Some people with disabilities choose to receive a direct payment from their local council to help them meet their needs and outcomes.
A direct payment is money paid directly to the disabled person from the council, which the disabled person manages to meet their outcomes. Many people with a direct payment choose to employ their own staff, often known as personal assistants, to support them.
The personal assistant will be employed directly by the disabled person or sometimes by a family member. This means that each job for a personal assistant is individually tailored to the needs of the disabled person. Roles available can be from a couple of hours a week, to full time jobs where you are one of a number of personal assistants providing support.
Most personal assistants support one person, but others manage their hours to support more than one person.
What does a personal assistant do?
Every person who has support is different. Some people need support at home, to help them get out and about or to engage in hobbies and social activities. Other people may need support to help them at work, college or university. People employing personal assistants have a wide range of impairments.
The role of a personal assistant can include some or all of the following:
- For example to help their employer to go shopping, meet friends, go out for a meal, engage in leisure activities and interests, or gain education
- Helping their employer to gain confidence personally and socially
Personal care – support with personal care for example:
- Helping their employer with washing and toileting, showering, dressing, eating and drinking, helping their employer to shave, brush their hair or put on make-up
- Mobility for example pushing their wheelchair, or driving
- Supporting their employer to make healthy living choices such as taking exercise and sorting out medication
Independent living support
- support to assist their employer in living independently assisting when necessary with meal preparation, paying bills, administration and paperwork.
Training courses for personal assistants
South Gloucestershire Council provides lots of free training. An employer can pay out of their direct payment for their personal assistant to attend relevant training.
Personal assistants who support South Gloucestershire service users can attend South Gloucestershire Council training sessions for free. There are over thirty courses available for personal assistants, ranging from safeguarding awareness to administration of medication, as well as specialist courses such as autism awareness. Further details can be seen at: https://edocs.southglos.gov.uk/personalassistants/pages/training/
Direct payment support providers support the employer to ensure they are employing legally and have all the help they need with recruitment and retention of staff. Direct payment support providers also receive funding to run courses for employers and personal assistants.