Arranging Your Own Care - Personal Assistants
You can employ Personal Assistants (PAs) to help you with your care needs. This might include helping with household chores, shopping, paying bills, transport, your medical needs or personal tasks like washing and using the toilet.
You can employ a Personal Assistant directly, or get the support you need from a care agency. You may decide to employ a personal assistant or professional carer. Before doing so, check the advice available below.
- Finding the right help
- How to find a personal assistant
- Your responsibilities as an employer
- The Right to work in the UK
- Disclosure and Barring Service
- Job adverts and applications
- Training and qualifications for personal assistants
We offer information on the care services available in Haringey, including their quality and cost. This information can be found in Haricare - our online directory of adult services. It gives useful information for people who have been assessed as needing a personal budget and is equally helpful to people paying for their own care. You can find information on Haricare about Care Agencies. We also have information about companies that will help you employ a Personal Assistant. These include recruitment agencies, payroll providers and Employer's liability insurers.
To find out how to pay for the services you need please visit the paying for care page.
The following external websites will allow you to search for a personal assistant in your local area:
You can search for details of local domiciliary (home) care agencies on Haricare. People looking to work as personal assistants can Register on Haricare so people looking for someone to employ can contact them.
As an employer you have important responsibilities. The employment pages of the GOV.UK website (external link) have information on a wide range of employment-related matters such as:
- Employment terms and conditions (external link)
- Redundancy and leaving your job (external link)
- Health & Safety at work (domiciliary care) (external link)
- Discrimination at work (external link)
- Disciplinary and grievance procedures - Resolving workplace disputes (external link)
You must make sure you personal assistant pays the correct tax, National Insurance and pension contributions. You can search on Haricare for payroll companies who will help you with this.
You will also need Employer's liability Insurance. You can search Haricare for companies that provide policies designed for this
Make sure your employee has the right to work in the UK before they start work. Understand the issues around immigration. It's a criminal offence to employ someone who doesn't have the right to work legally in the UK.
More information on working in the UK is available from the GOV.UK website (external link) and the Home Office website (external link). You can also call the Home Office's employer's helpline on 0845 010 66707.
Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks are now called Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. The DBS website (external link) gives information on how to make safer recruitment decisions.
Examples of job adverts, job descriptions, sample applications forms, contracts of employment, timesheets, holiday records, training records, appraisals, risk assessment forms can be found on the Skills for Care website (external link).
The Citizens Advice Bureau (website - external link) also provides very useful advice on contracts of employment.
You need to consider:
- what tasks the Personal Assistant will be expected to carry out
- whether there is any specialist equipment, such as hoists, slide boards etc, that the Personal Assistant will be expected to use
- whether the Personal Assistant will be expected to undertake any specialist work such as skin care, turning etc.
- whether the Personal Assistant will be working with people who have a sight and/or hearing impairment or other condition such as dementia
This will help you to decide whether experience, training and qualifications are important.
In some circumstances, where a Personal Assistant would be expected to undertake specialist work such as moving and handling, it may be safer to employ someone with experience, who has had training, particularly as you are legally responsible for their health and safety. Alternatively you may want to arrange training, so your Personal Assistant can learn how to work with you
Someone with an NVQ in Health and Social Care may be a good option as they will have an understanding of social care work and have demonstrated their ability to carry out a range of social care work in order to gain their qualification.
If you’re arranging your own services, you may need someone to help you express your opinion, or ask questions, or access information. You may therefore find it useful to have a person supporting you (sometimes known as an advocate).
An advocate will:
- listen to what you want, and not impose their views
- make sure that you are given balanced information so that the decision remains yours
- help you by writing letters, representing you, or talking things through
There are many organisations offering advocacy support, including the following:
For people with learning disabilities:
Tel: 0845 017 5198
Address: Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Service, United House, 39-41 North Road, London N7 9DP
For older people:
Age UK supports all people aged 50 and over in the UK, ensuring that they get the most from life. It provides essential services such as day care and information, and campaigns on issues like age discrimination and pensions, working to influence public opinion and government policy about older people.
For people with mental health problems:
Mind in Haringey
Tel: 020 8340 2474
Fax: 020 8340 8308
Address: Station House, 73c Stapleton Hall Road, London, N4 3QF
A Personal Assistant fact sheet (PDF, 276KB) has been produced with the help of Skills for Care for personal assistants and those who are thinking of employing a personal assistant.
Further guidance on the sorts of things you need to consider if you are thinking about becoming a personal assistant or a user of personal assistants can be obtained from:
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