Personal assistants. Direct payments from local council — Scope | Disability forum
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Personal assistants. Direct payments from local council

Sueval Community member Posts: 12 Connected
My 29 year old daughter was recently assessed by a social worker who has recommended she has a PA for 6 hours a week to help her with independence skills and companionship. I have received a prepayment card but no information or support about how to proceed. Help! 


  • littleacorn
    littleacorn Community member Posts: 360 Pioneering
    Have you decided to employ someone yourself or go with the council pro idea.infact were you even informed that you can employ your own?
  • Hannah_Scope
    Hannah_Scope Posts: 6,983 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @sueval

    Welcome to the community! :) Does your local council have the information on their website? 
    Hannah - She / Her

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • Sueval
    Sueval Community member Posts: 12 Connected
    Thanks for your replies. 
    I have been informed that we can employ someone ourselves or use an agency. The council does not provide PAs and just named an agency (Curam). I have looked on Curam’s website and they don’t have many people covering our area. The people that they do have seem to be experienced carers for the elderly and charge considerably more per hour than my daughter is being given in her personal budget. 
    I have seen adverts for PA on local Facebook group recently which makes me think they must be desperate! I have a feeling that it might not be easy finding someone appropriate/ to my daughter’s liking. Not sure where to look or how to advertise. Also not really happy about becoming an employer with all the responsibility that goes with it. Seems like a lot of hassle for 6 hours a week. 
  • surfygoose
    surfygoose Community member Posts: 423 Pioneering
    We had that exact problem. Direct payments did it anywhere near cover the costs of agency staff. We found being an employer too hard as well, a lot of responsibility. We managed to hire our own for a while but if the PA was sick then we didn’t have enough money call in an agency worker so would have been left uncovered. I know direct payments work very well for some people though, it can be a great thing for some people to have that good level of control over their care. For me for the short time I had that sort of care (it was in between care home placements so I didn’t do that for too long), I was better without direct payments. I had the local authority do it all for me instead. I didn’t cope with the direct payments so for the rest of the time I had PAs I let them just commission the PAs for me so me or my family didn’t have to be an employer. They just arranged the agency and paid them and sent them out instead. It didn’t actually mean that we got no choice because the agency did let us say if someone wasn’t suitable and they made good efforts to only send a select few staff so that I had regular people. The agency local to us was also mostly elderly care too so we did have that same issue they weren’t special needs trained. Also as they were a home care agency mostly doing quick visits for elderly they weren’t so used to long visits of all day care and they did have to come to start with me after already having done very early morning visits with elderly clients so they always ran very late which wasn’t their fault but was difficult if mum and dad needed to go out, because they couldn’t leave the house until they arrived. Anyway I hope yours works out well and was just letting you know that you can ask social services to commission the care for you instead of direct payments if you wanted to but also there are companies to help you if you do direct payments that help with payroll or help with making job contracts and stuff. I didn’t like that but if you understand it all then it gives you choice and control. For me care home was always more suitable anyway so I might not be the best advice, just letting you know what bits I know of it in case it’s helpful. I remember I got too upset because I saw a letter saying that as an employer I can go to prison if my PAs didn’t have a pension scheme or have the correct holiday entitlement and things like that. Everyone told me not to worry because of anything went wrong then a court would know I didn’t understand how to do any of it but then I got anxious about mum and dad getting in trouble and I used to get too panicky when it was time to audit the payslips and everything and I always thought there might be a mistake, but I’ve got friends whose parents are really good at that stuff and they are able to keep all the letters hidden from their children so they don’t know it’s stressful. I’m too nosey so got stressed poking my nose in all the paperworks!
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,085 Disability Gamechanger
    I have experience with DPs because i use to manage my daughters. You can ask your local Authority to manage the direct payments for you, if you do not want to do it yourself.

    I had a prepayment card but also a bank account. My LA set up a bank account, then gave me access to it. They then paid the money into that bank account each week. They also have access to that bank account. You will then need to use that bank to pay the PA yourself.

    If you employ a PA yourself you'll need to make sure you do your checks, DBS checks to start with. You will also need to make sure you have liability insurance, this will protect yourself and the PA when they are at work. Your PA will not be able to work without this. The cost of this should have been included in the personal budget.

    I used a payroll company for everything such as payslips, National insurance etc. As an employer i also had to register with HMRC. The company i used also advertised for a PA on my behalf and then i interviewed at my home. The only downside to having a PA is that if they are off sick or on annual leave then you don't have a replacement. My daughters PA worked very well for her once she got used to her. At first she hated it and didn't want anything to do with any support of any kind. Thankfully, she got used to her and began to trust her. She was reliable, flexible and was always happy to change the hours/days to suit my daughter. Likewise, we were always flexible with her. For those reasons we had a very good relationship with her.

    Links for advertising paid products aren't allowed here otherwise i would post some links. You can use google to search for the information i gave above.

    It sounds complicated but it's quite easy once you get used to it.

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.


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