It is important to know how to employ personal assistants

Employing personal assistants to meet social care needs can feel like a complex process and so I am delighted to be able to launch my latest publication, Understand Assistance.

Understand Assistance is an e-book guide for People who use Personal Assistants. It is a comprehensive guide exploring every aspect of the employment and management of personal assistants, as well as the qualities and skills a personal assistant may need. The guide covers the preparation needed to successfully employ personal assistants, the recruitment process, employment law, disciplinary and grievances processes, managing finances, interpersonal skills, active safeguarding, guidance on specific issues, and much more. The aim of the guide is to be a straight-talking guide that is also sensitive to the diverse range of needs of employers and personal assistants.

The guide has been written solely by myself and without any external funding. I had tried to seek funding but no one was interested in supporting me in what remains an important piece of work. It is based on my 25 years experience of employing personal assistants and supporting others to employ personal assistants. Information about the guide and purchasing details can be found at

It is quite a read at almost 28000 words, but it needs a be comprehensive to make it more useful than anything else previously published. As well as the bigger stuff, the guide covers the smaller stuff like how to support your personal assistant to change a lightbulb, which involves more than people may realise at first glance.

I wrote the guide to support other people who employ personal assistants to keep control of their staff and their lives, and just maybe learn from the many mistakes I have made myself over now many years. For many people with higher support needs, employing personal assistants can be a lifelong commitment that can be both liberating and oppressive. Until unemotional androids like Channel 4’s Humans become possible, employing personal assistants in what is a very close emotional relationship requires a good understanding of interpersonal skills, which is where my guide comes in  useful.

People often assume the paperwork is the most difficult part of the process, but I suggest that it is actually the interpersonal skills needed to keep the relationship between the employer and their personal assistants on track. This is why a large proportion of the guide is focused of the interpersonal skills needed to manage personal assistants on a daily basis. Many people may be surprised to understand ‘being the boss’ should not mean acting ‘bossy’ as that often generates unnecessary friction in the relationship. I have learnt, and maybe the hard way, the controlling your staff with a smile and a sense of humour is far more likely to deliver positive outcomes.

Employing personal assistants is not something to be considered lightly. When it goes wrong, it can be a living nightmare. But when it goes right, it can be extremely liberating. My guide tries to ensure that the latter is far more likely if you follow the advice provided.


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