Carla Surtees on the inspiration for her nanny and housekeeping recruitment service business

PUBLISHED: 15:10 15 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:53 15 October 2014

Carla Surtees

Carla Surtees


My name is Carla Surtees. This Autumn I launched the Surtees Partnerships largely based on an experience I had 2 years ago when employing an after school nanny.

My inspiration for the business began when my family moved from London a few years ago. I found that finding responsible help was tougher then I thought and the hired help yearned for a bigger city such as London. My situation was to hire someone locally so I placed an ad in Gumtree and employed an English young lady who was and seemed impeccable. She was great with our children, she could read music and help with homework. Her CV looked respectable and she was “apparently” training to become a police officer.

I made the crucial mistake of not checking her references and undertaking an identity check. At the time I presumed that by being at home I was able to judge if the help was adequate.

Three weeks in to her employment I received a message from another mother at school stating how wonderful our nanny was and whether I was ok to nanny share. I replied to the message by thanking her and also by stating that nanny share was impossible due to our children’s schedules. A week later I received another message from this mother this time stating that she was willing to pay twice as much as what we were paying. The nanny was adamant that she wanted to stay and no money could sway her otherwise. There was further period of intimidation and I felt my personal space had been infringed upon.

I booked an appointment to see the head of the school. I showed the trail of messages to the headmistress and she was appalled. The headmistress stated she did not know who Mrs xxx was and she found that strange. She decided to do a search under the mobile number and surname or maiden name. Nothing came up. It was at this point that we both suspected it was the nanny who was blackmailing us.

I reported the case to the police and they were very helpful on guiding me in terms of what to do. I begun to look into the nanny’s CV and started coming across abnormalities. For instance, her home phone number was an outgoing phone only. The police had no record that she was training to become a police officer. And this went on and on…

A few days later, we started noticing that a few expensive items had gone missing. For example, two rings from my safe, a camera, etc. It all added to a substantial amount.

The nanny was taken in by the police for questioning and ultimately she was not formally charged for lack of evidence but we had our suspicions.

This is why I decided to set up my own nanny and housekeeping agency. I could never forgive myself for putting my children in a dangerous situation and I’m relieved that no harm came to them. However, I want to be able to put things right by helping others.

What sets the Surtees Partnerships apart from anyone else? We offer a bespoke nanny and housekeeping recruitment service tailored to our clients needs. Fundamental to our approach is the importance we place on our relationship with our clients. That is why we meet, with our clients to establish correct expectations, agreeing the terms and delivery accordingly but also to establish relationships of continuity and trust. We also place importance in our relationship with our candidates. We meet and interview all our candidates and we make sure they are who they say they are; references and suitability are thoroughly investigated and we only submit CVs that are relevant. What matters to us is that we place someone with the appropriate ability to look after children and/or the house and that they are able to provide a safe and secure environment for that family.

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