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Planning is key to finding a good nanny

Timothy Barber
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THE most important thing is planning the process very carefully, and leaving yourself lots of time to make a good selection. Tricia Pritchard of the union for educational professionals, Voice (www.voicetheunion.org.uk), which represents nannies, says that all too often people make the wrong decision because they rush it. “The nanny from hell scenario is very rare, but people do make inappropriate choices when they haven’t thought it through properly, and you don’t want kids who have gone through five nannies in a few years.”

Pritchard recommends starting by working out exactly what you want: how much you want a nanny to be involved, how much experience they need to have, whether you’d be happy with a foreign nanny, what skills beyond childcare they need to have. Don’t contact any agency until your requirements are clear, since it can cost up to £2,000 for one to find you a nanny, and you don’t want to be repeating the process three months down the line.

Nanny agencies are not regulated, but you should use ones accredited by either the Recruitment Employment Confederation (REC) or the Association of Nanny Agencies (ANA). They ensure professional codes of conduct, that references are verified and that nannies are CRB-checked. The agency will supply you with a shortlist of candidates for you to interview at home.

“Particularly if your children are small, it’s worthwhile ensuring the nanny has a First Aid qualification,” says Natalie Flemming, VIP team leader at concierge company Ten Lifestyle (www.tenlifestyle.com). “Some nannies will have a diploma or even degree in childcare, and the more highly-qualified and experienced they are, the more you’ll have to pay them.”

Remember you’re going to be an employer, so conduct interviews in a formal manner, without children present. Invite back those you like for a second interview to meet the kids. “You have to trust the child’s judgment as well as your own, and if they don’t get on, keep looking,” says Pritchard.'

Nannies can’t be self-employed, so you will have the same payroll obligations as a commercial employer. For a small fee, businesses like nannytax.co.uk and nannypaye.co.uk can take on this responsibility for you. lifecoach@cityam.com