Guidance about unregistered childcare

Unregistered childcare

Childcare that is registered with Ofsted provides a number of statutory safeguards. These are that the providers are qualified, experienced, insured, and have been checked with regard to their suitability to work with children by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

With unregistered childcare, these safeguards are not provided by the state. Checks on an unregistered provider’s qualifications, experience and suitability to work with children are the responsibility of the parents. Further guidance about DBS checks is available on the website

Types of unregistered childcare

Unregistered childcarers include the following:


Nannies are employed by parents to care for their children in the family home. Parents employing a nanny have responsibilities as employers for matters such as appropriate insurance and PAYE.

Many nannies are qualified and experienced in childcare but there is no requirement that someone calling themselves a nanny has relevant qualifications or experience.

Parents who use the help of a nanny agency to find a nanny can ask the agency about the measures they take to check that their staff are suitable.

Some nannies choose to apply to register with Ofsted. Once accepted they are listed on the voluntary childcare register and are known as home childcarers. 

Au pairs

Au pairs are employed, often from overseas, to live and work with a family. They are paid in exchange for childcare and sometimes also housework.


Babysitters often care for children in the family home either to provide time for leisure activities or to bridge gaps in other childcare arrangements. Often babysitters are friends or neighbours who are well known to the family.

Parents need to be aware that if they leave a child with a babysitter under the age of 16, the parents remain legally responsible for the children during that time.

Further information

For more information about home childcarers, please see Childminding.

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