experienced direct payment user
07th August 2015
Simon Stevens has been on Direct Payments for 15 years and has been employing a carer for 22 years so has a lot of experience. This article answers a series of questions regarding being an employer and Simon offers some valuable advice for others.
Q: How Long have you been employing for?
I have been a direct payment user since 2000, and I began employing my own personal assistants in 1993, providing me with over 2 decades of experience in employing my own personal assistants using a direct payment, as well as monies from the Independent Living Fund, and Access to Work.
Q: Wow that’s a long time, just the same person or many different ones?
I lost count of how many personal assistants I have employed since I have started employing them, although I have been fortunate to have had the same personal assistant now for the last 9 years, who has been supported by live-in volunteers, from Volunteering Matters, who work for me a year at a time.
Q: So employing a personal assistant has been a great benefit to you??
My support package has remained stable for the last few years because I hope I am a good boss, and after making many mistakes in the past, I know how to effectively manage my staff. When I started, there was little outside help available and so I had the learn the hard way. And this is why I am now writing a guide on employing personal assistants in association with Ethos Disability, so others can learn from the mistakes I have made, or this is the aim, understanding people will still need to make their own mistakes to learn from.
Q: You clearly have learnt a lot, is there any important advice you can give?
The most important message I can offer is that, as well as ensuring you have personal assistance insurance, is to understand that the relationship between personal assistants and those their supporting is as much like a marriage, as it is an employer/employee relationship.
You are likely to spend more time with your personal assistants than anyone else, and it is often the same for them, and so it is important you get on with them like it is a marriage. Unlike a marriage, you are the boss and they need to support you in the manner you direct them to. While a care worker may look after you, you need to look after your personal assistant in terms of ensuring they have everything they need to support you, including the motivation to come to work every day.
Being a good boss certainly does not involve being bossy, as this attitude is not going to make you popular. Instead, it is important to be firm but fair, and to see your personal assistant as a partner to helping you reach your goals. Employing a PA maybe harder than it looks, but it is certainly worth learning the skills to have a better quality of support in the long term.
If you are unsure about anything Premiercare provides 24/7 employment advice along with each policy. This is alongside numerous employment workshops up and down the country.