The London Mums’ team of mums often receive questions on how to check nanny references and police records when independently searching for a nanny in London.

Question 1: If I independently search (online, Gumtree, etc) for a nanny what do I need to look for in an interview?

Answer: First and foremost, you need to see whether you click with the nanny, do you like them, do you feel comfortable with them? They could have the most amazing experience and qualifications etc, but if you don’t jell with them, then the chances are that the relationship won’t work out.

The next step is to discuss their previous experience; does their experience match up to your expectations? Have they had experience with children of a similar age to your own? You should ask how long previous nanny positions were held and their reasons for leaving. It would be a good idea to ask about the type of things they usually do during a typical day of child-care, i.e. what things do they do to entertain children? Do they feel it’s important to get ‘out and about’? Do they go to local playgroups or parks? What would they do on a rainy day? Their views on discipline should be discussed, and their methods of dealing with possibly difficult situations.

You should then consider what is specifically important for the role that you are offering, for example; driving ability, knowledge of cooking nutritious meals, ability to help with homework, knowledge of potty training, are they willing to do house-work, how long are they hoping to stay in the position? You should consider their ability to act in an emergency; have they done first aid training (if not would they consider doing this?). They should also be asked if they have a police check (CRB check), if not would they be willing to have one done? It goes without saying that if you are happy with the initial interview, a second should happen for your children to meet with the prospective nanny, you should decide if you felt comfortable with their interaction and where possible ask your child how they felt.

Q2: What documents do I need to request (passport copy, utility bill)?

A2: Driving licence, first aid certificate, child-care training certificates, national insurance card, CRB certificate, and birth certificate, passport. If the passport shows they are not a British citizen, you should make sure they are legally allowed to work in the UK. The home office has lots of information about checking documents in this situation

Q3: Is it important to do a police check and how would I do it?

Criminal Records Bureau checks (CRB) are not compulsory, but most definitely recommended. They exist to protect vulnerable members of society. An ‘enhanced disclosure’ is the highest level of police check and is undertaken for people working with children. It highlights people unsuitable for working with children, by checking their criminal record. If your prospective nanny does not have a CRB check, you should arrange for them to have one done. A good place to start is the Criminal Record Bureau’s website, Nannies cannot apply for their own CRB checks; this has to be done by an employer or agency. Individual employers (i.e. parents) are also unable to arrange for a CRB check directly (unlike schools or nurseries) they need to go through an ‘umbrella body’ such as who will apply on your behalf.

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