Parents Told They Won't Be Prosecuted For Babysitting For Each Other

The Children's Secretary Ed Balls has announced that childcare arrangements between friends should not be regulated.

Two policewomen had been told they were breaking the law by looking after each others' children.

But now Ed Balls has told Ofsted to back off.

A bit of common sense at last - it's a shame it's taken so long.

Ofsted has been told that all current childcare arrangements between friends, where there is no payment, should not be regulated.

This will come as a huge relief to many parents up and down the country who feared they might get a knock on the door from an Ofsted inspector.

The threat came to light when Detective Constable Leanne Shepherd and her friend Detective Constable Lucy Jarrett were told by an Ofsted inspector that what they were doing was illegal and had to stop immediately.

They had been sharing a job at Thames Valley Police and one would go to work while the other looked after their children.

Ofsted said that people who looked after a child in their own home for more than two hours at a time or on more than 14 days per year should be registered - even if they weren't being paid.

This was clearly nonsense and it's good to see it's now been put right.

Det Con Jarrett, 32, of Buckingham, said of Mr Balls' announcement: "It's extremely good news. I'm delighted that common sense has won the day.

"I'm glad that now any other family in a similar situation won't have to worry that they could be breaking the law and have to go through what Leanne and I have had to go through. It's taken a long time. I think it was an unnecessary situation we were put in. It shouldn't have come to this."

Det Con Shepherd, also 32, of Milton Keynes, said: "It's exactly what we wanted. It's a common sense approach that we think should have been considered in the first place when they interfered with our lives."

However she said the move has come too late for them as their children's routines have already been unsettled.

They won't be the only ones - I know of other cases where this has happened. It's a shame it takes a high-profile case to change a ridiculous rule.

Source: AOL News