Working with Nanny Agencies
At BAPN we recommend working with a nanny agency affiliated with a trade association such as REC or ANA. These ensures the agencies are held to a code of conduct and you can easily make a complaint against them if you feel that they have acted unprofessionally. If an agency is not affiliated and you experience problems we can advise you on how to take the matter further if you contact us.
A nanny agency should be registered with the Information Commissioner's Office as a data handler because they hold personal details about you on file. They can ask you to fill in a registration form, take copies of your certificates, references, DBS check (and ask for your permission to check the update service) and identity documents. Most nanny agencies will insist upon meeting you in person before forwarding your CV to families. Some agencies specialise in international placements and will waive this requirement as long as you agree to an interview via Skype or similar. This is because they understand that nannies working abroad and looking to stay abroad may not be available for a face-to-face meeting.
Prepare for your meeting with a nanny agency by filling in any paperwork they send you and making sure you have originals of all the documents they have asked to see. This ensures you come across as a professional and saves time. The agency should also take a careful note of your abilities, experience and requirements for a new position.
A key part of a nanny agency's role is to match you as precisely as possible before interview with families so you only meet solid possibilities. Agents should not pressure you into interviewing for jobs that you are not interested in, although they may suggest jobs that are a close, but not perfect, match. You can help the agency by keeping in touch and letting them know of any jobs that come onto their books that interest you.
You may choose to register with more than one agency. Sometimes nanny agencies in the same area have the same jobs. If you see a job that interests you and ask an agency to put your forward you should tell other agencies who contact you that you have already applied through another nanny agency. This will avoid any conflicts between agencies over who gets the fee should you get the job. If a nanny agency puts you forward without you knowing and you have asked another agency to send your details then it is up to the family to decide who they wish to continue with.
Once you have had an interview with a family you should check back with the agency and let them know your feelings. The agent should be in touch with any requests for a second interview, questions or a job offer. If the family contact you directly then include the nanny agency in any reply.
If you meet a family through an agency you must not agree to do any work for them whether as a nanny or a babysitter, temporary or permanent, unless they pay the placement fee. To do so is a gross breach of trust and you may also be penalised financially by the agency, depending on their terms and conditions. Inform the agency immediately if any family makes such an offer.
Once you have been placed with a family many nanny agencies will provide ongoing support to sort out any issues. If you feel that a job is not working out then talk to the nanny agency who placed you first. They may be able to act as a neutral third party or negotiate an exit for you. Leaving a nanny job that you got through an agency without going via the agent may have negative consequences for your career.
Nanny agencies can also be very helpful at finding you temporary work, whether as a nanny or as bank nursery staff, while you are unemployed. If you are trusted by the agency as an available and reliable nanny they are likely to call you first if any unexpected vacancies come in so it is worth focusing on building a relationship with a couple of key agencies for temporary work. Refusing too many jobs will make an agency less inclined to contact you when they need someone but don't feel pressured into taking jobs you don't want.