Personal Assistants

Find out about becoming or recruiting a Personal Assistant (PA).

You can also download and read our PA guides.

Becoming a Personal Assistant in Havering

If you are already, or want to become, a Personal Assistant in Havering, we run an accreditation process and can register you so you receive:

  • information about training opportunities
  • access to support from the Council
  • invitations to events to meet other personal assistants
  • accreditation on the borough’s accreditation list

Want to know more and join? Please email your name and contact details to

Recruiting a Personal Assistant

Havering Council has an accredited list of Personal Assistant to choose from.

However, if you prefer to recruit your own PA, the PA Co-ordinator can provide advice and guidance with recruitment, including the drafting and placement of advertisements and arranging interviews.

If you decide to employ a personal assistant from Havering’s accredited list, references will have already been received.

If you recruit a PA yourself, it is your responsibility to obtain references from two people who know the applicant well.

You will also need to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check on any prospective employee.

You can contact the PA Co-ordinator for support in doing this.

Although you do not need to have an Equal Opportunities Policy in place, you must not (by law) discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, disability, age, religious belief or sexual orientation. 

Employing a Personal Assistant

You cannot employ any close relative or partner who lives with you without exceptional circumstances and prior permission from Havering Council.

You can apply for exceptional circumstance waiver with your social worker if you have one.

This is only agreed when there is no other way of providing the required care.

You should ensure that any individual you employ are legally entitled to work in the United Kingdom, and have gathered copies of relevant documents to prove this.

Before offering employment, you need to take out employer’s liability insurance. Havering Council will meet the cost of an appropriate policy and are able to assist with this at the start of the direct payment.

Cost of your yearly renewals are included in your direct payment.

It is best practice to create a job description and any offer of employment should be made in writing and subject to satisfactory references.

It is recommended to include a probationary period and the new recruit should receive an employment contract within 8 weeks of starting the position.

Remember, you cannot ask someone to work more than 48 hours per week which is the national time regulations limit.

Employee rights

All employees are entitled to 28 days paid holiday a year.

The cost of holiday pay and cover is included within your direct payment. All employees are entitled to statutory sick pay and maternity pay.

You can contact your Payroll Provider for further advice in calculating how much holiday and sick pay your employee is entitled to.

Disabled employees have special rights, if you have a reason to believe that one of your employee is or has become disabled, you should seek advice.

Pregnant employees also have special legal rights. You cannot refuse someone a job or dismiss them because they are pregnant. If one of your employees becomes is or pregnant, you should contact your payroll provider or HMRC.

Your employer liability insurance provider will be able to provide legal and employment advice.

Responsibilities as an employer

You are liable to Her Majesty Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for deductions of any income tax and employee national insurance and for any employer’s national insurance contributions due.

These deductions need to be held back from gross pay and paid to HMRC as required.

The cost of tax and National Insurance contributions are included in your Direct Payments and your payroll provider can help you do the sums.

All employees have legal rights relating to grievance and disciplinary procedures.

If you fail to follow the correct procedure you could be taken to an employment tribunal and have to pay compensation.

If you are faced with a potential grievance, disciplinary or redundancy situation you should contact your employer liability insurance provider for legal/employment advice before taking any action.

Although you are not strictly bound by the Health and Safety at Work Act, when employing someone in your own home, you remain bound by a general duty of care.

Paying your Personal Assistant

You must pay at least the national minimum wage per hour, before tax.

The pay rates that Havering recommends are much higher than this and will be covered by your direct payments for the number of hours specified.

Contingency cover is also included within the direct payment to cover expenses should your PA be off work
It is recommended that you ask your PA to complete a daily time sheet to record hours worked and get them to sign in. You should keep a copy of these so that you can avoid any potential disputes.

You should not pay any worker in cash and it is against Havering Council’s Policy for you to do so.

You can use a payroll service to pay your PA and the Council has a list for you to choose from.

The cost of a payroll provider can be met within the scope of your direct payment allowance.

The payroll service will calculate any necessary deductions and print a pay slip for you to give to your employees as this is a legal requirement.

This must provide details of hours worked and pay rates, as well as tax details such as P45 or a P46 when they begin working with you.

If you wish, you can operate your own payroll however, you will need to contact HMRC to register as an employer.

You can do this by contacting them via 0300 200 3211 or registering via the GOV.UK website.

Buying services from an agency or a provider

You can buy the support you need from any provider who is able to meet your needs.

All care agencies and providers of residential respite care must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and should be able to produce a Certificate of Registration. 

The provider you use will produce an invoice in return for which you pay for services from the prepaid card portal or through a payroll provider if you have or use one.

You can also call prepaid financial services to request a transfer from your prepaid account.

You need to keep a copy of all invoices you receive for your records as the Council can ask for this at any time. Please email

Praise for Havering personal assistants

Daughter Donna Pearson praises the care and support her 90-year-old mum Iris receives from personal assistants from Havering Council.

They're polite, helpful and experienced, she says. Their presence gives peace of mind.

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