Simple guidance for employers choosing a nanny agency.
- Check the agency is a proper legal entity. Look for the agency’s Company Registration number or VAT number.
- Furthermore, all agencies must be registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) and should display their ICO number on their website.
- The company must display their address on their website. This information could be at the bottom of the page, alternatively check the Contact Us page.
- Check the phone number, do they have a landline number? Agencies with only a mobile number are unlikely to be professional agencies with enough experience to help you.
- Check the agencies fees and bear in mind the old adage that You get What you Pay for. An agency which operates properly and comprehensively has overheads.
- Does the agency belong to a recognised trade association? In the UK, the only professional trade association for nanny agencies is ANA (Association of Nanny Agencies)
Is this the right agency for me?
A good clue is to check that the Agency is VAT registered. Professional, established and successful agencies are VAT registered and display their VAT number. These agencies will have a greater number of consultants and a wider selection of candidates. Vat registration offers an indication of how professional the agency might be, and how experienced they are at helping clients. A larger, longer established agency has more resources to be able to help with any emergency or to provide services during public holidays and weekends. In addition, they have more experience in the field, particularly when dealing with any tricky issues.
However, size is not all that counts; some agencies might be too big, and too profit focussed. They might not care enough about placement outcomes and the people and emotions at the heart of nanny placements.
Browse the agency website, does the agency offer what you are looking for? There are thousands of nanny agencies, select the one which covers or specialises in what you need. Maybe you need a SEN nanny, or Montessori trained nanny? Maybe you would like a bilingual nanny or a degree educated nanny with teaching experience? Check their jobs page for the best indication of what the agency specialises in.
Judge the tone of the website, does this seem like an agency where the consultants genuinely care about long term success and happiness? Big is not always better. Ideally you want an established professional agency which can offer options to you, and support if things don't run smoothly - but which still cares about making successful, happy matches.
Professional and Trade association membership. Agencies which belong to trade associations (eg ANA or REC) give confidence that they work to top industry standards and are involved and invested in their industry.
If the agency passes these criteria then it is a viable option! Agencies which do not meet all these criteria will likely offer you cheaper services, but beware, that could be a false economy.