Sir: Your recent report on the establishment of a new pressure group, Playpen, for a nanny register ("Fear that stalks the working mother ... can I trust the nanny?", 25 July) ignores two important points .
Firstly, there is already legislation in place regulating nanny agencies. The Employment Agencies Act Regulations apply to all nanny agencies as well as to other types of recruitment firms. The Regulations specifically provide that agencies must make sure that candidates are suitable for any job for which they are put forward. For nannies this would include taking up references.
The Department of Trade and Industry has powers to investigate complaints about agencies and can ask an Industrial Tribunal to prohibit them from operating if they have broken the law.
Secondly, there is a well established organisation for nanny agencies. The Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services has a specialist childcare section with almost 100 members, who all comply with a Code of Practice on placing nannies. This Code of Practice covers reference checking, interviewing and qualification checks.
Any member who breaches the code is subject to disciplinary procedures.
The Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services