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Does anyone use NCMA contracts for childminding? If so is it still a valid contract if only one parent has signed the contract?

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I have only every used NCMA contracts, although both parents do not need to sign, If parents are jointly responsible for payment then both should sign the contract. I have had many cases where only one parents has signed.

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I have an issue where a parent has taken her child out of my care during the notice period 3days early and is refusing to pay for the care and will only pay for the care that has been provided. My services were still available and to cut a long story short i asked a question about refusal to give me permission for a get together with other children when she has allowed me to do it before. The mum feels it was unprofessional to as so didnt want to bring her daughter back. Asking a question isnt a breach of contract just a conflict of interest. I deal with her and not the dad although they live together and are recorded on the contract under name of parents guardians. I have also got recorded that both parents live together and have responsibility of the child. I had contacted the NCMA and they advised me that she has breached contract under clause 21, so have advised me to write to her, which i have. She has come back and set that under clause 27 where it states ' when parents/guardians are jointly responsible for the service it is important that both parents/guardians sign. Surely that does not mean that the whole contract is void. I still have a signature all beit only the mothers. I get paid in cash in arrears and dont know who pays for the care, it is the mum who gives it me or the dad has dropped it through the letter box once before. I wont be doing it again all my mums pay me now in advance. Cant contact NCMA till tuesday but i am worried as i only have mums signature not dads aswell that the whole contract is non existent. i have checked with other childminders i know and they only ever have one signature on the form. Can you advise me what you do when it comes to contracts and do you have any information to help me stop worrying about this.

 

Thanks

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You have a valid contract with HER and she must fulfil her side of the bargain... Point 27 refers to those people responsible for payment. That is HER. That said, I would let it go for the sake of three days' pay, but it sounds like it's actually also the notice period she's not paid for which is a LOT more than three days.

 

I had one like that back when I started out (not suggesting you're starting out though) and put it down to experience. Still smarts though. You've already learned to get paid in advance. I find every set of parents teach me something new.

 

Pursue it if you feel the need though.

 

Best of luck,

 

Honey

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Agree with Honey here, it is important to have both parents to sign if possible, but as long as the contract is signed by one of the parents it is a legally binding contract.

 

I appreciate that 3 days is 3 days, however you may be wise to cut your losses, NCMA solicitors will take up your case, but initially all they can do is write to the parent and advise to pay, if they choose not to at this point the solicitors will advise you your next step is persue through the courts, and you have to pay for this, I think its about £100-£150.

 

If it was me I would learn a lesson and start to charge in advance rather than in arrears as you will always run the risk of non payments.

 

Good luck in whatever you decide.

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Honey thank you for you reply. I have only been registered since October 2010 so it is all new to me. Oh and i forgot to mention she is a friend of mine who i have known for over 10years and she was my bridesmaid. There will be no friendship between us after all of this as i am quite shocked that she is behaving like this with me and didnt just except my apology and bring her daughter to me for the last 3days.

Did you have to pursue it with NCMA?

She is willing to pay me for the time i have cared for her child but not 3 days of care, the money is not £100s but it is alot more than normal hours as it school holidays nd she owes me for 24hours. She has tried to get out of paying by saying that i have been unprofessional by asking a question and thinks that that is relevant for her not paying her childcare fees till the end of the notice period. I will be calling NCMA on tuesday first thing, i just hope all is well without having both signatures, i feel she may have sought advice from somehwere to be able to think that clause 27 means that the contract is void. I dont read it as the way she is stating it though. The dad has never signed anything or spoke to me about anything to do with the care of his daughter he has picked her up a few times and thats it.

Do you know if NCMA only take cases further if the money is of a certain amount. The letter has been sent and if she doesnt reply then they said they will take the case on and send demand letters out. Is this advice, help free if you are an NCMA member?

 

Thanks

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Although I agree with previous replies, I DO insist that BOTH parents sign the contract, child record forms and permission forms... apparently it's done to protect us in the event of either parent disputing terms and conditions or them disagreeing between themselves. Better safe than sorry, in my view, and at my recent Ofsted the inspector did check for both signatures.

 

You may be worrying unnecessarily - the Mum may see sense and pay to avoid further unpleasantness (I had one who threatened not to but when I said I'd take it further she put the money through the letterbox without a further word) If not, see what the NCMA suggest and decide from there.

 

Either way, you've sadly learned a hard lesson and are right to insist on payment in advance to avoid this happening again.

 

I was told when I first started that the hardest thing to do was work for friends - it usually led to ill-feeling and disputes about what is business and what is friends helping out.

 

It must be especially difficult for you to try to sort this out when emotions are running high but my gut feeling is to rise above it, offer a settlement figure, in writing, and walk away with your head held high.

 

Good Luck!

 

Nona

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Hi, yes it is transpiring to be more hassle than it is worth, but then i feel why should i lose a loss of earnings simply because the parent didnt like me asking a question. I feel i aim to be professional at all times and by letting her not pay the fees isnt doing so. I kind of then think what is the point of having a contract if i am not going to adhere to it. It has upset me that she would behave like this but a very valuable lesson has been learnt that i wont look after friends children as they say "you cant mix business and pleasure".

It is a hard one for me if i get paid monies owed then we wont be friends anymore and if i dont get the money we still wont be friends.

I have learnt a lot from such a short time of being registered and it makes u realise that regardless people are out there for themselves and not interested in who they hurt along the way.

 

Thanks

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Hi Nona,

 

I will see what happens when i speak to NCMA and see what they advise, i hung back on sending the letter as we were friends and thought that i would give her the benefit of the doubt. Obviousley our friendship doesnt mean anything to her to behave like this. If it is not worth my time and hassle if she doesnt respond to my letter and then NCMA contact her and she still doesnt pay up then i probably wont take it further due to the hassle/fees etc i will incurr. I feel i have to at least go that far as on principal we signed the contract and discussed and agreed all content of the contract. I feel the service i have provided her has been of good quality and have had no previous issues until now. Although she is now grasping at straws and throwing all things into the disagreement to think it will allow her to not pay fees owed. As far as NCMA are concerned that is all he said she said and the black and white of it all is she has breached our contract. I have told her that if she had an issues regarding the service that i provided in the past then she should of addressed them at the time, not 5months down the line.

I will be very thorough with future parents and will get both signatures for everything.

 

Thanks

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Really extra hurtful time for you. My incident was with a friend too. Has taken three years but things very slowly thawing between us - my son at her son's birthday today. But every time I see her I still think '£400'! Rise above it and whatever you do...Don't talk to all and sundry about it! This is the place for ranting so that you don't get into slanging matches. You'll be more likely to re-coup your losses by gaining more work.

 

Sometimes people really don't have the money we think they do and they will go to all sorts of ends to hide the fact. Suing her won't mend any of your situations. BUT...if she starts slanging off about you...THEN go the legal route.

 

Write down your side of things and make sure your paperwork is right up to date to cover yourself if need be.

 

Think I'll be getting both parents to sign, but I'd be royally put out if I was told I couldn't access services for my children without my husband's signature.

 

Lots of deep breathing exercises,

 

Best of luck and all power,

 

Honey

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All my paperwork is up to date and i am very thorough so i have no worries on that front its just getting to grips with the contracts and all the clause's and what needs to be completed as i am well finding out!!

God that must be hard, i dont actually know if i could be friends after all this, i dont like falling out with people but i am one of them people who is less forgiving so well done to you.

I would love to know who has given her advice to say that clause 27 makes the contract void??!! But then again my brothers girlfriend is a barrister and she has advised me any solicitor will tell you that there is a case even if the chances are slim of winning the case as they are making money from it!! She has checked over the contract and sees no reason why the contract isnt valid. I have a signature where as a verbal agreement would still hold water and be binding.

Thanks i will air my feelings on here and not to her or everyone else. I am new on here but have found it very useful to gain advice and information, so i thank you all.

 

Katie

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If you are with the NCMA and have purchased insurance - ask them to put you in contact with a solicitor who will look at your contracts and then contact your parent - it will start with a letter of warning to the parent - etc., etc., this should be free to you if you have NCMA insurance. The solicitor can take it all the way to the small claims court.

 

Good luck

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