With nearly 60 years' experience in the industry, Occasional & Permanent Nannies has the expertise to find you the ideal childcare professional. We also belong to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) which is a governing body for recruitment agencies and has a code of conduct which we need to adhere to.
All candidates are required to have a minimum of three years' professional nanny experience or a childcare qualification to register with us. We interview all candidates in person; their identification is checked as well as their working permits (if required). We ask that the candidates provide us with a detailed CV and contact details of all past employers and we will check their references to verify their experience and suitability for employment. We also check their certification and ensure they have a current CRB check – if not we will get them to start the CRB process.
BEWARE OCCASIONAL & PERMANENT
Sadly we had a poor experience with Occasional & Permanent.
At the time we approached the agency, my wife was 6 months pregnant with our 3rd child, the older 2 both being under 3 at the time, so a stressful time for our family.
We asked O&P to find us a full time live-in nanny and after a reasonable hunt they found us someone on their house-keeper list who turned out to be fantastic. Unfortunately she had to leave us within 8 weeks for health reasons. This was when the bad experience began.
1. When I asked for a replacement, the head of the house-keeper section (Darla) asked why. We explained that the current nanny had had an accident many years ago that made it impossible for her to deal with the number of stairs and floors in the house to which we were about to move (which had been made very clear in our search). Darla told us it was probably in her head vs a physical problem and that she would talk to the nanny. She seemed very reluctant to help us. Given that we knew our nanny by that point to be 100% honest, we were offended by this comment.
2. After persuading Darla that the condition was genuine, she then told us that the replacement would have to be for another house-keeper for exactly the same salary (£500 net/week - i.e. a lot) despite the fact that our original search was for a nanny (not house-keeper) for £400-500 net. It took about half a dozen emails to explain the idiocy of this restriction until it was lifted.
3. The replacement options came in pretty slowly and were of a pretty average quality (mostly very young nannies who had just gradated from being an au pair asking for a very high salary - ie. £500 net). This struck me as odd as the first search yielded much better candidates.
4. A good friend of mine had started a hunt for a nanny with exactly the same needs as us (3 young children, large house in the same area, family pet etc etc - conveniently similar as you will read) using O&P and wanted to discuss candidates with me in case we wanted the same person which would have been awkward. I'm so glad she talked to us as it turned out O&P were sending totally different candidates to her (and they were better - like our original search with O&P). My theory - a juicy £5000 fee from a new client is more important than replacing our nanny which would yield them £0, so send the best candidates to the new search.
5. We found a nanny through our own network, not O&P, at which point I complained to the head of O&P and asked for a refund of our £5000 fee (£555/week that our nanny worked). Not only did I not receive a proper apology, but the details of my complaint seemed to fall on deaf ears - there was no explanation given for the different candidates sent to my friend vs to my wife and I, the core of my complaint. No refund, of course, was forthcoming "refunds are not part of our terms of business". Legally, they are right (unless I can prove fraudulent activity in the differing selection of candidates sent to my friend vs to us), but in a moral sense and for good customer service, they are wrong. I would have hoped for at the very least a 50% refund, given they earned £5000 for what ended up being an 8 week relationship. And if not that, at least SOMETHING. £5000 is a hell of a lot of money for us and we spent it because we were under stress and needed to find help fast. O&P increased the stress considerably (for us and our two tiny children who grew to love the new nanny) and perhaps think that £5000 is small change for someone who can afford a £500 nanny. I'm 34 - £5000 is a lot.
I would go with Eden, with whom we have also worked and found more understanding and helpful.