The PA Employer Pathway

There are seven steps to becoming a Personal Assistant (PA) employer.

Step 1: Contact a local Independent Support Organisation

Before applying for support you can speak to someone from a local organisation who understands how to access social care in the area. There are Independent Self-directed Support (SDS) Information and Support organisations in all areas of Scotland. Most will be able to talk about what it means to become a PA Employer and how this happens locally. You can use the Find Help service on this site to find them.

Step 2: Ask for a Social Work assessment

To access Self Directed Support, a Social Work Assessment is required to assess eligibility for funding from the Local Authority (Council). Following an assessment, if eligible for support, the Council and the supported person will discuss the four options of Self Directed Support to find the best option for the supported person. Option 1 (a Direct Payment) would possibly involve becoming a PA Employer. The Local Authority will explain the SDS budget prior to support planning.

Step 3: Create a support plan

Think about how you want to live your life and what support you need to do this. This can include support to help you maintain your independence at home, as well as being able to access opportunities in your local community. This is where you decide on the Personal Outcomes you want to achieve and put these ideas into a Support Plan. You can get help from a local Independent Support Organisation to do this. Once you have completed your Support Plan you need to agree this with your Social Worker.

Step 4: Request an Option 1 SDS budget

Talk through your support plan with your Social Worker. If you would like to employ your own staff (Personal Assistants) to help meet your needs, talk through what this involves in detail. If this looks of interest to you, ask for an Option 1 SDS budget to be worked out by your Local Authority.

Step 5: Planning to be an employer

Before employing a PA, decide what you want your PA(s) to help you with and when. Some local Independent Support Organisations provide training and information sessions to help you as a new Employer (which may be available online).

Step 6: Recruitment

Get help to put together the information you need to advertise for your PA(s), such as a Job Description and list of qualities and experience that you are looking for in a PA. Start to recruit your PA(s) – you can find out more about how to do this here: The Recruitment Process

Step 7: Review

Once you have recruited your PA(s), review how things are working. Check to see that your Support Plan continues to meet your Personal Outcomes in the future. Know where to go if you need further information, advice or support with managing your PA(s) or meeting your needs. If anything changes and you need more support in the future, you can ask your Social Worker or the Council to review your support with you.

Next steps

Take a look at the resources available below to guide you in more detail.

Part of
Last Updated
19 February 2024
First Published
28 March 2022
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Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.