The guide for people who are or areĀ thinking of becoming a Personal Assistant.

Becoming a personal assistant (PA) means taking on a unique role where you assist someone to live the life that they choose. PAs describe what they do as amongst the most fulfilling work of their lives, working for an individual to meet their goals.

PAs are employed by a wide variety of people including older people, disabled people, people with mental health problems, people with learning disabilities and parents or carers of children. All will have been assessed as needing assistance to enable them to achieve life outcomes.

There are no formal training requirements for entry and employed PAs have the same rights, responsibilities and benefits of any other employee. The relationship between employer and employee is valued highly and often a PA brings their own experience to the role which can be valued by the employer. It is such a varied role, distinct to every employer, key skills tend to be around communication and flexibility- it is rarely a job of routines.

You will need to share a belief that everyone is entitled to lead their own independent life and that their voice and opinions must be heard to that end.

Information for PAs

This short video explains what the Handbook is and how to find the information you need.


View the Personal Assistant Handbook by type of information
Key information you need to know

Access free information or support

Anyone needing support, whether already accessing social care or just taking first steps, can access free information or support.

Find Help will locate organisations relevant to your needs and help you make contact.

Important links to your local authority, payroll services and Independent Support Organisations can be found here and this guide can tell you about what these organisation’s roles are in supporting you.

You can simply talk through this guidance and learn so much more by finding your local Independent Support Organisation.

    Sign up for the Personal Assistant newsletter to receive regular updates about new information added to the PA Handbook, and other relevant news for PAs in Scotland.


    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.