Early Years Teams

Early Years Teams are specialist teams of social workers within Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts. They're responsible for the registration, inspection, monitoring and support of childminders and day care providers.

Registration and inspection system

Social services must operate a registration and inspection system for the following types of childcare services

  • day nurseries
  • playgroups
  • out-of-school care
  • childminders
  • summer and holiday schemes
  • crèches

Some types of childcare do not require registration and inspection, these include nannies/au pairs, services that cater for children over 12 years old, services which run for less than two hours a day or services which operate for less than six days per year.

For group daycare settings, such as day nurseries, playgroups and out-of-school care, social workers within Early Years Teams inspect premises at least annually.

They will check:

  • the suitability of the premises, ensuring that they are safe to be used as a facility to provide care to children
  • the suitability of the people providing care, ensuring that there is no known reason why they are not able to work with children
  • that the standard of care offered is in keeping with that which is required by any registered facility
  • the suitability of equipment

Childminders are also inspected annually. Before childminders are registered, the social worker will check that their homes are safe for young children. A number of checks, including criminal record checks, are carried out on the prospective childminder and any member of the household who is over ten.

Help for parents

Early Years Teams can help parents by:

  • providing information and advice on day care services in their area
  • making available annual inspection reports of daycare facilities and childminders
  • ensuring that standards in daycare settings are at an acceptable level

For more information, contact the Early Years Team in your local Health and Social Care Trust.


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