Nannies & Au Pairs


Nannies provide childcare in your own home and are a popular choice for many families. They can look after children of any age and should provide plenty of fun and learning opportunities in a safe environment. Nannies can often work flexible hours and can be a suitable option if you work at times when other forms of childcare are not available.

Why Do You Need A Nanny?
Before you start looking for a nanny, it’s a good idea to decide exactly what you need them to do.

So you will need to work out:

  • What duties you wish the nanny to perform
  • What hours you will need the nanny to work
  • Whether you want a live-in or daily nanny
  • Whether your nanny may be able to care for any child of their own at your house while looking after your children
  • Whether you have any special requirements, such as them being a non-smoker, or needing to speak a different language
  • Whether your nanny should like pets, be a driver, own a car, or have experience of children with special needs
  • Payment details – how you would like to pay them, and how you will reimburse them for money they
    spend on the children
  • Terms and conditions of employment

Finding A Nanny
Finding the right person does take time, so do try to begin your search at least twelve weeks before you need your nanny to start work. The safest way to find a trustworthy nanny is by contacting a nanny recruitment agency. There are a wide range of agencies, some dealing with particular needs
including sharing a nanny with another family. Many agencies advertise in magazines and local newspapers. For a fee, an agency will match your requirements with those of suitable candidates who you will then interview.  Even though a good agency should have carefully vetted nannies on their books, you should still ask the agency to tell you precisely what checks they have undertaken.

Ofsted Childcare Register (vOCR)
The voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register (vOCR) was introduced in April 2007 and you may prefer to use nannies on this register as you will know that they have met specific requirements.
Nannies registered on the vOCR will have undergone an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and have met other requirements such as holding an appropriate first aid qualification and have training in the common core skills. They will also hold a Public Liability Insurance certificate.

Care registered with Ofsted is eligible for the childcare element of working tax credit – parents should
check their eligibility with HMRC before making their arrangements. If you decide not to go through an
agency, there are other ways to find a trustworthy nanny.

You Can Place An Advert In:

  • A magazine
  • Your local newspaper
  • Notice boards where nannies might look for jobs, like primary schools, your local newsagents, or drop-in centres for mothers and children.

Your advert needs to detail hours, duties, ages of children (for safety reasons - not their names) and the area where you live (not your actual address). It should also ask respondents to send details of their age, experience, qualifications, employment history and a covering letter explaining why the nanny would like to apply for this particular post.

What Should I Look For In A Potential Nanny?
Draw up a list of attributes to look out for. These could include:

  • Skills and knowledge – Childcare and child development qualifications - Ability to plan and arrange safe, fun learning opportunities – Nutrition: planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks - First aid training
  • Driving experience if required -Organisational skills
  • Attitudes - Interest in children as individuals – Confidence - Resourceful personality
  • Experience - Experience of working with children (ages and settings)

What Should I Discuss With My Potential Nanny?

  • The wage or salary (with details about tax and National Insurance arrangements)
  • How payment will be made, monthly or weekly, by cheque or directly into a bank account, etc.
  • The hours and duties of the job
  • When you would want her/him to start
  • Holiday entitlements and whether she/he would be willing to take them at certain times, e.g. to fit with school terms or your annual leave
  • Length of probationary period
  • Positive discipline strategies – a trained childcare worker would never use physical punishment as a form of discipline
  • Child safety: in the home (including dealing with pets); when using public transport; and where appropriate when using the car (seat belts, car’s capacity, etc)

What Do Your Children Think?
It’s important to let your children meet the potential nanny – you need not tell them this might be their nanny when they’re introduced. Watch her or him with your child. It may be a good sign if he or she pays more attention to them than to you. How did your child respond?

Making sure your child is safe, well cared for and happy is one of the most vital concerns for any parent. Employing a nanny is an important responsibility. There are no legal requirements on a person applying to work as a nanny. So it is up to you, as parent and employer, to make sure that you are employing a nanny who will look after your children well.

For more information and help on choosing a nanny, go to