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Support for Personal Assistants

The working environment of a Personal Assistant is unique, and means you are often working alone with your employer. You might not have any colleagues to talk to, share things with, or get support from.

If you are feeling isolated or need some guidance, there are a number of ways you can get support: 

If you are feeling isolated or need some guidance, there are a number of ways you can get support:

Personal Assistant networks, support groups or forums are a great way of accessing and providing emotional, practical or social help and sharing knowledge and experience with others. These can take place online, or in face to face groups.

The other Personal Assistants involved will understand and appreciate the benefits and challenges of your role. If you can’t find a group in your area, you could consider starting one yourself. 

Skills for Care is an organisation with lots of helpful guidance on being a Personal Assistant

Skills for Care

Unions, such as Unison, offer help resolving issues and confidential, support and guidance. There is usually a fee to join, but you’ll receive a number of benefits in return, for example access to the Personal Assistant Support Network which Unison offers. 

As well as increasing your skills and understanding, training courses can be an excellent way of meeting people in a similar role. The trainer also provides an opportunity to seek advice and tap into their knowledge and experience. Your employer may be able to provide advice on training course, or you can find resources online. 

Kent Adult Education offer free courses for Personal Assistants.

SCILs - KCC funds the SCILS learning platform to enable free access for all care providers. Go to our Scils section of the training & funding home page to register and access safeguarding courses and much more for free

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 employer

Speaking with your employer is very important and can prevent small problems from getting worse and becoming bigger issues. If you or your employer have anything you want to raise, talking to each other gives you both the opportunity to discuss anything that might be concerning or worrying you.

Schedule regular reviews with your employer

Scheduling regular formal reviews or supervisions with your employer to talk about the job is a good idea. These can help you to assess your performance and whether you are doing the job that your employer wants. Your employer can provide you with some constructive feedback or praise you for their good work, and you can feed back any issues you are facing. This can help strengthen your working relationship.

Identify training and development needs

If there is an area that you feel you could improve in, you could look at what training is available. There may be better ways to things which training could assist with. Training can also keep you engaged and allow your employer to invest in you. 


If your employer is unhappy with your performance

If your employer voices that they are unhappy, it is important to listen to them and see if there are any changes you can make to help improve the situation.

If problems continue and the situation does not improve, or if something serious happens, your employer should follow the correct legal procedure. When you accepted your position, your employer should have put a disciplinary policy in place that outlines what happens in this type of situation.

Disciplinary policy

At the point you accept your position and are given your contract, you should also receive a copy of the disciplinary policy from your employer 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:

  • ACAS – who provide free information, advice and conciliation for employers and employees.


If you are unhappy

If there is something on your mind that is affecting your work, it is best to discuss immediately with your employer. There may be something they can do to help improve things.

Grievance policy

A grievance policy outlines how you can raise any issues, concerns or complaints with your employer. A copy of this policy should be given to you with your employment contract.


If you are worried about how the person you support is being treated

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 PA to help you with
  • A disrespectful PA 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

Tell someone

If the person you support is being abused you should tell someone immediately. This could be:

  • A trusted family member or friend of the person
  • The police
  • Kent County Councils Safeguarding Adult Team
  • Their social care practitioner, social worker. If they don’t have an allocated worker or are not sure who it is, you can contact Kent County Council on 03000 41 61 61.
  • Their doctor


Useful links

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.

Skills for Care has lots of useful information for PAs.

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