Last reviewed 5 November 2021

Ofsted has published a new report calling for a stronger oversight of early years multiple providers.

Early years multiple providers are Ofsted-registered providers that own two or more childcare settings, such as nurseries and pre-schools. Currently, half of all settings that provide childcare on non-domestic premises are owned by a multiple provider.

The report find that such providers exert a great deal of influence over their settings but Ofsted is currently only able to inspect individual nurseries or pre-schools. The report calls for stronger regulatory powers to make sure multiple providers and groups are having a positive impact on children.

In the medium term, Ofsted has said it will ensure that it has consistent and joined up oversight of multiple providers, across inspections and regions. In the longer term, it will continue to have discussions with the Government on whether multiple providers should be inspected directly and how inspection and regulation could have the greatest impact.

Ofsted has also published a report on inspections of social care groups which own more than one children's home.

Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s national director for regulation and social care, said:

“Stronger oversight of large providers is vital if we are to make sure children are getting the best deal. Current legislation is outdated and doesn’t reflect the early years and social care sectors as they operate today. The upcoming review into children’s social care could be a real opportunity to reform this legislation.”

“Our research shows that these large providers have a significant impact on their individual nurseries and children’s homes, and ultimately the education and care that children receive. As Ofsted can only inspect individual settings, we are missing an important part of the picture.”

The full report is available here.