How To Hire A Babysitter (Child Minder) In England (UK)

DBS Check - DBS Certificate - Criminal Record - Agencies

If you want to hire a babysitter (childminder / childcarer) in England (UK), for the going rate of £8 to £12 per hour, you would normally ask a friend if they know of a reliable, trustworthy, babysitter (word-of-mouth), search the internet for babysitter agencies, look at online classified adverts and/or look at newsagent adverts. You might even ring your local council for their list of trusted babysitters.

On the other hand, if you are an employer looking to hire a babysitter, you might go one step further and ask the applicant for their DBS Certificate. It all boils down to the level of trust you put in someone. If you are not an employer, you will be forced to go with a recommendation or your gut instinct, even though the babysitter could have a serious criminal record. So as much as possible, hire someone who has at least a Standard DBS Certificate; even if they charge £15 to £20 per hour. It is better to be safe than sorry.

The DBS Check - THE DBS CERTIFICATE

A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Check is something an employer might request of a potential employee (i.e. job applicant) whereby the potential employee, after being DBS checked, receives a DBS Certificate that outlines any minor and/or serious criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings they may have had in the past; including spent convictions depending on the type of DBS Check. It may also contain their suitability (or lack of) for working with children and in the healthcare sector.

NOTE - Only employers and licensing bodies can request a DBS check. Job applicants can NOT request a DBS Check for themselves - They can only request a Basic Disclosure Web PageBasic Disclosure for themselves, from Disclosure Scotland; even though they do NOT have to be from Scotland or in Scotland to do this.

The DBS Check - THE DBS PROCESS

Step #1 - The employer gets an DBS Application Web PageApplication Form directly from DBS or an umbrella body (a registered body that gives access to DBS checks). If the employer wants to request less than 100 DBS Checks (potential employee checks) per year, they must register with an umbrella body only (currently £300), otherwise they can register directly with DBS (currently £300).

Step #2 - The employer gives the application form to the potential employee (i.e. job applicant). They then fill out the form and returns it to the employer together with Required ID Documents Web PageDocuments that prove their identity (the potential employee's identity). Examples: a valid Passport, current Driving Licence Photocard (full or provisional) and a Bank Statement. There are many other types of ID/Documents that can be shown.

Step #3 - The employer sends the completed application form to DBS or their umbrella body for processing.

Step #4 - DBS sends a DBS Certificate to the potential employee (i.e. job applicant) - The employer then has to ask the potential employee (i.e. job applicant) to see their DBS Certificate.

NOTE - If the potential employee (i.e. job applicant) has subscribed to the DBS update service (DBS Update Service Web PageDBS Update Service), the employer can check their DBS Certificate online.

NOTE - As a DBS Check has no official expiry date (meaning, criminal information can be added at any time), any information a DBS Check reveals will only be accurate at the time the check was carried out. Meaning: It is up to an employer to decide if and when a new check is needed. Furthermore, they should not take the Standard DBS Check and therefore potential employee's DBS Certificate as the Gospel.

The DBS Check - THE TYPE OF DBS CHECK

There are currently three types of DBS Check an employer can make:

Standard DBS Check (£26) - This DBS Check reveals spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.

Enhanced (£44) - This DBS Check includes the same as the Standard DBS Check plus any additional information held by local police that is reasonably considered relevant to the role being applied for.

Enhanced DBS Check + Barred Lists (£44) - This DBS Check is similar to the Enhanced DBS Check, but includes a check of the DBS Barred Lists - A list of people who can NOT work with children and/or adults and people who may not be able to do other types of work (such as work in a hospital or other healthcare sectors).

NOTE - An employer can only ask for a Enhanced DBS Check + Barred Lists check for Specific Job Roles Web PageSpecific Job Roles. It is a criminal offence for an employer to ask for a DBS Check for any other, unrelated, job roles apart from a specific job role.

The DBS Check - THE BABYSITTER AGENCIES

The 'average person in the street' wanting to hire a babysitter will not normally be an employer and therefore will rely on word-of-mouth, etc as explained at the top of this web page. However, this does not mean they have to use a babysitter without a DBS Check. They can use a Babysitter Agency website for example they do carry out all the necessary checks; including face to face interviews and DBS Checks. Here is a list of some top babysitter agencies from the internet:

  1. Find A Babysitter WebsiteFind A Babysitter, once you have entered a city/town and your e-mail address, lets you see babysitter profiles straight away; which is what similar websites should do, but don't. The profiles here let you see the babysitters name, introduction, experiences/skills and years of experience, nationality, language(s) spoken, driving details, certificates held and much more.
  2. Childcare WebsiteChildcare is an award winning online social networking platform for parents, childcare providers and private tutors with over 1,500,000 members.
  3. Kid Sitters WebsiteKid Sitters is a network of experienced nannies, childminders, nursery staff, teachers and other childcare professionals who are available to babysit for you. They connect families with these childcare professionals for ad-hoc, recurring and last minute childcare needs.
  4. Sitters WebsiteSitters is like a search engine for finding a babysitter. You register for a free account whereby you need to add credit/debit card details, search for babysitters by postcode, read reviews about potential babysitters, book an appointment with sitters and wait for babysitters to respond to your appointment and requests. You pay the babysitter fees after the booking process.
  5. Tinies WebsiteTinies is more focused on their own Créche, Nursery, Kids Club and Training services rather than dedicated babysitter services. As a website it is a bit template looking.

Many agency websites charge a monthly or quarterly membership fee (such as £14.95 per quarter) plus an administration/booking fee (i.e. between £4 and £6 per booking) plus the babysitter's hourly rate (usually between £8 and £12 per hour); among other possible charges (i.e. Taxi fares). And many also ask for credit/debit card details while registering with them whereby they state nothing will be charged until the first booking is actually made. In which case, always read their Terms & Conditions VERY CAREFULLY.

Besides reading the T&Cs, read what you can and cannot do as a Standard Member. Some agencies do not allow you to Message potential babysitters for example until you are a Gold Member (e.g: £24.99 per month). And watch your e-mail INBOX, otherwise it could become full of junk e-mail very quickly. Many agencies are like pesky sales people when it comes to promoting their services.

DISCLAIMER - I do not recommend any of the above agencies simply because I have no need of their services and do not know of anyone who has used their services. Meaning: Investigate these agencies yourself before trying them. Read independent reviews about them, check with your own family and friends for advice and opinions, etc. At your own risk in other words.

Who To Hire? - A BABYSITTER OR A CHILDMINDER

The old definition (stereotype) of a Babysitter was usually of a 14 to 16 year old girl, who wanted/needed extra pocket money, who babysitted their own younger brother(s) and/or sister(s), their mum's friend's baby/young child(ren) (in the mum's friend's house) or a total stranger's baby/young child(ren) (in the stranger's house) because they answered a babysitter job advert. The latter is not really practised these days because of the now exposed dangers towards children.

The babysitter would normally babysit at anytime of the day, but normally from 5pm onwards (14-15 year old girl) or 9pm onwards (16 year old girl), for 1 to 3 hours; with instructions that while the baby/young child(ren) is/are asleep, they should call their employer every hour and in emergencies call 999. The babysitter days, on a public level, have since gone. They may be performed privately, but the public babysitter arena has since formed into the Childminder arena.

The definition of a Childminder in today's age is someone who looks after children in their own home for more than 2 hours a day for payment. They are regulated by Ofsted and must follow strict guidelines, rules and regulations. Childcare Childminder Web PageMore Info.

The problem with the whole Nanny, Au-Pair, Babysitter, Childminder, Home Carer, 'call it what you will' arena is that, as a job, many potential childminders are ignoring this profession. Why? Because they hear back from friends who are childminders and Facebook groups for example that the wages are low, the hours are rubbish and the employer's attitude stinks - Many employers give their childminders more duties, such as housework and dog walking, and generally treat them as Domestic 'Live-In' Cleaners.

The above scenario has led to potential employees choosing their employer and demanding a higher wage and better hours before taking the job rather than the employer choosing their employee. For you, the person hiring a childminder, it means you will be paying agency fees on top of wages simply because the so-called qualified, trustworthy, interviewed childminders are all with an agency. Remember: An agency usually charges you for membership and the babysitter to advertise, so they are in it for the money first and foremost.


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