What is a 'Registered' or 'Approved' nanny?

What is a ‘Registered’ or ‘Approved’ nanny?

This means different things in different parts of the country but should not be confused with Nanny Registration. Nannies are not registered or regulated in the UK and inclusion on a register does NOT provide registration to practice. However, it does attract certain benefits for the employer.

The reason most parents require their nanny to be included on a voluntary register is so they can pay both the nanny and the HMRC bills using the Tax-free Childcare scheme (or its predecessor, Childcare Vouchers). There is no beneficial impact on the nanny’s tax or employment status; the savings all go to the employer so many parents choose to meet the cost of voluntary registration and the annual renewal (if applicable).

Costs vary considerably, depending on where you live and for some registering may be considered a faff. But in many cases the parents can achieve significant tax savings and therefore make it a condition of the nanny’s employment.

In some cases parents do not require their nanny to be on the voluntary register for reasons such as:

  • The family uses a nursery as well. Depending on the size of the nursery bills, they may be able to spend all their tax-free childcare there instead.
  • The family don’t qualify for tax-free childcare because their income is too high.


In England, the nanny may register on the Voluntary part of the OFSTED Childcare Register (NOT the Early Years Register). This requires:

  • Basic childcare training
  • First Aid certificate dated within the last 3 years.
  • Public liability insurance
  • An enhanced DBS check.

You can read about the costs involved here. Both parties need to agree who will pay for what costs.

With the preparation done, the nanny will now be ready to apply online with Ofsted. It may help to know that gov.uk and OFSTED sometimes use the term ‘Home Childcarer’, rather than ‘nanny’.

Once submitted, the application can take up to 12 weeks to come through, so the nanny should be careful not to delay or send in an incomplete application. The employer will want the nanny to be on the voluntary register as soon as possible.


In Scotland the system is very different: registration is with the Scottish Care Inspectorate via a nanny agency. If the nanny is not already registered with an agency, try your local branch of Tinies who will be able to provide this service at a charge.

Northern Ireland

Here nannies register with the Home Childcarer Approval scheme. There are no fees payable. The application form itself is not currently online, so contact the Early Years Office attached to the relevant HSC trust instead.


Welsh nannies register with the Childcare at Home Approval Scheme (currently undergoing consultation to become The Approval of Home Childcare Providers (Wales) Scheme 2021). Fees are payable at £55.00 for the first year (plus £49.60 for DBS if needed) and £55 per year thereafter apply online with Childcare at Home.