Childminders are required to register with the local authority under the Children Act 1989. They must meet specified standards relating to their suitability as carers of children, the safety of premises and facilities, insurance and record keeping. Checks are made on all members of the household over the age of 16 years. Childminders are inspected every year.
The Children Act 1989 limits the number of children under 8 years in the care of childminders at any one time to six children, this includes the childminders own children. A childminder may not mind more than three children under 5 years. The certificate will state how many children a childminder will care for.
'Word of mouth' is a good reference, ask friends or colleagues if they have used a registered childminder they have been happy with. Alternatively Surrey County Council provide information about childminders.