A PA is a personal assistant or support worker who provides assistance to a disabled person in day-to-day living. There is no one single job description, as no one person’s needs are the exactly the same. The PA’s role is to support the employer as an individual to live the way they choose, which can vary depending on the employer’s lifestyle and needs. A personal assistant needs to understand the service user’s requirements and be should enable them to lead an equal and independent life.
A personal assistant needs to be able to work flexibly, have good communication skills, respect people’s dignity and be willing to learn.
Some examples of what a PA’s role might cover include:
It may be helpful to understand that there is a difference between that of a Care Assistant and a Personal Assistant. Although differing posts have varying requirements the general role of a personal assistant is the same. A personal assistant’s role is to help you to live the way you choose. This means that a personal assistant should listen to their employer to understand and respond positively to any reasonable request for assistance. It enables disabled people to lead an individual, independent life equal to that of non-disabled people.
Users of direct payments can employ anyone to provide support, with the exception of close family who live in the same home. As an employer you write the job description, set the working hours and establish rules. While this has many positives, as an employer you also have responsibilities for paying your PA, dealing with tax etc.
The Direct Payments Support Service can help with arranging to employ a personal assistant. We provide a payroll service and can support with advertising for and interviewing potential PA’s. We also provide support with setting up and renewing liability insurance and general advice and troubleshooting.
Self-employed personal assistants are PA’s who you can contract with to work for you, but are considered their own employer and are treated as a business owner. This means that they themselves are responsible for dealing with their own tax, National Insurance contributions, insurance etc. It is recommended that you seek advice before considering taking on someone claiming to be self-employed, as you will need to check they have the relevant checks in place.
If you use a self-employed PA you are essentially purchasing services much like you would if you were using an agency. The PA would set their own range of services that they offer and invoice you for them.
You need to proceed with caution when using a self-employed personal assistant. You should obtain proof that they are self-employed by asking for their unique tax reference number and by using the Employment Indicator Status tool on the HM Revenue and Customs website.
There are a number of agencies that provide paid carers/ personal assistants. You can use your direct payment to purchase the service. One of the advantages of using an agency is that agencies usually have a bank of support workers to provide someone who meets your criteria. It also means they can provide flexible support if one PA is sick, for instance.
As the agency acts as the employer they cover responsibilities such as payroll, tax and other paperwork. The agency will set the job description and rules for the PA and invoice you for services. It would be advisable to gain information from the outset around their terms and conditions such as rates they charge, expenses payable etc
You can sometimes arrange for someone you would like to be your PA to be taken on and employed by a care agency. It will be down to the agencies discretion as to whether they will accept the individual, as they would essentially be recruiting them as their staff.
The aim of direct payments is to let people personalize the support they receive in a way that is tailored to the individual. Direct payments can be very flexible and many people find their own creative ways of addressing their needs.
For example, some people who receive direct payments may decide to pool their direct payments hours/ money together to share a group of PA’s. Alternatively people who receive direct payments may bank their hours when a PA is on holiday or off sick or sometimes to use their hours for different activities and support, which may have alternative times and durations. However this needs to be monitored carefully to make sure the direct payment is being used correctly.
Our PA Register is for people looking to work with disabled people who require support to live independently. This is an excellent opportunity to be considered for vacancies, sometimes even before they have been advertised.
Please complete a PA register profile (apply at PA Register above) and we will work with you to match you with relevant vacancies.
Duties: Will depend on particular requirements of the employer.
You don’t need to have previous experience in this field, nor do you need qualifications. We are seeking people who share in our values as follows:
Essential Criteria: All successful applicants will undergo references and an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check
Hours: Varied dependent on employer, Part time or full time hours available.
Rate: Varied dependent on employer but will meet National Minimum Rate as a minimum.
As a local organisation we very much rely on the support of our local community, and continue to support people flexibly to have greater choice and control and remove the barriers that disabled people and children experience in their everyday lives. We support over 2,000 people every year. But we need your help.