Direct payments: adults and older people

Employing a personal assistant with direct payments

If you or your suitable person is intending to use the direct payment to employ a personal assistant to meet your care and support needs, you will assume all responsibilities of an employer, which include the following:

  • recruitment process, including Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
  • issuing and retaining contracts of employment, timesheets, payroll records and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) correspondence for 6 years
  • compliance with all HMRC employer requirements including payment of all taxes such as Income Tax and National Insurance and pension contributions (where relevant)
  • putting in place adequate employer's liability and public liability insurance
  • meeting the cost of any redundancy

The direct payment amount will be calculated so that it enables you to cover some of the additional costs associated with acting as a responsible employer.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The Disclosure and Barring Service carries out checks which allows employers to access the criminal record history of people working, or seeking to work, in certain positions, especially those that involve working with children or adults in specific situations.

We will pay for this check to be done on anyone you wish to employ if you are receiving direct payments. This check should be repeated every 3 years.

Before appointing a personal assistant, it is important to decide what kind of person you want to care for you.

You can do this by preparing a list of:

  • tasks that the personal assistant will need to carry out
  • their skills and experience for them to complete the tasks effectively
  • you may need someone that can drive

Employment law and record keeping

As an employer, it is your responsibility to be aware of, and keep to, employment laws. This includes making sure you understand the rules to do with employing someone from overseas. Your personal assistant must be eligible to work in the UK.

All paid workers have certain rights by law. These include the right to:

  • protection against discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, marital status or membership of a trade union
  • be paid at least the minimum wage
  • equal pay (men and women should be paid at the same rate for the same job)
  • not to have any unlawful deductions from their pay

If you employ your own staff, you will need to keep records such as payroll. Payroll is the list of people who work for you and how much you have paid them. You cannot use money from your direct payment to pay yourself for this work.

Training for your personal assistant

Training will support your personal assistant to meet your assessed needs. As an employer, you are responsible for the training of your personal assistant. This is to ensure both their and your safety while they are caring for you.

If you do not do this and an accident occurs, your insurance may be invalid.

There are a number of training courses available through Central Bedfordshire Council, including:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service
  • health and safety courses e.g. Moving and Handling, First Aid and Infection Control
  • awareness courses e.g. Autism, Dementia, Safeguarding, and Mental Capacity Act

The training depends on your needs. You will need to discuss this with your care manager at the start of your direct payments, if there is a change in your care needs.

We will only be able to provide training that relates to your care and support needs, we cannot provide training just to add to your personal assistant's qualifications.

You will not be charged for the training delivered by us.

For training information, please contact the Learning and Development Manager on 0300 300 8303.

Protecting yourself

When you use a direct payment to employ someone to support you, it is important that they look after you well and you look after them as an employer.

Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates a person’s human and civil rights. Abuse can be either deliberate or as a result of lack of training, knowledge or understanding.

To learn more about protecting vulnerable adults, visit our dedicated Safeguarding (link opens in new window) page.