In an imaginary metropolis, parents have a choice between two babysitting agencies.
The "Call A Babysitter" agency only employs highly-qualified experts, who have spent three to four years upon an incredibly demanding training programme covering all aspects of looking after children. Qualification is assessed by frequent and intensive one-on-one assessments. Only thirty per cent of those starting the training successfully complete it.
Those succeeding are all certified experts; technical knowledge tests are complemented by extensive assessment of their calm temperaments. These babysitters are extremely proud of their hard-won qualification and would never risk being disqualified. They are repeatedly voted the World's best babysitters.
In stark contrast, many believe that the competing United Babysitter Employment Register lists anyone who can meet the minimum legal requirements. Applicants who are asylum seekers or refugees are not required to demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record. As the babysitters in question have done little but fill in a form to qualify, they are naturally less concerned about losing their listing through misbehaviour, as there are plenty of other minimum wage jobs they could do. This agency, in its contract with parents, disclaims responsibility for the actions of the babysitter they have introduced.
There has been a disturbing frequency of sexual and other assaults upon children by unqualified babysitters over the last couple of years, including those on the Register. In addition, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that they are prone to domestic accidents involving the children they are caring for due to inexperience, overwork and the necessity to read online instruction manuals all the time.
The Register's babysitters have been charged with a wide range of other serious offences ranging from terrorism, through drug dealing to murder. In addition, it is widely reported that Register members regularly send completely unchecked and uninsured relatives to babysit in their place.
The Register itself has experienced a torrid year, with senior staff resignations, boardroom battles and legal actions for breach of employment law, theft of intellectual property and sex discrimination and harassment. The agency has been deemed " not fit and proper " by the metropolitan authorities, though as usual it is appealing.
Call A Babysitter's representatives have their rates set by the metropolitan authority. They are, perhaps understandably, usually a bit more expensive than those of the United Babysitter Employment Register, though the latter's rates are unpredictable as they can rise by multiples when demand is high (e.g. Saturday nights).
Given the choice, which agency would you entrust your loved ones to?