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Local Offer: A Quick Guide to Personal Assistants - WNC

Local Offer: A Quick Guide to Personal Assistants - WNC logo


What are Personal Assistants?

A Personal Assistant supports their employer with a wide range of tasks, helping to increase their independence and make a real difference to their quality-of-life. The ability to employ their own staff and organise their own services allows people greater control over their own lives.A Personal Assistant is usually employed by people who are directing their own care with a Direct Payment, a Personal Budget, a Personal Health Budget, or their own private funds. People who chose to hire a Personal Assistant are often referred to as Individual Employers.

Individual Employers have employer’s liability insurance and (where necessary) are registered with HMRC. Individual Employers should also offer their Personal Assistant any training that might be necessary to perform the duties required. 

Personal Assistants can be employed directly by one employer, can work for several different people, or can be self-employed.

What Does the Role of a Personal Assistant Involve?

The job can be very flexible, offering part-time and full-time work on different days and at different times. Some people become a Personal Assistant part-time while also working in an entirely different job. 

Duties can include:

  • Personal care (assistance with feeding, bathing, or toileting)
  • Taking food, refreshment, and medication
  • Aiding mobility
  • Bed-making
  • Monitoring and recording temperature, pulse, respiration, etc
  • Healthcare tasks (dressings, catheter management, or giving medications)
  • Support to live independently as far as possible (such as cooking, cleaning, domestic activities, shopping, or social and leisure activities)
  • Supporting the person while at work
  • Helping to look after children and pets
  • Supporting the person in their chosen activities such as shopping, meeting friends, going on holiday, or accessing education

How are Personal Assistants Funded?

Personal Assistants can be funded by a Personal Budget, a Personal Health Budget, Direct Payments, or with an individual’s private funds.

Personal Budgets and EHC Plans (Education Services)

A Personal Budget is an amount of money (identified by your local authority) that pays for the provision specified in a child/young person’s Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan. They are optional, and will require the agreement of the local authority and education provider.

The EHC Plan will offer a Personal Budget for aspects of the provision outlined within it (if the parents or young person request it and are deemed eligible). Any requests for a Personal Budget must be discussed with the SEN Officer when an EHC Plan is being drafted or reviewed.

Personal Budgets and Support Plans (Adult Social Care)

If an adult is deemed eligible for care and support by Adult Social Services,the local authority will tell them how much money they could get to pay for the support they need. For more information, visit Direct Payments and Personal Budgets.

Personal Health Budgets and Health Care  

A Personal Health Budget is an amount of money to support health and wellbeing needs. It is planned and agreed between a person (or someone who represents them), and their local NHS team. The Penderels Trust works in partnership with Integrated Care Northamptonshire to support individuals to get the most out of their Personal Health Budgets. This might include being a good employer, support planning, help with money management (a ‘managed account’), and payroll services. 

Direct Payments 

Direct Payments are the way in which a person receives all (or part) of their Personal Budget. Some people might decide to leave the organisation of their care needs with the council, and not take the Direct Payment. The decision lies entirely with the individual. When a young person turns 18, Direct Payments will normally be made to them instead of the parent or carer. Parents can only continue receiving Direct Payments if the young person lacks the mental capacity to consent to the Direct Payments. A young person will be deemed able to consent even if they need help to manage the Direct Payments. However, they must have the mental capacity to make choices about how their care needs are met. 

If a young person lacks the mental capacity to consent to Direct Payments, a parent can ask the Council to appoint them the ‘suitable person’. This will allow the parent to manage the Direct Payments on the young person’s behalf. In the first instance, the Council will approach an attorney or deputy (appointed under the Mental Capacity Act) to take on the role of ‘suitable person’. However, if there is no attorney or deputy (or if they’re unwilling to take on the role), the Council can appoint someone else. In most cases, this will be a family member who is already involved in caring for the young person. For advice and support with Personal Budgets, contact the West Northamptonshire SENDIASS.

Personal Assistants

The local authority advertises Personal Assistant vacancies on behalf of adults, children, and young people who require assistance with care at home or while they're out and about. To advertise for a Personal Assistant, you will need to have a Personal Budget. Contact the PBSS or discuss it with your social worker. 

Individuals can also make private arrangements. Some families have used teaching assistants from schools or voluntary workers such as scout leaders. 

Commercial care agencies also offer Personal Assistant services. Please note: If a Personal Assistant is hired through an agency, the agency will be considered their employer (not the individual).

Things That You, as an Individual Employer, Should Consider:

Job Description - Individual Employers should write out a list of exactly what help they’ll need. A job description needs to include everything the job may entail to ensure the employee is suitable.

Pay - Individual Employers must pay the National Minimum Wage 

PAYE and Payroll for Employers - Individual Employers need to understand Income Tax and National Insurance (if applicable)

Sick Pay

Holiday Pay

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - Individual Employers are entitled to find out if someone has a criminal record before they start work. This is known as getting a DBS check.

If the potential Personal Assistant has an existing DBS check: Personal Assistants can choose to show their existing DBS check to Individual Employers if they have one.

If the potential Personal Assistant doesn’t have an existing DBS check: Individual Employers cannot order a DBS check (for a potential employee) themselves. They also cannot make a suitability decision based on the results of a check. Individual Employers need to ask either the Council, the NHS, or another support organisation to order a DBS check (and make a suitability decision) before employing a person. Organisations cannot share the details of a DBS check with an Individual Employer. However, they can share details of their suitability decision.

Contract of Employment - An employment contract is an agreement that sets out an employee’s employment conditions, rights, responsibilities, and duties. Individual Employers and Personal Assistants must stick to a contract until it ends or until the terms are changed.

Employers’ Liability Insurance - This protects the Individual Employer against liability for a Personal Assistant’s injury, or an injury caused by the Personal Assistants while at work.

Pension Contributions - Individual employers may need to enroll their Personal Assistant into a workplace pension scheme.

Further Information:

  • Brackley Area
  • Corby Area
  • Daventry Area
  • East Northants Area
  • Kettering Area
  • Northampton Area
  • Towcester Area
  • Wellingborough Area
  • North Northamptonshire
  • West Northamptonshire
  • Northamptonshire
Additional languages
Translation and/or Interpreting Available on Request
Age range
Suitable for ages from 18 years to 99 years
Referral route
Professional Referral
For people with
Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)
Eligibility criteria
  • Age Range - Adulthood
  • Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)
Provider category
Specialist Services - For those who require longer-term support


c/o The Local Offer, West Northamptonshire Council, One Angel Square, Angel Street
United Kingdom


Publication on the Local Offer does not endorse a provider, so please take reasonable steps to ensure that any service found on the Local Offer is suitable for your family member. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

Last updated 07 June 2024