Resources

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.

Job Description

A Job Description is not a legal requirement but it is really useful, as it will tell you what tasks you are being employed to carry out and will protect you and your employer should there be any dispute about your job

Ideally this would have been provided to you before you were interviewed for the job so that any specific skills that are required were checked against your experience

If this wasn’t done before then it is important that you ask your employer to work with you to detail your job. It is helpful for both of you that you are clear on what you are expected to do so that there is no confusion over the role. You should then list the tasks that are required

The Job Description should contain tasks to be carried out and skills and personal qualities that are important for the job. It doesn’t have to be a long list and you can agree to review it over a period of time but it is important that you understand what your role is

Please find a sample Job Description & Person Specifications to give you an idea what it will look like

Contract of Employment

As soon as you start work you have a ‘Contract’ with your employer. However they must also provide you with (by law) a Written Statement of Particulars within two months of your start date. This is often called a Contract of Employment. If you haven’t received one of these within two months you should ask your Employer to provide you with one. If you are unable to get one then it is worth discussing this with your employer’s Direct Payment Advisor who should be able to provide some assistance to your employer to compile one.

Please find a sample Contract of Employment to give you an idea what it will look like

Employment process

An important part of starting a new job is to make sure that you are given information at the beginning that will help you to do your job.

You should already have received a Job Description and that is a good start to ensure that everything goes smoothly. When you are being invited to work in someone’s home it is even more important that you understand the ways in which they want you to work and that you can fit into their routines and requirements quickly

For this reason we recommend that an employer carries out an Induction. This is basically a programme of information, training and work, planned by the employer, which tells you the main things you’ll need to know. An induction programme helps you both to start to build an effective working relationship

We suggest that the employer follows this 8 Point Plan. Whilst it is the employer who should instigate this meeting we thought it would be useful for you to see the sort of information that you should discuss early on or before you start your new job

1. Arrange a meeting

It’s important that your employer arranges a meeting with you before you formally start to work for them. This is particularly important to make sure you get any required training before you start your duties. It is your employer’s responsibility to make sure you don’t hurt yourself when lifting or using lifting equipment so if you are not already skilled you should get training before you start

2. Checklist

We suggest that the employer makes a list to discuss at the meeting, this could include:

• What they like to be called

• What medication they have to take and when

• Any religious or cultural rules that they follow

• Where their equipment/ materials are

• Any parts of their home that is private to them

It is important that you also make a list of any questions that you might have which you think you might need to know when you first start work

3. Be open

Being a Personal Assistants is about enabling individuals to live their lives in their own way. This includes how and when they are supported. Being flexible and open are valuable qualities for a PA to develop. They allow you to adapt to each unique person, meeting their needs in a way which best suits them.

4. Contract and Job Description

You should both talk through the Contract and Job Description and make sure there is no confusion as to the agreed contents. Talk through the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and make sure you understand how these will work if needed

5. House Rules

Your employer should let you know about any house rules

6. Training, Coaching & Delegation

Camden Council are offering a free training package for PAs registered with CamdenPAs. This is designed to give PAs the competencies and skills that employers require. Learn more about this offer here.

7. Risk Assessments

Your employer needs to consider any risks that might be in the home and ensure you are aware of them and any ways of reducing those risks. This should be discussed in your induction meeting

 8. Appraisals

An appraisal is a meeting that will take place between you and your employer at set intervals. This will usually happen after the first month of your job, then before the end of your probation and finally annually. It should be a useful process that allows you both to review how you are getting on, openly discuss issues and talk through any training

Additional Resources

Further information and guidance can be found at the Skills For Care website.

Receive Direct Payment from Camden council? AgeUK Camden (for over 65s) can support and guide you through the process of employing a PA.

Benefits of employing a personal assistant

Benefits of employing a personal assistantSkills for Care have produced a useful booklet called ‘Benefits of employing a personal assistant’. We’d recommend reading it through.View online | DownloadBenefits of employing a personal assistant

Recruiting a personal assistant

Benefits of employing a personal assistantSkills for Care have produced a useful booklet called ‘Recruiting a personal assistant’. We’d recommend reading it through.View online | DownloadBenefits of employing a personal assistant

Before your personal assistant starts

Benefits of employing a personal assistantSkills for Care have produced a useful booklet called ‘Before your personal assistant starts’. We’d recommend reading it through.View online | DownloadBenefits of employing a personal assistant

Managing your personal assistant

Benefits of employing a personal assistantSkills for Care have produced a useful booklet called ‘Managing your personal assistant’. We’d recommend reading it through.View online | DownloadBenefits of employing a personal assistant

Training and qualifications

Benefits of employing a personal assistantSkills for Care have produced a useful booklet called ‘Training and qualifications’. We’d recommend reading it through.
View online | DownloadBenefits of employing a personal assistant
Also, Camden Council are offering a free training package for PAs registered with CamdenPAs. This is designed to give PAs the competencies and skills that employers require. Learn more about this offer here.

Sorting out problems

Benefits of employing a personal assistantSkills for Care have produced a useful booklet called ‘Sorting out problems’. We’d recommend reading it through.View online | DownloadBenefits of employing a personal assistant

Insurance

Employer’s Liability Insurance and/or Public Liability Insurance is essential. If you receive direct payments, you should check that the local authority has included Employer’s Liability Insurance in the amount it gives you.It’s a good idea to have comprehensive house insurance to cover your property and its contents. You may want to include cover for accidental damage. You should tell your insurer that you are employing people to work in your house. As an employer you have a legal duty to insure against accidents or injury to your staff, or accidents or injury caused by them while they are working for you.You may also need to think about travel or car insurance, for example if your personal assistant is going to be using your car.Your direct payment adviser can give you options for taking out insurance. Some insurers specialise in insurance for personal assistant employers.

Information taken from Skills for Care.

Here is a selection of insurance companies that offer cover (please note that these are listed for your information, we are not making a recommendation):

Sample letters, contracts and interview checklist

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