I have a very mixed opinion on the National Childminding Association. I have had a few dealings with them, as a member and have to say I am not impressed with the customer service. I have found the staff quite abrupt and rude, no pleases or thank you's.
I find them quite expensive to belong to; £40 a year is a lot and you may not make it back in the savings you get as a member on their merchandise. Their insurance is also extortionate and you have to be a member to be insured with them. My quote was for nearly £100!
The NCMA provide a support network for registered childminders. They provide legal support (and representation) as well as training for childminders. They also manufacture products for childcare providers; contracts, sickness and accident books, textbooks and name badges to name a few. They also have a monthly magazine called 'Who Minds?' which has information for childminders, latest news, and changes in any legislation. Finally, they provide liability insurance.
However, their products are lovely. They have so many different items on their websites, from clothing to books, toolkits to paperwork. They deliver very quickly, and if you are a member, the discounts are big.
Their website is well set up, and contains lots of advice on childminding, as well as nannying and nurseries.
I really like NCMA products, but just not their people!
As a childminder I feel that you cannot afford not to be a member of the NCMA. You get: A good, cheap , public liability insurance, which will now be included within the annual membership cost, Member magazines - which are invaluable to keep you up to date with any news concerning childminders and any campaigns the NCMA are waging on our behalf, Cheaper products - ie bookkeeping books,contracts, fire blankets etc etc A legal helpline and support. Opportunity to get other services cheaper - ie home/car insurance through other companies by giving your NCMA number. Being Self employed can feel as if you are a bit isolated - having a national Organisation to campaign for your interests and better recognition for the work we do, can only benefit us. It should be a must for all childminders. A shame that the £40 odd annual premium cannot be split into smaller payments as childminders are not generally known for their wealth!
The National Childminding Association (NCMA) provides local support for Childminders and lobby's the Government on Childminder related issues. The current membership (as at April 2000) is 45000. Membership includes insurance cover, a handbook, newsletters etc. Members also have various hotlines that they can ring i.e. Legal Advice, Insurance Line and General Information Line. The members handbook is ideal for Childminders as it covers such areas as: negotiating contracts; paying tax and NI; Social Security benefits; Child Protection; Quality Assurance; equal opportunities and promoting childminding. NCMA also publishes cash books, attendance registers etc. As a professional I think that this organisation is a valuable support network for Childminders, and represents their membership very well with government departments consult them.