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Nanny references

(18 Posts)
jellywelly Thu 04-Jun-09 22:44:58

I am just about to employ a nanny found through an agency. The agency said they had received 2 really good written references from previous employers.
I will speak to past employers myself but the agency will not send me copies of the references as they say they are confidential. Is this standard practice?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Thu 04-Jun-09 22:46:15

No. You need to see them yourself, then check them.

snickersnack Thu 04-Jun-09 22:50:50

I've only employed one nanny, but when we said we wanted to offer her a job, the agency passed all her references on to us.

Simplyme Thu 04-Jun-09 23:08:20

That is ridiculous, of course you need to see and check the references! That is what they are for

nannynick Fri 05-Jun-09 00:30:09

The agency should be working on your behalf in my view. They are there to help you make a recruitment decision. Therefore when they ask a candidate for a written reference, I consider that they are asking for that on your behalf and thus it is viewable by you.

Tinies has had a similar issue in the past - in their case it was a nursery nurse who wanted to see the reference provided by an employer to the agency. Personal Today: Information commissioner Orders Tinies Nanny Agency To Disclose Job References (Jan 2007)
Alas that isn't the case here... so it may require a complaint to the ICO to get a judgement. That will be a real pain and possibly a slow process. Maybe easier to just walk away from the agency and recruit privately.

nannynick Fri 05-Jun-09 01:07:32

Thinking about this... the written references the agency is referring to may be ones which the agency has obtained by contacting past employers directly... so those references may not have been seen by the nanny themselves.

I would have expected that type of reference to be verbal, rather than written - a nanny agency would often call past employers and go through a set series of questions. I would have expected the agency to make the respondent of such a phone call aware that the information would be passed on to their client (ie. you), plus may be stored for future use (and also passed to future clients).

Could the agency paraphrase to you a highlight of the contents of the written references? Perhaps that would not breach Data Protection Act.

Could you ask the nanny candidate to provide you with written references directly? As a nanny I have written references from families for whom I have worked, which I am able to send to prospective employers.

Looking through some agency Terms & Conditions, it appears that some of them say: "Verification of all information and references shall be the responsibility of the Employer." - Or other such wording.
So if that is a case, once you have been introduced to the candidate, you can ask the candidate to supply you directly with references.

Association of Nanny Agencies Code of Standards - alas not of much help, not all agencies are members of the Association plus I can't find reference to what access a client has to the written references obtained by the agency. Perhaps worth contacting them for their view.

Have found a document on the ICO website with regard to employment references but alas it's as per the Tinies ruling, in that it's about Subject Access, that is access by the person whom the reference is about, rather than passing a reference between a recruitment agency and the potential employer.

Hmm, this looks as though it all may get a bit complex. Maybe you could ask the ICO... if the Data Protection Act is indeed preventing employers of nannies seeing references obtained by an agency working on behalf of that employer, then is that how the legislation should be applied... or is there some possible exemption?

PaulaAtMummyKnowsBest Fri 05-Jun-09 08:54:41

did the nanny not bring her refs to the interview?

Maybe arrange a second interview and ask her to bring them if you haven't seen them already

NetworkNanniesSurrey Fri 05-Jun-09 09:50:16

As an employer you have the right to offer the position subject to satisfactory references. It might be worth advising the agency you are dealing with that you are not able to offer the position unless they comply. Im sure they will work something out when their fee is at stake.

Otherwise you are still entitled to check references anyway, and indeed should.

Re the terms and conditions mentioned by nannynick, a lot of agencies do this (including me). However it is not a "get out" clause used to wash our hands of the responsibility. I view it more as a way to make clients aware that they should use it as an extra step in making sure they are hapy with their choice. Of course we can check a reference on behalf of a client, but whats the harm in asking again? When you are dealing with your childrens safety then no questions are too much.

If your agency refuses to show you a CRB next then head for the hills! wink

Oligo Fri 05-Jun-09 13:44:30

Have you told them you actually want to employ her?

sounds like data protection issue. If nanny okays it with them it should be fine.

fridayschild Fri 05-Jun-09 15:34:07

Some referees say to the agency they are not happy for the reference to be disclosed. I have looked for candidates through Tinies before, and the references they have sent have always (unsurprisingly) had the "disclose" box ticked.

You definately need to speak to the referees. As others have said, you also need something in writing.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 05-Jun-09 15:38:40

why would a nanny not want her refernce disclosed - unless it was a bad one

in which cae, then dont employ this nanny

normally nannys (well i do) have a folder with their cv, ref,crb ,first aid etc and bring that to the interview so that the parents can have a look

wonder why this nanny didnt hmm

nannynick Fri 05-Jun-09 15:42:35

NetworkNanniesSurrey - When you obtain a reference from a nanny employer, do you make that available to your client... or is it confidential between you and the person providing the reference? If you do pass it on, do you make the person providing the reference aware of that?

AtheneNoctua Fri 05-Jun-09 15:51:03

Oh I just love agencies. They are so helpful. hmm

Why don't you just ask the potential nanny to produce her references? Then call them and ask them what they said to the agency.

I would not trust (or pay) any agency that refused to share the content of the references.

Oligo Fri 05-Jun-09 16:45:58

i ask for contact detials to be blotted out by agency (or i do it) if they want to send them out to families, UNLESS I'm interested in position following interview stage or offered job subject to refs.

I don't know who I am interviewing for and don't want possibility of all referees to be called by all families (in addition to all agencies).

Why should referees be inundated in their busy days with calls that can be up to 30 mins. of questions for no reason. I once had agency sending out refs + details to family before they agreed an interview without telling me.

I take all refs. to interview but only leave them with the family if blotted out contact detials. Entire work history, checkable proof of it + CRB copies lying around random houses. ID/security issue?

mananny Fri 05-Jun-09 17:26:25

I don't let families have contact details either until I have beeen offered the job, but I do let them see copies of my written refs and other paperwork, as I think even if an agency has put me forward, I feel better knowing the family has seen all my paperwork first hand IYSWIM?

I also insist on families actually talking to my most recent refs (at the very least)as if they can't be bothered to check me out themselves then it shows me they don't really feel it is a professional relationship we are entering into. It's important to me that the family treats me as a pro from the start as it's very hard to get into that mindset at a later stage. And I've found it's easier to relax into a less formal relationship as time (and trust) builds if all the bases are covered right from the get go.

NetworkNanniesSurrey Fri 05-Jun-09 19:33:00

nannynick- The short and very simple answer is that all parties are very happy with our service and we have not had any issues like this arrise.

foxinsocks Fri 05-Jun-09 19:36:34

seems odd

but as someone else suggested, I'd make the offer subject to satisfactory references

AngelNanny Fri 05-Jun-09 22:43:54

Agree with NetworkNannies i have met with her and am using her agency she is fab amd so is the service her agency offers.


With regard to problem in hand i wold ask the nany to provide her references herself and go from there. Good Luck

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