The government has revealed plans to make it easier for people with learning disabilities to employ personal assistants (PAs) ‘A Framework for Personal Assistants’ offers universal support for people with care needs as well as the PAs they employ.
It maintains the flexibility of the role and aims to increase the number of PAs available. Research shows that those receiving payments can be nervous about becoming an employer and the lack of a clear, universal job description can be a barrier to those considering joining the profession. The new framework will:
Provide employers with a toolkit to make the practical side of employment easier to understand, including job descriptions and interviewing
Develop an induction framework so all PAs have the same basic introduction to the role based on the Common Induction Standards developed by Skills for Care
Create a clear, national toolkit including templates for contracts and other legal aspects of employment. This will be regularly reviewed and updated
Use local authorities to assist in background and reference checking where requested
Work with Job Centre Plus to make all staff aware of PAs as a career option for job seekers.
While this already happens in some areas, it is not the norm – and this seeks to redress that. The framework will also look to help share best practice so everyone has access to the same information and support. By 2013, everyone eligible should be offered a personal budget to spend on the best care package for them. It is estimated that by 2025 this could create nearly 1.2 million PA jobs – there are currently less than 200,000 people working as PA in England.