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Glossary of terms


Individuals who are assessed as requiring care and support can receive direct payments from local authorities to arrange their own care. This can include employing their own workers to support them. They are known as individual or direct payment employers. Being an employer allows greater choice and control over the care and support they require for daily living. An employer may also be a parent of a disabled child or a carer for a family member who manages the direct payments and Personal Assistants for the person requiring support.

Personal Assistant

The person employed by the individual employer is called a Personal Assistant (PA). As paid staff the Personal Assistant supports his/her employer with a wide range of tasks, helping to increase their independence and make a real difference to their quality of life.


Induction is a planned introduction to a new role, work environment and the ways you prefer to work with your Personal Assistant. It is an important step to update or gain knowledge and skills, to help the Personal Assistant understand your requirements and help you familiarise yourself with his/her abilities.

Job description

A job description provides a brief summary of the job purpose, lists duties and key responsibilities, details of working hours, salary and who the Personal Assistant reports to.

Person specification

A person specification is a list of the skills, knowledge, experience and personal qualities you would like your Personal Assistant to have.

Supervision is a regular one to one meeting between you and your Personal Assistant in order to:

  • Discuss the work – what’s gone well or not so well
  • ensure the Personal Assistant know what is expected
  • give positive feedback and encouragement
  • provide further guidance or support
  • challenge and manage poor practice
  • assist in with ongoing learning and development

Review is a process which looks at your Personal Assistants performance and improvement over a period of time, usually annually. It includes evaluation of the job role, identifying positive performance, identifying areas for improvement and planning how learning and development needs will be met in the coming year.