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Paid carers and Personal Assistants

This web page tells you about ways to arrange, pay for and manage your own carer or personal assistant to provide care support in your own home.

Paid Carers and Personal Assistants (PAs)
Arranging a carer to help you in your own home gives you the flexibility to arrange care when you need it and how you want it. Carers and personal assistants can help with personal care, preparing meals, cleaning, laundry, shopping, helping you go out and take part in social activities. Some carers can provide support overnight.

There are a number of ways to find a personal assistant or carer whether you are self-funding or have a personal budget from social services.

Choosing the right support
If you are not sure what help you need, you can use this directory to help you decide. There are voluntary agencies that offer advice for example Age UK, Independent Age, Alzheimer’s Society or Centre 404.

You may be entitled to an assessment from Social Services. They will ask you questions about your situation and discuss with you the best way to meet your needs.

Arranging a carer or personal assistant privately
Many people employ someone to help them as a private arrangement. They may know someone who they want to employ or someone who helps them already (e.g. someone who is providing help with cleaning may also be able to help with shopping or laundry for example).

Using an Agency
You can contact a private care agency to arrange the support you need. This can be more expensive but the agency will provide trained carers who have been checked, are qualified and safe to work with people in their own homes. If your carer is on holiday or is ill, the agency will arrange for someone else to come in their place. All care agencies are regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) so you can check the quality of their work by going to the CQC website. You can find details of local care agencies in the directory under the 'Care Agencies' category.

Employing a carer or personal assistant (PA) yourself
Some people prefer to advertise for a carer or personal assistant themselves. You can then interview the person yourself, get references and choose someone you think will suit you best. You should check that the carer has the qualifications and training they need to provide the support you want.

If you decide to employ a carer or PA yourself, here are some safety tips to remember:

Try not to interview people in your own home or on your own
Don’t give out your home telephone number and address in your job advert
Always get references and speak to the referees to check they are genuine
Consider getting a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check before someone starts to work for you.

You can get further information, advice and support via the Direct Payment Team with the following:

Writing job descriptions and adverts
Holding interviews and taking up references
Writing an employment contract
Employment issues like tax, payroll, insurance, holiday cover, sick pay
Discussing hours and rates of pay
Ensuring that your employee is legal to work in the UK. You will be subject to a fine if you employ an illegal worker. For more information and a useful guide on what documents you need to check to see if someone is legal to work see GOV.UK

If you are getting a direct payment from Social Services (money to arrange your own care, see below) you can get advice from your social worker and the Direct Payments team.

Direct payments
If you are eligible for support from social services you can take your personal budget (the money to pay for the support your need) as a direct payment. This means that the money will be paid to you to arrange your own support. You may have to pay towards some of the cost for your care. You can find more details about direct payments on the website.

Care Support arranged by Social Services
If you are not able to arrange your own care support and you do not have someone you trust to help you, Social Services can carry out an assessment of your needs and arrange the support you need. You may have to pay towards the cost of this care. For more details please contact the Access Service on 0207 527 2299 or at  You can get also find more information about assessments on our webpages.