We recently had a new addition to the household and Janice has been finding it hard to cope. We have 3 young children and a large house. Things have been going well at work so we decided to look into the possibility of hiring an au pair.
First stop was the official webpage about this topic: https://www.gov.uk/au-pairs-employment-law/nannies which has very clear, easy to understand information about hiring an au pair.
I wanted to go down the au pair route instead of a nanny because of the cost, plus my parents successfully had an au pair when there were 3 naughty boys in our house growing up. Our au pair brought some Scandinavian culture with her, and showed me how to kick a football really high lol.
Anyway, you can use an agency or you can do it yourself. There are websites out there which will help you find an au pair independently. This way is cheaper but more hassle as you have to get involved with the visa and tax situations. You are in effect an employer.
Thanks to clear guidelines on the British government's website; we found that the whole independent process was much easier than expected. We found our au pair online and vetted her through previous employers and Facebook. We got through the paperwork fairly quickly and painlessly.
She is coming over next month and the whole process has been remarkably easy. We live near to a Metrolink tram station and our au pair wants to perfect her English skills. So we helped her find and fund an English school in Manchester: http://www.communicateschool.co.uk/
We are looking forward to the experience, Janice certainly is. The two older children will be sharing a room whilst the au pair is staying. They were not too happy about that initially, but we bought bunk beds which they fell in love with.
Anyway we shall update during or after the 6 months we have agreed to. Fingers crossed it all goes well. Janice is getting along with her on Facebook chat, so we both have a feeling it will work out fine. She also has experience looking after babies which gives us even more piece of mind.