The Family Information Service provides general advice and information about hiring a nanny, nanny sharing and au pairs, but cannot provide details of individuals or agencies.
Nannies provide 'home childcare' which takes place in a child's home. Please note that unlike childminders, nannies do not have to be registered by Ofsted, although they may have good qualifications and long experience in childcare. Ask to see references, certificates for qualifications and DBS, Disclosure and Barring Service disclosures (formerly known as CRB checks). Nannies, au pairs and parents cannot apply for their own DBS disclosure. Agencies may do this for them. See the Home Office website to find out more.
Ofsted Voluntary Register
The voluntary part of Ofsted’s Childcare Register allows providers for whom Ofsted registration is not compulsory to register as childcarers. By joining the voluntary part of the register, providers show parents that they meet certain requirements designed to safeguard children relating to people, premises and provision. Parents may also be able to claim the childcare element of Working Tax Credit if they use a carer on the voluntary register. Call the Tax Credit Helpline on 0845 300 3900.
Nannies may apply for registration on the voluntary part of the Childcare Register if they care for one or more children aged from birth to 17, wholly or mainly in the home of one of the children, for a continuous period of at least two hours in any one day, or for a period of less than two hours when the childcare provided starts or ends outside normal school hours. For further information about registration, see Ofsted's guidance for nannies.
For information about nanny agencies in London and other regions of the UK, see the nanny agencies directory on the Nannytax website.
Parents as employers of nannies
Parents should agree their nanny's responsibilities before they start work, writing up and agreeing a contract of employment detailing duties, pay, working hours and holidays. Parents who employ nannies must pay tax and national insurance for them. As domestic employers, parents have the same responsibilities as commercial employers. Nannytax, a payroll service for employers of nannies, gives advice and up-to-date information about employing nannies, at www.nannytax.co.uk, by phone on 020 3137 4401 or by post at PO Box 988, Brighton, BN1 3NT. Salary rates range from about £25,000 per year for a full time live-in nanny to about £35,000 per year for a daily nanny.
There is also the option of a nanny share. This is when a nanny works for more than one family and may look after one child on certain days and other children on other days, or may look after both sets of children together. Families who have other children in their homes for childcare must check their insurance. www.thenannysharers.co.uk helps families get together and share a nanny. www.netmums.co.uk also puts nanny seekers in touch with each other.
Au pairs, who are not recommended by the Home Office for families with children under 3, are not nannies. Under most au pair schemes you should not ask them to do more than 25 hours light childcare and housework each week. You should treat them as a family member with their own room and give 'pocket money' each week. Au pairs should attend English lessons regularly. Some schemes allow for more hours for more money.