Being a parent is one of the best things ever. The creation of a small person who will rely on you to care for them, to love and nurture them, to guide, encourage and support them and keep them headed in the right direction, and to grow up to be the best person they can ever be! Therefore choosing a nanny is a big decision for a family looking for childcare, and hiring the correct nanny agency is a big deal of a decision and, a decision that should not be made lightly.
Whilst parents naturally want to enjoy those special moments as their children grow, feeling proud when their child learns something new and reaches another developmental milestone, as well as experiencing the fun and happiness when their child’s own individual personality starts to develop, sadly there are families who do not have that luxury of staying at home and being there for every new experience. Work gets in the way. These days a large number of households have two working parents, two working parents who want to provide for their family in the best way possible. This is where a reputable nanny agency can help and add value when searching for childcare.
One of the biggest dilemma’s a parent will face will be what to do with the children when they have to return to work after the birth of their child or children. There are a number of factors to consider when looking at childcare options – particularly when trying to find a nanny agency.
What kind of childcare is going to suit my family? What Will A Nanny Agency Provide? What works for one family may not work for another.
The typical choices of childcare arrangement which everyone hears about are nurseries and childminders, however, what about those families who would much prefer their children to be looked after in their own home? We are of course referring to hiring the services of a professional nanny.
A nanny will work in the family home to provide 1-1 care and interaction of the children in their own familiar surroundings to enable continuity of the family routines. A nanny is employed by the family (the employer), the family are responsible for providing a contract of employment to the nanny (the employee) which states the particulars of the employment, they are responsible for ensuring appropriate deductions are made and reported to HMRC in terms of tax, national insurance and pension contributions in addition to ensuring the workplace (the family home) is compliant with health and safety expectations.
A nanny does not fit HMRC requirements to be self-employed, as:
- The working hours of a nanny are determined by the family
- The nanny cannot send someone in their place to do the job if the nanny is not available or sick
- The nanny does not need to supply any equipment in order to do the job
What Is A Nanny?
People who choose to be a nanny do so as their professional career choice because they want to be able to provide that 1-1 care and interaction with the children they are employed to care for, they have a natural instinct to nurture, support, guide, help and encourage children to learn new things and develop their skills and reach those milestones, they also play a big part in being an exemplary role model for the children to learn from in developing social skills, manners, respect, preparing the children for nursery and school environment. Nannies take great pride in their work, looking after the children as though they were their own – which is exactly what parents want for their children.
Nannies will have their own areas of specialism in terms of childcare skills and experience. The main childcare qualification formerly known as an NNEB qualification is now known as a CACHE Diploma in Childcare. There are other varieties of training ranging from NVQ 2 and 3 in Childcare Learning and Development to Childcare Early Years Education. The training will be a mixture of theory based written work and practical experience working with the full age range from babies up to 8 years. Most placements take place in a nursery setting rather than in a homebased environment.
As the nanny industry is currently unregulated there is no requirement for a nanny to have a childcare qualification, and families must choose the right person to fit their family dynamics. This may be someone who has worked as a nanny for many years without formal training, or someone who has the training element and nursery placement training.
Continuous Professional Development For Nannies
A professional nanny is committed to their profession, ensuring they are following best practice and keep their skills refreshed and current so they can provide the best care for the children in their care. Understanding how to manage in the event of a medical incident or emergency situation is something which is essential for a nanny to keep up to date with. We insist all nannies renew their paediatric first aid skills regularly. First aid certificates are renewable every three years, though there is no legal obligation for a nanny to have a first aid certificate much to our dissatisfaction!
Other training options may include:
- Professional nanny training – ideal for those moving from nursery environment to working in the family home
- Safeguarding and Child Protection
- Food Hygiene
- Maternity Nanny Training
- Sleep specialist
- Healthy living & healthy eating
A useful resource for professional development and keeping up to date with childcare industry specific news is https://www.cache.org.uk/cache-alumni
What Does a Nanny Provide To A Family?
A Nanny is responsible for attending to the needs of the child in his or her care. This includes being responsible for their general wellbeing, safety and happiness; planning the day with age appropriate games, activities and outings to encourage learning and development and social interaction; planning and preparing of healthy meals; following the families routines and being the best role model for the children they have been entrusted to look after.
A Norland Nanny is often considered as the high calibre of nanny a Royal, VIP and Elite family would look for. A Norland Nanny is specifically training in all eventualities to enable them to go way above and beyond a typical nanny role. Norland training is very extensive and enables the nanny to teach children in their care extra skills such as teaching eloquence, exemplary manners and etiquette expected from a family of high society and wealth, this is in addition to teaching the children multiple languages, a variety of sporting activities and life skills, in addition and to learning to protect the children from any unexpected eventuality.
A Governess is usually employed to work with children who are of school age and are primarily in place to support the child’s educational needs in addition to their general wellbeing. The Governess role is usually carried out by someone from a teaching background to ensure they can teach and support in line with learning occurring in school.
A maternity nanny is usually an experienced nanny who has worked with lots of babies and young children during their career. A maternity nanny will support the family with their new baby for the first weeks or months of babies life, helping with implementing routines and taking care of baby during the night to enable new parents to catch up on some much needed sleep.
A doula is a professional trained in childbirth and someone who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to an expectant mother in the weeks prior to the arrival of a new baby, during labour and for some weeks following the birth. The purpose of a doula is to provide emotional support to enable women to have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience.
A nanny is not the same as a babysitter, or an Au Pair – a nanny is responsible for all duties pertaining to the children, they are not the household cleaner or housekeeper.
There are also different kinds of childcare styles which nannies may specialise in; this can help with those families who choose to follow a specific method of parenting.
Montessori is a method of education that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms children make creative choices in their learning, while the classroom and the highly trained teacher offer age-appropriate activities to guide the process. More information about the Montessori method can be found by visiting their website https://www.mariamontessori.org/about-us/why-montessori/
Waldorf Steiner is based on a kind and respectful approach to development encouraging the child to be imaginative and creative in their early years by experiencing combined play between adult and child through real life situations. https://www.steinerwaldorf.org/
The Pikler / RIE Approach is based on a kind and respectful relationship between an adult and child, through tender care moments, a naturally paced motor development, free movement and uninterrupted play. Find out more at https://www.pikler.co.uk/ or for RIE have a look at – https://www.rie.org/educaring/ries-basic-principles
SEN Support – A Special Educational Need is defined as having a learning difficulty or disability that makes learning a challenge for a child. A child with an additional need will have greater difficulty learning than other children of the same age group. Their disability may prevent them making use of facilities. Additional needs such as ADHD, Autism and Aspergers Syndrome, Dyslexia, & Development Delay are some of the most common additional needs a nanny will have experience of supporting and developing – every child is an individual and learns in their own way.
How Can I Find The Best Professional Nanny Agency For My Needs?
There are numerous nanny agencies in the UK, some larger than others, some more personable and attentive than others. When choosing a nanny agency to help you to find the best person to look after your children, do trust your instincts, and look for a nanny agency that is a member of The Association of Nanny Agencies.
When you approach a nanny agency, consider the following carefully:-
- Are they approachable, do you feel confident that the agency has the expertise to help you, & will they listen and support you?
- Are they local to you? Are they recommended by others? Will they visit you if you would like to talk through the technicalities & costs of hiring a nanny?
- What are the registration standards which this agency adheres to?
- How does the nanny agency select & vet potential candidates to fulfil your requirements?
- What happens if things don’t work out & what is the warranty and guarantee period?
- Are they members of The Association of Nanny Agencies?
- Does the agency have good reviews on resources such as Google, Yell, TrustPilot, and Yelp etc?
A reputable nanny agency should be thorough in doing as much vetting and due diligence as part of their registration process to assess the suitability of each nanny in order to match them to the right family. Sadly some agencies will accept older DBS checks and do not insist on nannies being on the update service – we personally find this quite unforgivable as the DBS certificate [without the update service in place] is only accurate at the time the certificate was printed, but any activity since the certificate was printed is unknown. That is why Notable Nannies Limited will not accept a DBS certificate that is more than six months old, unless we can check the Update Service for any candidate registering with us. Things can and do change in a short period of time and we want peace of mind that the candidates we put forward are cleared to work with children and there are no concerns or any reason a nanny cannot be put forward to work with children. One of the common objections we see in industry is some nannies objecting to a new DBS where they have failed to subscribe to the update service, and we hear that other agencies they were accepted with a DBS that is more than 12 months old. We don’t make any exceptions to our policy. A lot can change in 12 months.
We are also asked frequently by Nannies, why other agencies will accept a DBS that is processed either as a standard DBS check rather than an enhanced DBS check, or where the purpose of the check was specified as caring of adults rather than children. Our policy is clear, we will only accept an enhanced DBS that was carried out with the purpose of working with children, as the DBS check is subjective and at the discretion of the relevant police forces where a candidate has lived. As the police have discretion when processing a DBS check some disclosures would not be divulged for a candidate working exclusively with adults, whereby the disclosure would be disclosed if the request is specifically for working with children – this is at the discretion of the police force processing the DBS check request. It is for this reason we only accept a DBS certificate that is either on the Update Service or is under 6 months old, and it must be an enhanced DBS with the purpose of caring for children specifically. Details of the DBS Update Service and the costs to register etc can be found at https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service
A nanny agency which is a member of The Association of Nanny Agencies abides by a strict code of best practice which includes:
- Meeting potential candidates in person for a thorough face to face interview. Where a face to face meeting is not possible, an initial video meeting can be offered until a face to face meeting can take place
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, agencies are to encourage video conferencing only for meetings, to safeguard their personnel, candidates, and clients
- Checking of original identity documents, proof of address, & right to work in the UK
- Checking of original qualifications and training, including up to date paediatric first aid training
- Checking DBS, DBS update service, and nanny insurance status
- Verified reference checking – contacting written references to verify the accuracy and validity of all references for a nanny
How Can My Nanny Agency Help Me Find the Perfect Nanny?
Finding a Nanny or Nanny Housekeeper can seem like an overwhelming task, especially in this currently unregulated industry.
You need a person who gets along well with you and your children, someone who meets your qualification(s) and experience requirements, someone who possesses the skills appropriate for your children’s age group, abilities and needs, and someone who fits with your family dynamics.
A nanny agency will talk you through the process and be there to guide and support you all the way through, from selection and matching of applicants, to sending you a CV, arranging interviews and finally to the point where you are ready to offer the job. We recommned keeping in close contact with your Nanny Agency of choice, and would recommend conducting two interviews with any nannies, and perhaps consider a paid trial day with the nanny to be sure you have the right person for your needs. Most agencies will be accomodating of these basic steps to ensure you get the right individual. Follow your gut instincts!
How Can Notable Nannies Limited Help Me Find A Nanny In London?
Notable Nannies is a bespoke, flexible, and friendly London nanny agency which care about finding the right solution to each individual family need. Our nannies are located in all areas of South West of London with nannies knowing the child friendly places to go with the children in with care. Some of the nanny favourite spots include:
- Clapham Common
- Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
- Wimbledon Common
- Wimbledon Sprinkler Park
- Brockwell Park
- Tooting Bec Common
- Streatham Common
- Dulwich Park
- Wandsworth Common
The team at Notable Nannies provide an efficient and effective service to help families find the right solution to fit their family requirements. Based in the Clapham area of South London, we are able to help families and nannies located in Clapham, Dulwich, Herne Hill, Balham and surrounding areas. Being a London nanny agency we are also able to support in Central London areas of Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea, Fulham, and to the north too.
If you are a family looking for a new nanny, Notable Nannies can help you, whether you are looking for a Montessori trained person, a full time live in nanny, or live out, a Norland Nanny or a maternity nanny – let our team of industry experts know what kind of solution will work for you and we will support with finding the best childcare professional for you.
During our initial conversation we can discuss your needs and advise you of timescales to set reasonable expectations at the onset and to let you know about the salary costs and agency placement fees payable for complete transparency. Our advice and support is free of charge and you do not pay us anything if we cannot find you a suitable nanny that meets your needs.
Our team understands the pressures of family life and are able to offer flexibility in meeting times & our telephone lines are also available out of office hours to accommodate discussions to fit around working patterns and children’s bedtimes. Our aim is to make the process of finding a nanny as efficient and seamless as possible.
Appreciating that every family is different in their expectations, with your consent Notable Nannies will work with other London nanny agencies who are known to us as members of The Association of Nanny Agencies, to find the perfect candidate who may have specialist skills.
Peace of mind, transparency and quality of applicants are very important qualities, in addition to ensuring our team perform as much due diligence as to the suitability of each candidate before submitting to you for consideration. There are limits as to what an agency can do legally, for example, it is a common misconception that an agency can conduct health screening of nannies. Legally we cannot do this, but we can help steer & support you, the employer, to conduct your own health screening.
Our support does not stop once a placement has been agreed; once a placement commences, Notable Nannies will continue to be available at intervals to provide support and advise to both nanny and family independently to address any questions or concerns should they arise.
Where Notable Nannies Operates
Located between the Clapham, Balham and Dulwich Village areas of South London, the Notable Nannies team are able to support families in the wider locality to also cover Herne Hill, Brixton, Battersea & Wimbledon. Not only that, our knowledge of the Central London regions is vast and this enables us to support families and nannies in the Kensington, Fulham, Chelsea and Notting Hill areas too. We like a challenge however, so if you are outside of these areas we will still try to help you – we have helped clients in other parts of the UK too.
The nannies who are registered with Notable Nannies have a good knowledge of the child friendly places and groups to visit in all areas of London to encourage learning, development and social interaction for the children. One of our nannies recently wrote a blog outlining their activities during COVID-19 and you can read all about their experiences of London museums and Brockwell Park.
Notable Nannies Limited is not just a London Nanny Agency, the team are passionate about providing support to families and nannies in the North East of England too, and we have recently taken over the operations of Kids Deserve The Best, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, as part of our growth plans. Our team is able to source nannies across all regions of Newcastle, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham. The support is consistent no matter where the location is.
Notable Nannies Limited Is Not Just Like Any Other London Nanny Agency
Professional standards and quality of care are very important values to the whole team at Notable Nannies; to ensure we stand out amongst the best UK nanny agencies, we are proud members of The Association of Nanny Agencies (ANA) where we are held accountable for our actions and bound by the ANA Code of Best Practice, to ensure we do our best to provide an exceptional quality service to both families and nannies. Not only that, our team are very much involved at Committee level for ANA, working on a voluntary basis, because we are passionate about raising the standards of professionalism within the nanny industry overall, something we feel is very important in an industry of childcare which is currently unregulated.
Notable Nannies believe in going the extra mile to ensure family and nanny happiness and satisfaction in a successful placement.
We are more than happy to arrange to meet our families in the family home to discuss options and answer any queries which may arise. We often feel meeting the family in their home environment gives us a helpful insight into the kind of nanny which will fit into your family. Of course COVID-19 has limited this offering currently, but we are able to offer ZOOM meetings during the lockdown period as an alternative.
With many years of experience in running a nanny agency, our extensive knowledge of London and North East regions, coupled with our passion and commitment as volunteers of The Association of Nanny Agencies, gives us a vast wealth of skill and knowledge in understanding the individual needs of each family, in addition to appreciating the requirements and expectations from both family and nanny aspects.
Honesty is the best policy, and this is what you get from the Notable Nannies team from start to finish.
Can Notable Nannies Limited help me find my next London Nanny?
Of course! Please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0203 1500 670, we offer flexibility with our availability to fit around your busy working days and fitting around children and their bedtimes, we are open over the weekend and on an evening to accommodate discussions and meeting with you if you would like to meet the team. Let us know how we can help, and please give us as much notice as you can if you require childcare. The more notice we get, the better the chances of finding the best possible candidate for your vacancy. We can signpost you to everything you need including nanny payroll services and employer’s liability insurance, if you don’t already have this in place, to ensure your placement runs as smoothly as possible when you hire your next nanny.
So How Do I Get The Most Out Of Engaging The Services of a Reputable London Nanny Agency?
- Ensure you choose an agency who is approachable and takes the time to listen to your requirements – communication & transparency is key
- Ensure the agency you choose offers a guarantee period to ensure a successful placement without having to pay again for a new nanny
- Ensure the agency you choose has adequate business professional indemnity insurance – £100K cover is the usual amount to look for
- Trust your instincts – be wary if an agency asks for money upfront or appears to be sending CVs without checking they fit the requirements of the position
By doing the above, you can be assured that you have chosen a nanny agency which adheres to excellent professional standards of care and support to both nannies and families.
What A Nanny Agency Can’t Do?
All reputable nanny agencies are responsible for adhering to the recruitment agency standards set by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate. The standards safeguard the rights of agency workers by ensuring that employment agencies and businesses treat their clients and candidates fairly. The Employment Agency Standards is also the department who investigates any complaints about a recruitment or placement agency.
The Employment Agency Standards ensure fair treatment for all with efforts to ensure an agency does not discriminate against any candidate who wishes to be considered for a position available. This includes ensuring job descriptions do not specify whether a male or female applicant or specifying a specific nationality or a specific age of candidate. We therefore, for example, cannot specify a native language speaker when advertising a job.
There are limitations as to what an agency can get involved with, this includes the carrying out of health screening as mentioned earlier in this article – agencies cannot ask detailed questions about the health and any disabilities a candidate may have but they can conduct suitability checking to a basic standard as permitted by law. As the family would become the employer of the nanny, they are able to request detailed health information about a candidate they intend to employ, however, this can only be done once a job offer has been made.
We hope this information is helpful to families looking for a nanny, do trust your instincts and remember what works for one family may not necessarily work for you.
Thank you for reading!
Best wishes from the Notable Nannies Limited team, Sarah Parkin, Liane Herbert, Ray Burke, and Lydia Maslen.