Nipperbout has dealt with most eventualities imaginable over the past few decades and is now at the stage where we are winning awards for excellence in festival provision, and being consistently graded outstanding or excellent by Ofsted and the CSSIW.
Given our expertise in running childcare at events, we thought we would share five of the most important questions organisers should ask themselves when running a childcare service at an event.
Asking yourself these questions before the event, and being able to evaluate and make adjustments, can save you a lot of time and stress further down the line- trust me!
One of the foremost considerations should be given to the venue space selected for the crèche. The most important things to consider are;
- Is the space large enough? There needs to be a minimum of 3.7 square metres per child- Is there natural lighting? Is it on a ground floor with easy access to a lift? Where will buggies be stored?- Are there any noise considerations to be aware of? We have had complaints from seminars or workshops in the past, when the crèche has been located too close to the main conference area.
For the reasons above it can sometimes be a good idea to site the crèche away from the main event, in a nearby hotel rather than in the conference or exhibition centre.
Access and egress need careful consideration. a decent crèche will need at least 3 -4 hours to set up and will take 2 hours to break down. If a crèche starts at 9am, it is best to book the room the night before. If the finish time is 5.00pm, the venue may think, unrealistically, that they can hire the room out again at 7.00pm, cleaned and ready!
An event may want a crèche just for a weekend rather than the duration of event, in which case thought should be given to the best times to arrive and an entrance to use which may differ from usual entrances.
Toilets need to be close to the crèche as little legs and small bladders will otherwise result in more work for the cleaners!. From a safeguarding point of view it’s best to try and provide toilets for sole use of children. If this isn’t possible, there should be at least one cubicle dedicated for ‘priority use by crèche children’. Nappy changing facilities may need to be provided by the crèche and sited in the toilets. Some venues say they “don’t want the crèche to interfere with the general public arrangements”. The children ARE the general public!
If babies are being cared for, remember clinical waste needs a licensed company to transport it. Some venues charge for this. Once a day is fine for emptying nappy bins, unless the crèche is over 50 places and cost should be about £8 per bin
Nipperbout have a strict signing in and out system for all of our members of staff, children and visitors, ensuring that we know who is entering and exiting our crèche at all times.
It is therefore essential that venue staff are made aware not to enter the crèche area without informing crèche staff. This is for both child protection and their own, as not using the official signing in process puts them in danger of having allegations made against them. All venue staff should be instructed in basic safeguarding procedures.
This is also important for security staff or those involved in the lost child process. We work closely with security guards at events, as lost children are often brought to Nipperbout.
The law states that Ofsted must be informed in writing two weeks before the event starts. A crèche should display an exemption letter from Ofsted as proof of compliance. There are several exemptions from registration which most types of event childcare fall under, however it is best practise to inform, regardless.
The key point of having childcare is to enable visitors to enjoy the event or focus on the conference or have child free time to make purchases. An effective provision is one that gives the visitor or delegate a positive association with the host organisation. That only comes about if parents feel confident to trust the childcare providers with their children, and where children have so much fun they beg to return! Nipperbout has built on years of experience to enable this to happen at every creche that we run, ensuring that we have answered all of the above questions prior to the event.
As we say in our Nipperbout motto – ‘You take care of the big event – we’ll take care of the little ones!’