What does a good Nanny Agency look like? Are Nanny Agencies regulated?

Type into any search engine ‘Nanny agency near me’ and you will undoubtedly be presented with pages upon pages of local nanny agencies, offering to help you find your perfect nanny in return for a fee.

Which one do you go with? The one with the highest reviews? The one that is closest? The one you have heard of before, or maybe the ones at the top of the page advertising their services? It is incredibly difficult to choose!

Nanny Agencies that introduce you to Nannies, where the family employs the nanny are classed under UK law as ‘Employment Agencies’.

Nanny Agencies who employ the Nannies directly and supply the nanny to you are called ‘Employment Businesses’ (sometimes known as a supply or temping agency).

Contrary to popular belief, both types of Nanny Agencies must abide by the rules and regulations set out on the Government website, which are enforced by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS). The full list of rules and regulations can be found here.

The EAS has powers to investigate complaints about nanny agencies and can prohibit them from operating where they have broken the law.

It is important to note that Nanny Agencies do not have industry-specific regulations, only Employment Agency or Employment Business regulations.

So, what should a good Nanny Agency look like if there is no industry-specific regulating body? How do I know that the agency I choose to work with does everything properly?

Here is our definitive checklist of what to look out for when choosing a Nanny Agency to work with:

  1. Are they registered with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)? The REC has a Childcare sector, and all corporate members must comply with the REC code, adhere to the REC standards, and pass a compliance test.

  2. Are they registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO)? Details of registration will be found on privacy policies, website footers, and email footers.

  3. Can they provide details of their insurance certificate when asked?

  4. Are they corporate members of industry-specific Associations such as BAPN (British Association of Professional Nannies)

  5. Are they registered with a Small Business Association such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)?

  6. Can you always contact them by phone and email during normal working hours?

  7. Have they listened carefully to your requirements and offered you lots of useful advice and tips before advertising your role?

  8. Have they advertised your job after you have signed terms and provided full details, and either given express consent to start recruiting immediately or waited the 14 days cooling-off period to pass?

  9. Do they act in accordance with the discrimination and equality acts? You can check this by scanning the Nanny Agencies work-seeker sign up forms for discriminatory questions like ‘are you male or female’.

  10. Do they call and email you regularly to update you on progress?

  11. Can they provide a comprehensive overview of the nannies they are presenting to you for consideration which details everything you need to know, both by law and from your job specification?

  12. Do they provide you with two most recent references, and if unable, do they tell you what steps they have taken to obtain them?

  13. Can they provide you with the verification of qualifications if required for the role, and if unable to can they tell you what steps they have taken to obtain them?

  14. Have they checked the original enhanced DBS certificate, and then checked it on the update service, telling you the status?

  15. Have they performed a right to work check on the nannies interested in your role, and provided you with the status before setting up interviews?

  16. Do they organise the interviews for the nannies you have chosen to interview and provided all parties with appropriate feedback?

  17. Have they recommended a payroll provider and provided you with an up to date template employment contract and other documents you will require when you become an employer….?

  18. Does their website contain all the information you would expect to see, such as a trading address, privacy policy, terms of business, named contact, and is it a secure website?

Our checklist is not exhaustive. It gives you an idea of what should be going on behind the scenes, if in any doubt, use a reputable, established, multi-award-winning, and trusted nanny agency such as Harmony at Home.

Author: Frankie Gray

Frankie Gray is Chair of the Regulation Matters Nanny Agencies Sub-Group. The group is developing a Code of Practice for all Nanny Agencies to follow alongside formal compulsory registration to a Nanny Agency regulatory body. Frankie is passionate about developing a regulation process for all Nanny Agencies, to set a high standard of safer recruitment, safeguarding, and peace of mind for parents.