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Information on employing a Nanny

What is a Nanny?

Ofsted refer to nannies as home-based child carers. Nannies provide childcare in the child’s home and are a popular choice for many families. They can look after children of any age and should provide care and activities for your children. They work flexibly and can provide care at more unsociable hours.

Care that takes place in a child’s own home does not need to be registered with Ofsted. Nannies can register with Ofsted on the voluntary register.

A Nanny must be at least 18 years of age but other than that, there are no other set entry requirements.  Ideally a nanny should have first aid and child protection training as well as some qualifications in childcare such as:

  • NNEB
  • CACHE Diploma
  • NVQ
  • BTEC

It is preferable that a nanny have 2 years practical or theoretical experience.

Some nannies will live-in, while others will commute to your home to work. The average gross salary in London for a live in nanny is £438 and a live out nanny £617 per week. (Figures from 2017 Nannytax payroll data based on a 50 hour week see

Night nannies

A night nanny has a special knowledge of caring for babies from new born up to 1 year. You can employ them for a few nights to several weeks and usually work 8 to 12 hours a night. They will be expected to take care of all your baby’s needs throughout the night such as:

  • changing the baby
  • settling the baby
  • supporting the baby to get into a good sleep pattern
  • feeding the baby by taking the baby to the mother to breastfeed, or bottle feeding

Shared nannies

Shared nannies are where two or more families share a nanny between them. This can work well but the employment and tax situations can be complex. It's worth investing time in getting appropriate advice.

If more than 2 families use the care at the same time, the nanny will need to register as a childminder

Other childcare based in your own home

Au pairs

An Au Pair travels to the UK to live with your family to experience a new culture and to learn a foreign language. In exchange for board, lodging and the opportunity to attend a local language school, the Au Pair will provide childcare and domestic help. You will give them ‘pocket money’ and they are not classed as an employee. They are not entitled to employee benefits or normal tax and national insurance contributions.


A babysitter can look after your children whilst you go out for an evening or for short periods of time. Often these are family friends, but you can find them through agencies. Babysitters are usually paid by the hour or the evening, and this is for you to negotiate. Ofsted registered childminders can offer babysitting services. For a list of childminders in Hounslow offering babysitting see our childcare page.

You are responsible for ensuring the safety of your child at all times. The NSPCC recommend that a babysitter should be at least 16 years of age.

Mother's Help

Mother's Help is someone with childcare experience but no formal qualifications. They are 'extra pair of hands' to support you looking after your children. They are generally more prepared to undertake light household duties. The cost of a mother's help depends on the duties and hours they work.

Family and friends

If a member of your family or a friend looks after your children in your own home, they you will not need to register with Ofsted as long as;

  • they do it as an occasional favour rather than for payment
  • your children are all aged eight or over
  • the care happens in your home.

Financial support with childcare costs

By using a nanny who is on the Voluntary Register with Ofsted, you may be able to get financial support through:

  • The childcare element of Working Tax credit
  • Employer supported childcare voucher schemes
  • Tax Free Childcare

For more on these schemes please visit the Childcare Choices website. 

Nannies whether registered with Ofsted or not are unable to offer:

Funded childcare for 2 year olds

15 hours funded for 3 and 4 year olds 

30 hours funded childcare for working parents.

The pros and cons of using home-based childcare

The benefits of using home-based childcare

  • Your child can form a close bond with the nanny in the comfort of their own home, with their own toys, books, food and bedroom close by
  • Siblings of different ages can be looked after together
  • You have a high degree of control over your child's routine, diet, activities and play environment
  • The Nanny can offer care more flexibly, for more days and times than other forms of childcare
  • You and your child don't have to travel to and from the childcare setting
  • Children can be looked after even when unwell, whereas other settings may be reluctant to accept them. 

Factors which might make home-based childcare less suitable

  • Your child may be happier and better stimulated when around lots of other children
  • Continuity of care is important - au pairs can only stay in the UK for 2 years, and a nanny may move on
  • You will have the responsibility of employing someone.  This will include
    • arranging contracts
    • sorting out payslips
    • tax and national insurance contributions
    • work place pensions
  • If your nanny is not on the voluntary register you may lose out on financial support with childcare costs
  • Nannies whether registered with Ofsted or not are unable to offer:

    Funded childcare for 2 year olds

    15 hours funded for 3 and 4 year olds

    30 hours funded childcare for working parents

Finding a nanny

You may be able to find a suitable nanny for yourself, through a friend of the family or by word of mouth.

You can advertise using local newspapers, notice boards, and informal websites.

To find out more about what you need to be aware of when employing someone to work in your own home visit

The other option is to use a Nanny Agency. The Association of Nanny Agencies, list 20 London based Nanny Agencies. The agencies offer services such as:

  • Nanny
  • Nanny/Housekeeper
  • Parents Helper
  • Maternity Nurses
  • Babysitting
  • Nursery Nurses.

Why use an agency?

Agencies will check the suitability of individuals before putting families in touch them. This includes

  • verifying qualifications
  • obtaining and checking references
  • police checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • arranging visa applications in the case of au pairs
  • to assist in the drawing up of contracts
  • Advise on things such as pay



If you have found a nanny yourself, or through an agency, it is recommended that you interview them. This is a two-way process, so that you both can get to know each other, and discuss what is required. During the interview, ask the nanny if she has any questions.

Having a structure to the interview ensures that all points are covered. Tell the nanny about the position and discuss what the role entails. Suggestions for things to discuss are:

  • hours of work
  • start date
  • routines
  • duties and responsibilities
  • salary
  • holidays
  • It is advisable to run through a list of questions relating to the nanny’s abilities as a carer. Some examples of questions that you might like to ask would include:
  • how much experience they have with children
  • why they have chosen childcare as their career
  • the kind of activities they would plan for your children. It is important to see how the nanny interacts with your children during the interview
  • why they left their last job
  • reason for any lengthy gaps in their employment history 

References and DBS checks

Once you have found the right nanny, it is recommended that you get references before confirming their employment. If you are using an agency, make sure that they have checked references in advance. If not ask for the contact details and discuss with the families their experience of the nanny. If the nanny has not worked for a family before, a character reference from someone who knows them is useful.

Any person working as a Nanny must have a valid Enhanced DBS Check. A DBS certificate shows that there are no restrictions against working with children. It is very important to check that the nanny has up to date DBS check in place. Read all comments on the disclosure carefully. If the nanny has been recruited by an agency, check with the agency as they should have carried out an Enhanced DBS check.

After offering the nanny the position, draw up a contract, discuss start date and organise an induction.

Details of employment

Once you have decided to offer a child carer work with your family, you will then need to discuss:

  • The salary, including details of tax, national insurance and a workplace pension
  • Payment type, i.e. whether this is going to be weekly or monthly, by cash, cheque, or directly into a bank account
  • The hours of work, and the duties involved. You should be very clear what is expected: Are they going to cook for the children? Are they expected to tidy up after them? Does housework form part of their duties?
  • Entitlement to holiday and are they happy to take these at convenient times for you, for example during school holidays or when you have annual leave
  • The length of the probationary period

Once agreed, you will need to get this drawn up into a statement of employment (contract). The contract should outline the specific duties and responsibilities for you as an employer and for the child carer. If you used an agency they should be able to help you with this. As the law states that you need to supply a statement of employment for your nanny you may wish to seek professional legal advice.

Local Authority support for Nannies

The Early Years and Childcare service is made up of several advisors with different areas of expertise. They help to prepare prospective providers meet the registration requirements of Ofsted, including guidance on the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The service is committed to promoting good practice within childcare and supporting practitioners to develop and reflect upon their practice. If you have any enquiries about practice or safeguarding, you can email:

If you are considering registering with Ofsted they provide training in the common core skills

Before you register with Ofsted

You will need:

How to apply

You will receive a unique reference number, or URN, by post.

You may be able to put your application on hold in some circumstances.

Ofsted aim to register nannies within 12 weeks of sending you the URN, but it can take longer in some situations.

If your application is approved you will get a registration certificate. Ofsted will publish your URN and any inspection reports online

When you start looking after children you’ll need to have public liability insurance.