Independent Living in Scotland

The law around social care support in Scotland is underpinned by the idea of Independent Living, and Personal Assistance supports Independent Living. Read more about Independent Living here.

Description of the Personal Assistant (PA)

A personal assistant (PA) works directly with one or more disabled people, to support them with various aspects of their daily life so that they can live it in a way they choose. Find out more about the role of a Personal Assistant here.

History of the PA Role

The Personal Assistant (PA) role was developed by disabled people as they campaigned for equality. Find out more about the journey taken by disabled people with a specific focus on the development of the PA role here.

Uniqueness of the PA Role

How the PA role differs from other social care workers, with it's focus on 1-1 working and delivering personalised support as directed by their employer

Values and Skills of a PA

A PA must balance the approaches they have to ensure they both respect the disabled person as their employer whilst offering a high standard of support. Find out more about the values and skills required to become a PA here.

Thinking about Becoming a PA

Being a PA can be rewarding and varied, although each opportunity will be as unique as your employer. If you are the kind of person who gets on with people, you may like to consider a role as a PA. Find out more here.

The Role and Responsibilities of a PA (for PAs)

There are many potential responsibilities for a PA which must be specified prior to starting a new job. Find out more here about what to expect and about the rights you will have as an employee.

Where to Look for PA Jobs

Find out about the best places to look for PA vacancies.

The Social Model of Disability

This article explains the Social Model of Disability, and how disability is defined by the barriers created in society that exclude and discriminate against people, thus 'disabling' them.


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.