For more than a decade, BAPAA, The British Au Pair Agencies Association has been setting standards for the British Au Pair industry and in 2013/2014 BAPAA celebrated its 10 year anniversary.
BAPAA is the only recognised trade association for the Au Pair industry in Britain and provides information, support and training to its registered agencies and also helps to set industry standards for the benefit of host families and Au Pairs. BAPAA was formed on a non-commercial basis in 2003 by the British members of the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) with the purpose of setting standards for the Au Pair industry and protecting the Au Pair experience as a rewarding cultural exchange programme.
Since its formation in 2003 BAPAA has liaised with the Government on matters including Au Pairs and the National Minimum Wage, the Vetting and Barring Scheme, the new managed migration system and BAPAA has also published guidelines relating to the Au Pair cultural exchange programme in the UK.
Sandra Landau, Chairperson since the formation in 2003 is supported by an executive board of 5 members. Sandra commented, “In 2013 we celebrated our 10th anniversary; the success of BAPAA could not have been achieved without the commitment and hard work of my board members and the fantastic support of all of our registered agencies throughout the UK. I would personally like to thank everyone who has helped us since our formation in 2003. The heart of everything BAPAA and our agencies do is focused on our commitment to setting standards for the British Au Pair industry and more than a decade on, this priority still remains.”
Initially membership of BAPAA was only open to those agencies who were members of IAPA, but in recent years membership widened to other British agencies who fulfilled the essential criteria. In recent years BAPAA membership has continued to grow, Au Pair Agencies in Britain who wish to join BAPAA must meet strict business and ethical standards and agree to abide by BAPAA’s Code of Conduct which signifies competence, fair dealing and high integrity.
The title “Au Pair” originates from the French term meaning “on a par” or “equal to” indicating that the relationship is intended to be one of equals. Most Au Pairs in the UK are from an EU country and generally are between 18 and 27 years. Au Pairs come to Britain to learn English as part of an English speaking family. They are not domestic staff, cleaners, nannies or employees but are a part of a cultural exchange – they live as part of a family, join the family for meals and have their own bedroom in exchange for helping with childcare needs and light housework for up to a maximum of 35 hours a week. Pocket money is paid to the Au Pair on a weekly basis and BAPAA’s recommendations are – a minimum of £75 for 25 hours and £90 for 30 hours. An Au Pair must have 2 days a week free time.
BAPAA strongly recommend that if families are looking at employing an Au Pair to help them with their childcare requirements, families should use a BAPAA registered agency to help them source an Au Pair. A BAPAA registered agency will ensure that the Au Pair has been interviewed in their home country, had police and medical checks and is fully reference checked, they will also provide back up and support throughout the placement. All agencies who are members of BAPAA comply with rules and regulations governing Au Pairs and all perform vigorous checks before an Au Pair would even be considered suitable to travel to Britain. BAPAA registered agencies operate all over the UK and place Au Pairs nationally. You don’t need to pick one in your area as most agencies operate all over the UK and place nationally; a list of the registered agencies can be found on the BAPAA Members’ Directory. The fees vary from agency to agency but all BAPAA agencies comply with rules and regulations governing Au Pairs and BAPAA agencies offer many benefits to families and Au Pairs including a find-a-friend website, a 24-hour emergency helpline, settling-in techniques for family and Au Pair and information throughout the placement on “get togethers”, trips and excursions and special offers. Sandra added, “By choosing a BAPAA agency both the host family and the Au Pair can be assured of a professional service, careful selection processes and ongoing support and benefits throughout this important period.” BAPAA is a network of experienced, like-minded professionals and believes that self-regulation is the best means by which to uphold standards within the industry. BAPAA is looking forward to continuing to set industry standards for the benefit of host families and Au Pairs in Britain for the next decade and beyond.