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Personal assistants

Introduction

Whether you pay for your own care and support or receive council funding, employing your own personal assistant can give you more choice and control over the way your needs are met.

A personal assistant (PA) can carry out a wide range of tasks to help you to stay independent. Depending on your specific needs, some of the things they can help you with include:

  • personal care
  • cooking meals
  • grocery shopping
  • accessing community and social opportunities
  • developing independent living skills

You have a say in what your personal assistant does for you and what hours they work.

You can pay for a personal assistant  from your own money or with your direct payment if you receive one from the council.

Advertise and interview

Advertise your requirements: unless you already know who you want to employ, think about placing your advert in the local newspaper and on job recruitment sites.

Decide which applicants meet the requirements of your job

Interview your chosen applicants: ask everyone the same questions and make notes. Don't forget to ask for proof of legal entitlement to work in the UK.

If you decide to appoint, you can give the successful applicant a call, but don’t forget you must also offer the job in writing.

Carry out checks for the successful candidate: you should send for 2 references (one should always be from a previous job) and think about having a DBS (police) check done.

Being an employer

You might have to think about any training your chosen personal assistant might need before they start work.

It's good practice to meet your personal assistant  before they start to show them the tasks you would like them to do and introduce them to other people. Remember - employer's liability insurance must be taken out, by law, before your personal assistant  starts work. 

Don't forget to give your personal assistant terms and conditions of employment and have regular meetings with personal assistant.

Remember, please take advice before dismissing staff to make sure you do it correctly.

You may find it useful to speak to someone who is already employing a personal assistant .

Skills for care has information and advice about employing your own personal assistant including your responsibilities and legal obligations as an employer.

Finding a personal assistant

You can ask your social worker to make a referral to one of the agencies listed below on your behalf. If you pay for your own care and you would like help to employ a personal assistant, you may contact these agencies directly.

Dorset Advocacy

PRO Disability (Poole Rights Organisation on Disability)