Frequently Asked Questions

Unison have a website for PAs: PA-unison.org.uk. It offers support in the form of resources, workshops, a PA blog, and an online forum/support network for PAs.

What is a personal assistant (PA) in social care?

A personal assistant (sometimes called a PA or carer) is an employed person who gives support with everyday tasks to an Employer – this may be a person who is looking for some assistance either because of their age or disability. A PA’s role is to enable their Employer to live as independently as possible.

Personal assistants carry out a wide range of tasks as directer by the Employer. These may include things such as washing and getting dressed, cooking, feeding, and support to go out and about.

The key skills needed for being a PA are the ability to listen, be flexible, and a willingness to learn and respond.

What is CamdenPAs?

CamdenPAs is an online ‘marketplace’ where PAs and individual Employers (those looking for support) come together. It is a place where local PAs can advertise themselves and Employers can find and contact PAs. Both parties can communicate anonymously through the site until they are ready to take recruitment further.

CamdenPAs vets PAs to ensure they are of a high standard. All PAs are Right to Work Checked, reference checked and have a face-to-face interview.

As an introductory agency, CamdenPAs provides a platform where people meet. We don’t advice Employers who to select and we do not get involved in the recruitment process. For advice and guidance on how to recruit visit Skills for Care.

How can CamdenPAs help me?

CamdenPAs offers PAs the opportunity to advertise their services. You will be listed on the site. If an individual seeking support likes your profile, they can contact you through the website to arrange an interview.

Individual employers can also create an ‘ad’ describing their own support needs. If you have an account with CamdenPAs, you can respond to these.

CamdenPAs is a free for PAs.

Completing the registration and your profile

The first step to joining CamdenPAs is to create an account. With an account you can then create your online profile – this is what people see as they browse for a PA.

We will ask:

  • - for two references;
  • - you come in for a brief interview;
  • - to see your passport (and possibly other documents) required for a Right To Work check.

Successful PAs will then be listed on the site.

When creating your profile, you can save and return to it later. This can be useful if you need time to get information. If you encounter any problems whilst registering or creating your profile, please contact us.

References

You will be asked to provide details of two referees. We will contact them to obtain references. You must have worked for them. If you haven’t worked, then we can discuss alternative referees such as volunteer coordinators or tutors.

Photograph of yourself

You will have the opportunity to upload a recent photo of yourself. It’s not mandatory but profiles with photos will generally be viewed far more than those without.

Will my personal details be available to the public?

Some pieces of information will be, eg, name, experience, availability and services you can provide. Others will remain private and will not be shared with anyone else (these bits of information will only be used by CamdenPAs to help provide the overall service). When PAs and employers contact each other through CamdenPAs they do not see each others personal details. Messages are sent safely and anonymously through the website

Do I need a DBS (formerly CRB) Certificate?

All Employers are advised to check the DBS Certificate of any PA they are thinking of employing. If you have not had one within the last year, it is likely that a potential employer will get you DBS checked. It is the employer who then makes the decision whether or not they will employ you.

DBS Update Service information

DBS have an ‘Update Service’. By registering online you can keep your details up-to-date without the need to re-apply for a new DBS Certificate in the future. Registration is free for volunteers and costs £13.00 per/year for those in employment. The update service makes it easier for prospective employers to quickly check your details online. This speeds up the recruitment process.

This service is not compulsory.

For more information, please visit DBS Update Service

Am I guaranteed a position as a PA?

No. By joining the CamdenPA register you will be make yourself know to potential Employers and referral agencies as they search for the right PA. It is a shop window where you can advertise yourself.

Use your profile to paint a picture of yourself, your interests and hobbies. Employers are more likely to contact you if they have a feel for what you are like.

Do I need experience and/or specific qualifications to be a PA?

Experience is always valuable, but even if you are just starting out as a Personal Assistant, you can join CamdenPAs. Each Employer will be looking for different things. Some want lots of experience, others would rather employ someone who they feel is ‘fresh’ and new to it. Some employers may require specific training courses to have been completed.

Give a detailed description of yourself, your personal qualities and skill set. This makes it easier for a potential Employer to decide whether you are a good fit and they are more likely to contact you. For example, if you enjoy chess, say so, there may be an employer who loves a game too, and this could lead to an interview!

Am I self-employed?

No. A PA is employed by the individual who they support. The individual is essentially your boss. They are responsible for things like insurance, holiday pay, sick pay and maternity leave.

How will I be paid?

You and your employer agree your hourly rate. This will then laid out in your contract of work. Most often you will be paid monthly. This allows the individual to offer you the highest rate of pay (employers are normally charged per invoice by bookkeeping companies). Payments should be made by Direct Debit or cheque. 

Can I be a PA for more than one employer?

Yes. PAs often work for more than one employer. CamdenPAs allows you to specify what days and times you are available. This way you can find new employment that fits around other jobs and commitments.

Can I amend or delete my profile?

You can remove or edit your profile yourself whenever you want. This is done by accessing my account.You can also take your profile ‘offline’ without deleting it. This means it won’t be seen by employers until you put it back online. This is a great if you find temporary work or you just want to be available during holidays etc.

Do you offer any training for PAs?

Camden Council offer free training for PAs through Camden TDS. There are also other training provider within Camden such as colleges and health and social care providers.

Once you are employed, then your Employer may apply for funding to get you trained. For more information visit Skills for Care who have a dedicated website for Employers and PAs to explore training options and get guidance.

Who do I contact if I experience problems with an employer?

If you experience problems that cannot be solved by following the advice on the site, then contact us straight away.

Receive Direct Payment from Camden council? PSIC (for under 65s, tel: 020 7383 4901) or AgeUK Camden (for over 65s) can support and guide you through the process of employing a PA.

What is CamdenPAs?

Camden PAs is an online ‘marketplace’ where people who need some support to live independently can find a Personal Assistant (PA).

If you are seeking support, you can use CamdenPAs to quickly browse a list of local PAs who are looking for work. When you find someone you like the look of, you can make contact. Alternatively, you can create an advertisement (ad) of your own and wait for PAs to contact you. Employers and PAs communicate with each other safely through the website. No personal information is shared.

CamdenPAs is an introductory agency which helps PAs and Employers come together. We do not help with recruitment or provide ongoing support.

How can CamdenPAs help me?

Employing a Personal Assistant (PA) can help you to live independently and in a way that you choose. It puts you in control of your support. CamdenPAs makes it easier for you to find a PA.

The aim of CamdenPAs is to provide you with easy access to an extensive list of local PAs. You can quickly search and narrow it down by your preferences, e.g. “provides Personal Care”. Then you can make contact with the PA to ask questions or arrange an interview.

With CamdenPAs you can also create your own advertisement (ad). The process is quicker and more transparent than placing an advert elsewhere; you simply fill out an online form telling us about yourself and the service you want, then your ad is listed on the site where PAs will see it and get in touch. This is done safely and securely through the site. No personal information is exchanged.

How do I use CamdenPAs website to recruit a PA?

  1. Create an account. Go to “My account” (or use link at the top right of the site)
  2. Browse the list of PAs
  3. Found one you like? Send them a message (via the contact form). You might want to ask a question to find out more about them
  4. Ready to take things further? Send a message requesting an interview. Hopefully this will be the start of a great working relationship

What if I don’t find the right PA amongst those listed?

  1. Create your own ad. Go to “My account” (or use link at the top right of the site)
  2. Complete the form, giving describing yourself and the service you are looking for
  3. Wait for PAs to contact you. (This is done safely and securely through the site. No personal information is exchanged.)
  4. Ask them questions and, if happy, arrange an interview

If you receive Direct Payment from Camden council, PSIC (for under 65s, tel: 020 7383 4901) or AgeUK Camden (for 65s and over) can help and guide you through the process of employing a PA. Otherwise, Skills for Care are a good resource for information and guidance.

Will my personal details be available to the public?

No. Your personal details will only be available to CamdenPAs. All correspondence between PAs and employers is monitored by CamdenPAs.

Who do I contact if I experience abuse from a PA?

For information on how to report abuse please visit the Camden Council website. Also let us know immediately

Should my PA have an up-to-date DBS (formerly CRB)?

CamdenPAs recommends that you get any PA DBS checked or obtain a copy of any recent Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate before employing your chosen PAs.

CamdenPAs is a registered DBS umbrella body. This means that we can run a DBS check on your prospective PA. If you would like us to do this, then call us on 020 7278 4437.

If a PA has a criminal record, you must decide whether or not you are comfortable employing them. If you receive Direct Payment from Camden council, PSIC (for under 65s, tel: 020 7383 4901) or AgeUK Camden (for 65s and over) can help and guide you through the process of employing a PA. Otherwise, Skills for Care are a good resource for information and guidance.

How do I change or remove my ad from the site?

You have several easy options:

  1. Edit the information in your ad
  2. Temporarily take your ad down (i.e. take it ‘offline’) without deleting it – this way you can easily put it up again later
  3. Completely delete your ad

Each of these steps can be done from your account area.

How do I contact someone if I am interested in employing them?

If you find a PA you like, then simply send them a message using the contact form. This is found on the right hand side of their profile page. All correspondence between PAs and employers is monitored by CamdenPAs and none of you personal information is shared.

Can I get support with interviewing and managing my PA?

If you receive Direct Payment from Camden council, PSIC (for under 65s, tel: 020 7383 4901) or AgeUK Camden (for 65s and over) can help and guide you through the process of employing a PA. (More information on Direct Payments can be found on Camden Care Choices.)

If you fund your support yourself, then we recommend you visit Be Your Own Boss and Skills for Care for advice and guidance on being an Employer.

If you will be funding your own support, then Skills for Care are a good resource for information and guidance. We have collected together some of this in our resources section. Here you will find guidance on each aspect of employing your own PA, eg, sample contracts, payroll, interview advice etc.

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