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Personal Assistants and Direct Payments

Personal assistant

Other than using a homecare organisation another way to maintain your independence is by using a personal assistant. Personal assistants can help you with everyday tasks such as help with shopping, medication prompts and getting out and about.

To find out more and also for further information on direct payments, please use the headings below.

Personal Assistants

A Personal Support Assistant or PA is someone who is employed to provide everyday care and support. This may include personal and domestic care, support to get out and about, as well as other day-to-day activities. 

A PA can offer the most control over services as they are better able to support an individual's specific needs and promote independence. It is a role that can be flexible and provide a much wider variety of support than traditional homecare type roles.

PAs work directly with one or more individuals to help them with various aspects of their daily life, to help them live as independently as possible. A PA will be employed directly by an individual who is managing and paying for their own care through a social care direct payment or personal budget. PAs can be employed directly by just one employer or can work for a number of different people. PAs usually support individuals in their own home or to go out in the community.

A PA role might include:

  • organising and supporting individuals with their social and physical activities
  • booking and going with individuals to appointments
  • helping individuals to get to work, college or university
  • helping with personal care such as showering and dressing (although not all PA roles involve personal care)
  • supporting with tasks around the house such as shopping, cleaning and cooking
  • monitoring their health for example measuring body temperatures or administering medication.
  • managing a team of PAs if in a senior PA role. 

If you would like to find a personal assistant please visit our Personal Assistant Directory which is managed by Nottinghamshire County on our sister site called Notts Help Yourself.

If you are interested in becoming a PA please visit our money and work section.

Personal care

Direct Payments

If you or someone you care for are eligible for support following an assessment of your social care need or already get help from social services, you can apply for Direct Payments.

The Personalisation Hub provides support and advice to people who use Direct Payments, or who are interested in receiving Direct Payments. Direct Payments are not a benefit like DLA, but are paid by Social Services instead of providing services, such as home care, or a place in a Day Centre. The money must only be used to buy the services that Social Services were providing you with, or would provide to you following a strengths based social care assessment.

What is a Direct Payment?

When you know you are eligible for social care support, there will be a range of social care services available to meet your needs. A direct payment is a method of paying for these social care services. Direct Payments can be used to buy services but they can also be used to employ your own Personal Assistant.

Direct Payments can give you greater choice, control and flexibility over what services you want and when they are delivered. However with this independence comes a certain amount of responsibility.

With only a few exceptions, Direct Payments are available to anyone who is eligible for social care from Nottingham City Council.

How does a Direct Payment work?

Once you know you are eligible to receive social care support you will then be financially assessed to find out whether you will need to make a financial contribution towards the cost of your social care. Your contribution and the Direct Payment will then be paid into a Nottingham City Direct Payment Account which will come with a card that has chip and pin functionality and works in the same way as any other debit card.

The Council can view and print reports of the money spent from your account and the balance held. The Council uses this information to monitor that the Direct Payment money is meeting your care needs. You should also keep hold of any receipts, invoices or other paperwork relating to how you spend your Direct Payment as you may be asked to submit these from time to time.

What are my responsibilities?

If you choose to have a Direct Payment, you will be responsible for your care. The Council will help you to set up the care, but will not have any responsibility for the ongoing management of it as the contract for any service is between you and the provider of the service. This means you will be responsible for making payments to the agreed service. You are also held responsible for any debt accrued by either non-payment of your financial contribution or misuse of funds.

If you choose to receive a Direct Payment to employ a Personal Assistant, you will be taking on the responsibility of being an employer. This is a significant responsibility and one which is sometimes overlooked. 

Direct Payments: Becoming an employer

If you choose to use your Direct Payment to employ a Personal Assistant, you will be taking on the responsibility of being an employer.

This is a significant responsibility, and one which is sometimes overlooked. As an employer, you will be held liable for:

  • Recruiting your PA
  • Making payments of Tax and National Insurance to HMRC on behalf of your PA
  • Understanding and complying with Employment Law
  • Taking out the appropriate Insurance for your PA
  • Organising cover for holidays and sickness of your PA
  • Any training required for your PA
  • Dealing with any grievances

The Council can help with some of these responsibilities. There are also a number of external organisations called Support Providers who will help as much or as little as you need them to. You may be happy to take on these responsibilities yourself, or you may know of a friend or relative who is willing to help.

Person using phone whilst looking at paperwork

Direct Payments: Frequently Asked Questions

Please look at our Frequently Asked Questions page for further information

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