It is very important that you do a nanny background check before finally hiring a nanny.
If you have used an agency to find a nanny, that agency should have done all of the necessary checks for you. If you choose to hire a nanny independently you can either do the checks yourself or use a nanny reference checking service provided by a nanny agency instead. Below is a list of the things we recommend you check before making a firm job offer to a nanny:
- ID (including proof of address)
- Driving skills
- Childcare qualifications
- First aid certificate
- Whether or not they can work in the UK
- Enhanced DBS (formerly CRB) check
- OFSTED registration
Many of these items can be checked at your first meeting. Simply ask the nanny (or the agency) to ensure the relevant documents are brought to the interview.
Do not hire anyone you do not trust or that you believe to be dishonest. Even if all the information checks out, listen to your gut feeling and don’t hire anyone you aren’t comfortable with.
It is important that anyone who is going to be left in sole-charge of your children has an Enhanced Disclosure check completed. Employers are legally bound to run an Enhanced Disclosure on their nanny to ensure that they have no previous convictions and are entirely suitable to work unsupervised with children. However only organisations registered with the DBS can submit applications for criminal records checks such as nanny agencies.
Enhanced DBS checks for nannies specifically check against the ISA Children’s Barred List for information which suggests a person should not work with children. DBS checks are out of date as soon as they are done in that they give no information after the date they are issued. Whether or not a DBS check is sufficiently up to date is largely a judgment call. Many people consider anything over two years out of date and in need of renewal, although if someone has changed addresses or jobs frequently there is an argument for updating more often.
For further information, please go to our page on DBS Checks.
Passport, Identity and Visa checks
According to the Asylum and Immigration Act 2006 all UK employers have a legal duty to make basic document checks on each person they intend to employ. We would recommend that you ask for a minimum of two identity documents from nanny candidates prior to employment – these may include passport, driving licence, birth certificate, utility bills, work permits and visas. Proof of current address should also be obtained.
Please see the attached link for more information on what documents are required for a non-British citizen to work in the UK:
If you would like your nanny to drive your children you should ensure you are happy with the nanny’s driving skills before you make a job offer. (Typically this would involve the mother being taken on a drive by the nanny on a route that will be normal for the job.)
References and Qualifications
One of the more time-consuming aspects of the employment process is checking your new nanny’s references. Irrespective of whether the nanny comes highly recommended from a personal friend or neighbour or is Ofsted registered, it is essential that you check her references thoroughly. You should obtain at least three references and check each one out personally. Ask those referees for specific details. How long was she employed? How did she perform? Why did she leave? Would they hire her again? Do they recommend you hire her? If you can’t reach the people listed or if they cannot provide you with enough information, then obtain more references from your potential nanny.
For qualifications you may wish to contact the issuing organisation unless you are familiar with the relevant certificates. Valid qualifications to look out for are:
– Diploma in Childcare & Education (formerly NNEB)
(This is probably the most recognised qualification as it provides students with knowledge of the physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs of children at different ages. It also covers first aid and includes practical on site placements. Students with the diploma are qualified to start working in a nursery as well as a nanny although we do recommend that they have some nursery experience first before being left alone in charge of children.)
– BTEC in Child Studies/Nursery Nursing
(This is similar to the NNEB but there is a stronger emphasis on the academic side. Childcare and development courses are included as well as practical on-site experience. Students with the BTEC can start work in a nursery or as a nanny.)
– CACHE Certificate in Childcare & Education
(This course covers 14 different areas of childcare covering both the practical and theory. Students with the certificate are qualified to start working with children.)
– GNVQ Level 2 or above in Early Years Childcare & Education
(There are various different levels of National Vocational Qualifications. Level 2 assesses the students on their abilities to deal with children’s physical, emotional and social development and allows students to begin a career in childcare, either in a nursery or as a mother’s help. Level 3 assesses 15 units including the ability to work and care for children without supervision and management and allows students to work as a nanny albeit with some parental involvement and supervision. Level 4 assesses students on their ability to run and develop a nursery.)
– Advanced Diploma in Childcare & Education (equivalent to a Master’s Degree)
(This diploma qualifies students to deal with special educational needs as well as all other methods of childcare and education. The course is only open to experienced child carers.)
– Diploma from The Norland Nanny College
– The Princess Christian College
– The Chiltern Nursery Training College
(All of the above are private training colleges which run courses for two years covering a wide range of subjects, following which students receive an NNEB and a health diploma.)
– Montessori Teaching & Childcare Diploma
(The Montessori Diploma is a privately run course which is taken either full time or by correspondence and covers children aged 2-7. The course promotes the philosophy of Maria Montessori. Please refer to our page on Montessori nurseries.)
Or the equivalent from other countries that have a strong nanny culture such as Australia, New Zealand, The United States, Canada or France. These courses must cover the same subjects and training, and be of equal integrity and duration.
First aid qualifications should be up to date (within one year of employment) and if not, your nanny should be willing to go on a refresher course before employment starts
For details on Ofsted registration, please go to our page on Ofsted.