Dealing with problems
Everyone hopes that things do not go wrong and although you can try and prevent problems from occurring, sometimes they do and its sensible to have a plan of how to deal with any that may crop up.
Ways to prevent problems
Although problems can arise for a number of different reasons, there are some things you can do to try and prevent them from happening.
Communicate with your Personal Assistant
Speaking with your Personal Assistant is very important and can prevent small problems from getting worse and becoming bigger issues. If you or your Personal Assistant have anything you want to raise, talking to each other gives you both the opportunity to discuss anything that might be on your chest.
Schedule regular reviews with your Personal Assistant
Scheduling regular formal reviews or supervisions with your Personal Assistant to talk about the job is a good idea. These can help you to assess your Personal Assistant's performance and whether they are doing the job that you want. You can provide your Personal Assistant with some constructive feedback or praise them for their good work, which can help strengthen your working relationship and make your Personal Assistant feel appreciated.
Identify training and development needs
If there is an area that you feel your Personal Assistant could improve in, you could look at what training is available. Even if you are happy with the work your Personal Assistant is doing, there may be better ways to things which training could assist with. Training can also keep your Personal Assistant engaged and make them feel you are investing in them.
If you are unhappy with your Personal Assistant
Talking with your Personal Assistant can often resolve smaller issues like lateness or occasional attitude issues. If you are unhappy with your Personal Assistant's behaviour, it is worth speaking with them to see if there is a reason for it or if there is anything you can do to help things improve.
When problems continue and the situation does not improve, or if your Personal Assistant does something more serious, you should follow the correct legal procedure. When you employed your Personal Assistant, you should have put a disciplinary policy in place that outlines what happens in this type of situation.
Even if you no longer want to work with this Personal Assistant, it is very important that you follow the policy to ensure that you do not do anything illegal.
At the point you recruit your Personal Assistant and give them their contract, you should also give them a copy of the disciplinary policy so that you both understand what will happen if there are any problems. This should be a separate document to the employment contract.
Advice and support
Dealing with issues can be a stressful experience, so if you need any advice you could speak to:
- Another Personal Assistant employer who can help you identify what is unacceptable in the workplace
- Kent County Councils Direct Payment Support Worker 03000 413600
- Local user led organisation
- The employment advice hotline provided by your insurance provider
- ACAS – who provide free information, advice and conciliation for employers and employees.
If your Personal Assistant is unhappy
If your Personal Assistant voices that they are unhappy, it is important to listen to them and see if there are any changes that can be made to help improve the situation.
A grievance policy outlines how your Personal Assistant can raise any issues, concerns or complaints with you. A copy of this policy should be given to your Personal Assistant with their employment contract.
If you are not being treated well by your PA
What is abuse?
Abuse is cruel or violent treatment of a person, where their human and civil rights are violated. This could:
- happen once, or many times
- be physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, institutional or discriminatory
- be neglect or a failure to do something.
Some examples of abuse might include:
- Lack of personal care, if this is something you rely on your Personal Assistant to help you with
- A disrespectful Personal Assistant who may bully or undermine you
- Causing injuries, such as physically hurting you or giving you incorrect doses of medication
- Pressuring you to change your will
If you are being abused you should tell someone immediately. This could be:
- A trusted family member
- A trusted friend
- The police
- Your doctor
- Your social care practitioner or Kent County Councils Safeguarding Adults Team. If you don’t have an allocated worker or are not sure who it is, you can contact Kent County Council on 03000 41 61 61.
ACAS provides free information and advice to employers and employees, to help avoid and resolve any problems or issues. You can also call their helpline on 0300 123 1100 (text relay 18001 0300 123 1100).
GOV.UK has lots of information about formal procedures, appeals and mediation.
Stop Hate UK provides confidential and independent hate crime reporting services in various areas of the UK, including a 24 hour helpline.
Crimestoppers, if you do not want to talk to the police, you can still report a hate crime by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or via their website.
Skills for Care have lots of useful information about employing Personal Assistants.