Parents who regularly look after their friends' children must register as childminders, Ofsted said, as two policewomen were warned against caring for each other's children.
The regulator stressed that people who baby-sit for one another's children for more than two hours at a time or on more than 14 days per year should be registered. This applies where parents receive a “reward” for the childcare — which can include money or simply free baby-sitting in return.
Detective Constable Leanne Shepherd from Milton Keynes was warned by Ofsted to end a reciprocal arrangement with her friend DC Lucy Jarrett. She said: “When the Ofsted inspector turned up, she said ‘I have a report that you're running an illegal childminding business'.
“I straightaway thought she must be mistaken, so invited her into my home to explain we were police officers and best friends helping each other out.
“But she told me I was breaking the law and must end the arrangement. I was stunned, completely devastated.”
The officer is believed to have been reported by a neighbour, the Mail on Sunday said.