Introduction to Direct Payment
A Direct Payment allows you to have a say about who provides you with your support and when you want it.
You can choose who comes into your home and exactly what is best for you. If you want to employ your own staff this means you may become an ‘employer’. People have found that this option gives them the most choice and control, but it comes with responsibility.
There is a range of support and advice you can get to help with all aspects of these responsibilities and we advise that you make use of this.
- Employ a personal assistant through an agency
- Employ a personal assistant who is already set up as self employed
- Employ a personal assistant by yourself.
For more information on Independent Living
What kind of support do you need?
If you want to employ a personal assistant by yourself the first step is to think about what kind of support you need and how employing staff will help you meet these needs.
You can look at your Support Plan to help you think about what you will need the staff to do.
Write a list of tasks you want them to do. This list could be used as a job description.
The job description
A job description tells people what the job is about.
It will help to explain to the people who want to apply what it involves and what sort of person you are looking for.
The job description explains the task, the skills and abilities, how many hours you need your personal assistant to work and anything else you will expect of your personal assistant.
How and where to find the right person
You may know someone who can provide you with support or you could ask among your friends, family or neighbours.
Try looking or placing an notice in:
- PA Databases like (Link Me Up or Care Pair)
- Local shops and Post Offices
- Community centres
- Job centres
- College of further education
- Your religious place of worship.
What to say in the advert
In the advert, you need to:
- Explain briefly what the job involves
- What kind of person you are looking for
- How many hours per week they will work
- How much you will pay per hour
- Give a contact number.
Deciding who to interview
To help you decide who to interview you will need to ask the applicants to fill in an application form or to write a letter explaining why they want the job and where they have worked before.
You may want to ask someone to help you at this stage and help with the interview. After the interview you need to think about who is the best person to support you.
When you have chosen the right person, we strongly advise that you:
- Take up references
- Carry out a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
You will need to ask a registered agency to carry out the checks for you. You can get information from the Criminal Records Bureau www.crb.gov.uk on 0870 909 0844
What the law says about your responsibilities as an employer
If you are employing a personal assistant, there are some things the law says you need to know about:
- Equal opportunities legislation
- Employments contracts
- Laws about who has the right to work in this country
- Employers liability insurance
- Grievance and disciplinary procedures
- Employment legislation
- Emergency plans
- Fair and unfair dismissal
- Pay review
- Period of notice
- Staff appraisal
- Staff recruitment
- Health and safety
- Induction training
- Manual handling (helping people move or lifting things)
These are some national organisations which have information around employment:
- Disability Tax Guide – www.disabilitytaxguide.org.uk/employment-law
- ACAS – www.acas.org.uk
ACAS provides advice, information and training on employment issues. They work with employers and employees to solve problems.
- Direct Gov – www.direct.gov.uk/employment
A government website which offers a wide range of public services on the web.
- The Pension Regulator will give you information on your duties as an employer CLICK HERE to watch a video or go to the website www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk
How will I pay my personal assistant?
You will need to register with the Inland Revenue or with a payroll agency to take tax and national insurance from the amount you pay your staff. You need to keep records of tax deductions and national insurance (NI) contributions.
Many people find it helpful to use a professional payroll or financial management service, so they do not have to pay people and work out tax themselves.
You can get information from your social worker or care manager.
For more information on paying wages
How can I get the best from my staff?
You have an on-going responsibility to make sure that your personal assistant is safe and happy. It may be useful to have regular discussions with them.
- Discuss how you like things to be done
- Tell them when they are doing well
- Tell them If you are unhappy with their work
- Deal with any problems that occur.
Can I employ a family member?
You should not employ a family member who lives in the same household unless it is agreed in writing that exceptional circumstances make this necessary. You should discuss your situation with your care manager or social worker.
For more information on being a carer
Can my personal assistant be self-employed?
Personal assistants are usually employed directly by an individual with a Direct Payment. However it is possible for a personal assistant to be self-employed and for you to contract their services.
You cannot ask a personal assistant to be self-employed in order to avoid taking on employer’s responsibilities such as paying tax and national insurance.
You can get information from the HM Revenue and Customs:
Tel: 0845 607 0143
I am worried about employing someone in case they abuse me (or my child).
To protect yourself (or your child) you can:
- Ask for and follow up references
- Make sure police checks (Criminal Records Bureau – CRB) are done
- Go on training as an employer (your social worker or care manager may be able to advise you)
- Join a peer group to share experiences with other people who use Direct Payments.
If you have concerns about an individual, talk to your social worker or care manager.
There may be a need to report the concerns to the Discloure and Barrine Service (Independent Safeguarding Authority). If you want more information, contact the Independent Safeguarding Authority:
Tel: 0300 0200 190
Where can I get more information?
If you want more information, advice or support you can talk directly to your social worker or care manager.
- Vibrance: www.vibrance.org.uk
- Link me Up – PA Database run by Vibrance: www.linkmeup.org.uk
- Carepare PA Database: www.carepair.co.uk
- Disability Tax Guide: www.disabilitytaxguide.org.uk
- National Centre for Independent Living: www.ncil.org.uk/employers-kit.asp
- The Department of Trade and Industry booklets: www.direct.gov.uk
PL810 Contracts of Employment
PL700 Written Statement of Employment Particulars
- Home Office: www.homeoffice.gov.uk
Tel: 020 7035 4848
Minicom: 020 7035 4742
- Pension Regulator: www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk
- In Control national: www.in-control.org.uk
- Sds4me Community Connections: www.sds4me.org.uk
- Being the Boss: www.beingtheboss.co.uk