A personal assistant plays an important role in the community. PA’s offer all sorts of services to their clients including cleaning, food preparation, shopping, unregulated personal care within CQC guidelines, gardening, pet care and many other jobs that people require.
As a PA you can:
- Choose what services you wish to offer.
- You may become Employed by a client or you can be Self-Employed.
- If you are self-employed you must register with HMRC and may be required by a client to evidence that fact.
- Most unregulated personal care requires you to be employed by your client. This is to comply with the requirements of CQC regulation for self-directed individual personal care.
- You may be employed by your own Personal Service Limited Company as a ‘Personal Assistants at Home’ accredited PA.
Anyone can set up as a Personal Assistant. You do not need to be approved by the Council but there are benefits to being approved under the Support With Confidence scheme or Personal Assistants at Home, for both the Personal Assistant and the service user.
Support with Confidence in Bracknell Forest is designed for independent PAs to register as care providers. We can also accept companies to the register who are agencies registered with the CQC.
For the personal assistant the benefits of being on the Support With Confidence and/or Personal Assistants at Home, are as follows:
The local directory allows you to state which days or times of the day you can work so that people who are searching on the website will know in advance when you are available. Support With Confidence or Personal Assistants at Home allows you to fit your work around your own life and that of your family and is flexible enough for you to be able to pick up extra work as your circumstances change.
Training is provided though Greymatter learning with whom we have an arrangement for PAs to access all of the 132+ learning modules as part of the training programme. This enables both schemes to provide a comprehensive training programme which will give you the skills and confidence you need to carry out your job effectively. It will also ensure that you know what to do in an emergency or who to contact if there are any problems. Training will help to protect you from injury as it will include showing you the correct way of offering physical support to your client or employer so that you don’t put yourself in any danger. Your training will give you a good basic introduction to social care work so if you choose to go on and study further you will already have covered the basic foundation.
Once you have completed the training programme, your details are placed on the national directory (if you wish) and also on th elocal directory website so that you can advertise your services. People who are searching for a Personal Assistant will be able to see these and if they think you may be able to help them, invite you for an interview.
Bracknell Forest Council assess those looking for care, then give money to those who are eligible for funding to spend on care and will steer them and those who want to self-fund towards Support With Confidence and Personal Assistants at Home. By advertising through both schemes, you are more likely to find work which means more choice and flexibility for you.
To make sure you are confident in what you are doing and feel able to carry out your duties without any problems we continue to support you through Support With Confidence and Personal Assistants at Home, and give you help and advice on any aspects of your job should you need it.
Once you are registered on the website, people who are buying their own care will be able to select the details of someone who lives near to them that can provide the services they are looking for.
They will then contact you to arrange to meet you and discuss their situation, and then if you are suitable, offer you the job.
If a potential client wishes to advertise a job then they contact Action for People who send out a list of job opportunities to all PAs every day. If a PA wishes to apply for a job that is advertised then they submit an application that is passed to the client who will contact any PA that they wish to interview.
Please note that there are strict rules that surround what is known as brokerage or ‘job matching’ so ALL jobs are advertised to all PAs.
How will I get paid?
You will be paid by the client.
Can I work for more than one client?
Yes, in fact if you wish to be self-employed you will need to ensure that you have multiple clients to demonstrate to HMRC that you are providing a service and not just fulfilling a couple of part-time jobs for which a client should directly employ you. If you are self-employed you need to be aware that it is up to you to prove to HMRC that you are self-employed as any failure to so do could result in your client being retrospectively considered an employer. For that reason we suggest that PAs may prefer to be employed through their own limited company so that the client can contract with the company and the PA can be directly employed through their own company. Thus maintaining your independence and control over your employment.
Will I have to give my full name and address on the website?
No you don’t need to give your full name but you can if you want to. We do not publish addresses on the website but we will need to say which area you will be able to work in so that the client is able to choose someone who lives near to them.
It is helpful to provide a contact telephone number, for which re recommend you use a dedicated work mobile but an email address is sufficient and may be more helpful in some cases ie for someone with a hearing impairment.
Can I say which services I will or won’t do?
Yes although it is good to be as flexible as possible in order to provide a wide range of services, but if there is something in particular you feel you can offer you can specify that on the website i.e. shopping or dog walking services. That way the service user will know how you can help them. If you decide later that you can offer more, we can change your website entry as your circumstances change.
Support With Confidence and Personal Assistants at Home are schemes designed to offers peace of mind to people wishing to employ a Personal Assistant. The scheme offers training, undertakes enhanced DBS and reference checks and places Personal Assistants who have successfully met the requirements of the scheme on a directory of providers. All Approved Personal Assistants are issued with a numbered certificate as proof of their Approved status.
What training is included?
The training that this scheme provides for Personal Assistants includes the main service information courses that are useful to PAs as listed below but our affiliation with Greymatter learning ensure that PAs may access in excess of 130 different subjects if they so wish:
- End of Life
- Food Hygiene
- Health and Safety
- Infection Control
- Manual Handling
- Medication Awareness
- Safeguarding adults
- Safeguarding children
- Dementia Support
All of the Personal Assistants approved by the Schemes must meet standards covering Promotion of Users’ Rights, Confidentiality, Independence and Risk. Approved Personal Assistants are required to sign up to Terms and Conditions as well as codes of conduct.
An Approved Assistant
- All training, checks and vetting are provided by Action for People or Personal Assistants at Home
- Being on the database of Approved Personal Assistants will help potential clients to find you.
- As an Approved Personal Assistant all the necessary checks will have been carried out in advance. This will save you and your employer time as well as money.
- Finally, by achieving Approved status you show commitment to and evidence of adhering to high professional standards in social care. This gives you a distinct advantage over other candidates.
To find out more about training:
Personal Assistants (including assistants who don’t offer personal care) – As from November 2023 there is a charge for all new Personal Assistants of £3.50 a week the cost of a cup of coffee. The new scheme meets all current requirements and YES we still welcome self-employed PAs. However, we encourage all PAs to consider operating their own small personal service company. Here is the 2024 Brochure.
The application process
Simply complete the application form in the brochure and post it to us with your supporting documents or follow the instructions for uploading it all online.
As part of the scheme, the application process will include:
- the necessary checks on your background and any criminal records
- request for references
- meeting you and discussing your application
- registering you with the scheme – subject to undertaking training and satisfying the application process.
Access the Online Directory of Personal Assistants
Find out the different ways you can hire support
Get in touch by email or call us on 01344 206 113