Choosing a nanny agency

Choosing a Nanny agency is the first step towards securing the nanny or child care you are looking for. However, choosing the right nanny agency can be one of any family’s most overwhelming and bewildering challenges. This article sets out to provide you with some pointers to help you make the right choice.

You want to feel that you can trust the nanny agency and their workforce to do all that they can to help you secure the most suitable person for the role. The key function of Nanny agencies is to provide help, advice and no-nonsense support to parents seeking a nanny or other form of childcare provision. You want to feel confident that the candidates identified by the Nanny agency from which you are to choose are competent, have the right experience, personal qualities and skills for the job. By choosing the right Nanny agency you can certainly take away much of the stress and worry of the recruitment process.

Also you will maximise your prospect of securing the most right nanny or childcare provision to go with your family’s wishes. Generally, Nanny agencies achieve this by developing effective relationships with the clients (parents) to identify their specific childcare needs. Most frequently this is done initially by means of the clients completing a registration form. The form provides the agency with basic information about the family, the address, the ages and gender of the child or children to be cared for and the nature of the child care required. Firstly, we believe that there are no shortcuts. Be prepared to do some careful planning, thorough research, and invest some time in the process.
By planning carefully for the initial meeting with a member of the nanny agency team you can assist them in getting a much better picture of the sort of nanny or child-minder you are looking for. You should weigh up whether you need a fulltime nanny, au pair or housekeeper or part time nanny or child-minder.  Aim to be clear about the hours the nanny is required for. Be sure to find out the likely hourly or salary rates that are expected for a Nanny or child-minder carrying out the duties you require. Live-in Nannies rates of pay are adjusted to take account of the free accommodation. Live out nannies work the hours and times agreed in the contract. This is generally up to 10 hours per day.

Consider what sort of personal qualities, experience or skills sets are of the most important for you and your children? These will in turn form your selection criteria. Other questions to bear in mind are what responsibilities precisely would you want the nanny to have? Here are some examples to help you with your thinking. Will you need them to take and or pick the children up from school? Take them to classes or clubs? If so, do they will require a driving licence and access to a car? Will you want them to wash and iron the children’s clothes? Tidy up after them? Cook meals for them? Put them to bed? Will you want the Nanny to live in or live out? Nannies and au pairs who ‘live in’ are provided with suitable accommodation most commonly within the family home. Are you likely to want the nanny, housekeeper or au pair to do any babysitting duties in the evening? Babysitting duties are not usually included in the contract of live out nannies but may be negotiated if situation change. When the nanny agency has got all this information they will embark upon the recruitment process, searching for a number of suitable nannies, au pairs, housekeepers or child minders which fit the criteria mentioned earlier.

Choosing which Nanny agency to use

As a rule any professional and reputable Nanny agency will have websites on the internet so this should be a place to start. Choosing a local nanny agency has a number of advantages as they should be better placed to offer a more personalised service. You should be able to form a trusting bond with a specific agency staff member. In addition, being local means that they should be able to answer any queries that you as the clients may have. There are Nanny agencies based across the West Midlands and South Staffordshire. How can you find out which are the best ones? Well, you can check ‘The Good Nanny Agency Guide’ to see if there is a Nanny agency in your area listed. Any Nanny agency listed on such sites as or has been through a rigorous vetting process to ensure that their policies and procedures meet the required standards. Family Connections is the only recommended Nanny agency currently listed for Staffordshire. In addition Family Connections is one of only three Nanny agencies to make their recommended list in the West Midlands.

Child protection is of paramount importance to both the Nanny agency and you as parents therefore should check what safeguards the nanny agency have in place to ensure that candidates for the job are appropriately qualified, competent and have an up-to-date Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check? When you receive the application forms of the prospective candidates for the job will you understand what the different Nanny or childcare qualifications mean in terms of the level of training they have received? By entering a ‘Qualifications for Childcare and Nannies’ search into Google you can get a better understanding of the training that your prospective Nanny or child-minder has had. The most common qualifications are: Diploma in Childcare (formerly NNEB). The National Diploma in Child Studies which is comparable to NNEB. National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) in Childcare come in levels 1,2, and 3. Level 3 being the highest and is the corresponding of NNEB. Each level covers a child’s physical, emotional and social development.

The website recommends that child-minders and nannies should have experience of working in different child care settings. Preferably they will have at least three years’ experience and hopefully in different settings. Be sure to ask how Nanny agency fees are worked out and exactly what they cover. Finally, having made your selection, ensuring the contract of employment, salary, income tax and national insurance arrangements are in place can be a bureaucratic nightmare. The Family Connections agency have an arrangement with Tiny Tots Accountants so that they can provide help and advice with employment contracts and keep you up to date with tax rates and any other changes that may affect your employment responsibilities. Check their website for details. So when choosing for a nanny agency to help you secure the right nanny or childcare provision for your family there are some simple steps that can help you choose the right one for you.