Local Authorities Clarify Advice for Unregulated Sector

A photograph of two small children holding hands with grownups.

With national restrictions coming in at relatively short notice, it has been challenging for some providers to find out what requirements apply to them. This has been especially true for the children’s activity sector, where the diversity of provision offered meant that many businesses found that the government’s initial guidance placed them in a grey area.

In part, the complexity of the situation reflects the tensions within the government. While the need for new restrictions to control the spread of the virus is widely acknowledged, many politicians have grave misgivings about shutting down businesses. This is especially true where businesses provide services to parents and children. Furthermore, there are two classes of restriction – what businesses are allowed to operate, and who is allowed to patronise them. This can cause confusion, as a business may only be allowed to operate for some customers and not others.

Ultimately some of these questions have to be resolved on a case by case basis. Responsibility for enforcement lies with local authorities, who have now been given instructions by the government on how to handle individual queries, so that there is a reasonably consistent approach nationwide.  This has been particularly important for businesses offering care for children while parents are working, or various forms of support to vulnerable groups.

With restrictions expected to be eased in the coming weeks, it will be crucial for providers to understand when their businesses can re-open and what restrictions may still apply. In addition to contacting local authorities, Morton Michel policyholders can make use of the free legal advice line offered by ARAG to determine what regulations apply to your businesses. 

The Children’s Activities Association provides detailed guidance for businesses in this sector on their website: http://www.childrensactivitiesassociation.org/