How to complain about an early years or childcare provider

Information about how to raise a complaint

If you have any concerns about your childcare provider, you should raise it with the provider directly in the first instance.  Most complaints can be resolved with an informal discussion and agreement on how to resolve the issue. If you cannot resolve matters in this way, you should make a formal complaint to the provider. All providers must fully investigate written and emailed complaints, giving an account of their findings within 28 days

Providers need to have procedures in place for parents who wish to make a complaint relating to the Early Years Foundation Stage, including a written complaints policy setting out the process. This is set out in law.

Childminders are not required to have a written procedure for handling complaints, but they must keep a record of any complaints they receive and their outcome.

Ofsted regulates and inspects most early education and childcare providers. If you have an unresolved issue with a provider relating to quality or the regulation of childcare, then Ofsted should be made aware. More information and contact details

If your complaint relates to billing, invoicing or contracts, Ofsted is unable to help. You should discuss with the provider and reach a compromise if this is possible. Providers receiving public funding for early years and childcare entitlements have contracts with the council which sets out expectations. If you have an unresolved issue with your provider following a response to your written complaint, it’s worth contacting the council to explore whether the issue can be taken up as part of this contract.

Information on the council’s complaints process.

If your complaint remains unresolved, you can serve notice on your contract with your current provider and look for alternatives. Oxfordshire Family Information service can support your search for alternatives. A childcare search can be completed by a parent/carer at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/familyinformation or alternatively parents can e-mail fisenquiries@oxfordshire.gov.uk or call 01865 816659.

If your complaint relates to an early years or childcare place in a school then please check the council process for this.

There is also national advice

If you are concerned about a child being harmed, or who may be at risk from harm, and you cannot speak to the provider, please contact:

Oxfordshire’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0345 050 7666