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Needing a nanny - Be nanny wise...

My heart goes out to the children and their families with recent news regarding other children harmed in a childcare setting where they should be safe.

I have been working in childcare since 1982. I can say I am saddened how some childcare is recruited today as the checks are not good enough. Much of this is due to the trusting of the internet and happy to recruit from this. For the older generation like myself I would never trust the internet for childcare, for most other things which are material I am happy to do so.

To gain the NNEB qualification we trained for two full years a combination of one week in placement and one on theory in college. This gave the establishments time to assess us. Not only in theory but also in our care for the children. We were monitored, supervised, and mentored throughout this time. All placements carried regular checks on us and a report at the end. This gave the opportunity when applying for work once we had passed our NNEB to get references, plus the experience of working with children in various settings.

A brief on how Nanny agencies have change over the past 20 years…

When I first opened my agency there was no internet, we used fax and post methods. Interviews were always face to face and references clarified via post. As the internet developed methods changed and the CVs that were posted or faxed to parents became email sent. In the last 10 years childcare has changed significantly, and more internet childcare sites opened causing a great demise in Nanny agencies. It’s impossible for agencies to compete on costs, with all the work and scrutiny they do on every nanny they meet. Agencies will match nannies to your requirements. If they don’t to be honest, they are not the agency for you. The cost incurred is all the work before placement, the reputable agencies exceed the checking process, they will interview the nanny, check details, question methods, often have a local knowledge of where people have worked, references verified, and after placement supporting you and the nanny. Nannies enjoy the support of their agency who would give unbiased opinion if they needed help and advice.

So below here are some of the methods nannies and parents now use when seeking work:

Please note you do not have to be trained to become a nanny or even have any experience in childcare

Ofsted: Insist that Nannies are trained in the 6 common core skills before they can become ofsted registered. They will request insurance, first aid and a DBS for each person before registration can take place

What is missing: No interview to become registered or a close look at a person’s background and no references. They will go out to visit some nannies who are registered, and you will be informed if they wish to meet your nanny.

Cost: Parents pay £105.00 per year for the nanny to register

Internet: Nannies can put their details up and parents are left to check the CVS and references. Parents can advertise a post and nannies apply direct. Some sites charge the nanny to be on the site

What’s missing: Nannies can say they have qualifications and can’t always produce the evidence and references. I have known nannies I refused to work on gain work through this method. So, parents need to check all details and not just accept what is being said. Check the site you are using and see if any checks have occurred each company has its own practices

Cost: Often a fee to advertise your post but generally very cheap

Nanny agencies: A reputable agency will interview the nanny correctly this will not be a 15-minute interview this will be 1 hour, they will check the DBS, training, references and will be able to assess if the nanny has a genuine love and expertise for the role, by sourcing lots of information before sending out to you.

What’s missing: No details should be missing, and we advise that you check your agency is signed up with ANA (Association of nanny agencies) Agencies are under strict code of practice for which their practices are checked and under scrutiny.

Costs: varies from a fixed rate can be from £200- 5 weeks salary. You DO NOT pay until the agency finds you someone. No cost to nannies to register as you are seeking employment.

Consultancy service: The service means that should you find a nanny they will look through the CV for you, check DBS, Check references, and give you advise about taking on your nanny. Many offer a period of support when your nanny commences.

What’s missing: The consultancy service does not search for a nanny for you. Consultancy services do not search for posts for nannies either.

Costs: Varies from £150 per nanny and some nanny agencies will offer this service in addition to normal agency services


When I wanted to become a professional nanny, it meant a 2-year training course to become NNEB. Childcare training has become less over the years which in my opinion has been the change in much of the professionalism. I have known nannies to take training online for up to 1 hour and gain a certificate. Let’s be honest children are precious and those caring for them should have the correct training. This has occurred with the common core skill training many companies offer less hours so they can sell the training cheap to gain more numbers and this drops the standard of training undertaken.

Advise: I would urge parents to check the qualification/ training the nanny has and what areas they have covered. Even contact the company who delivers the training see what the training is all about.

References: You need both written and calling. Unfortunately, those who will not get a reference often ask other people to do a telephone call one for them. The intention by that person may be to help their friend but it is crucial you have true and honest references.

Written: If these are not true you have written evidence that can if need be challenged in court that a person has lied.

Call: If an employer said they would not re-employ it can mean they did not suit the team and let’s be honest different characters can be a pleasure to some and to others. Check before you make a final decision. I did employ someone who did not get on with previous employer just a personality clash, they worked for me for 7 years and were fantastic. The crucial question I asked, “was there any child safety issue, or was it just the personality did not suit your family?”

CV: Check every cap in employment. Check dates they say they have worked for someone- Reasons for leaving

DBS: They are only valid for the time taken out. Therefore, every person who is working with children should be on the update service. This means you can check the DBS. If your chosen nanny is not on this, you can insist they take another DBS out. It is a legal requirement to have a DBS for working with children under 18 years of age and must be enhanced check

To conclude:

I had great pleasure in helping nannies and families throughout the Southeast and Kent areas for over 20 years. I am extremely proud to say those I placed were overall great nannies, many of whom I am still in touch with. We had one nanny in her post for over 18 years and even then, they did not want her to leave. Nannies offer a great service to working parents so if all the checks are done, and nannies find lovely families to work for it can be beneficial to all.

All companies vary and we advise that parents look at those who fulfill their individual needs and offer the service they would like.

Don’t be put off just be Nanny and family wise

For further assistance please feel free to contact us.

We offer common core skills training for nannies

Links you may find useful:

Association of nanny agencies:

DBS checks

Payroll for nannies:

Nanny insurance :

First aid:

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