Direct Payments and Private Arrangements as a Personal Assistant

My grandad has been receiving care from myself since August 2023 when he was assessed and granted care, I have been working as his personal assistant free of charge whilst we waited for the financial side to be sorted etc.

The council allows family members to be employed as a personal assistant, but my question is as I am the grandson, would this be deemed as a private arrangement employment as an alternative to having to go down the formal route?

I have asked the direct payment team who process payments and cards, they told me they’re purely financial and sent my message on to the social care practitioner, I’m awaiting a response from them but was curious if anyone else has been in a similar situation?

Strictly speaking, a private arrangement is of no use to you in terms of pension rights, employment status or anything: unless you had more than one person you were being paid to care for, you’d not be able to register as self-employed, either.

The formal route protects you as an employee, with all the rights around unfair dismissal, sick pay, holiday pay, etc. Not to mention Health & Safety.

I understand this, but couldn’t it be deemed a private arrangement instead?

I will be providing the care to my grandad for 17.5 hours a week, the council have granted him £14.31 rate and from that we need to make a few deductions.

My grandad and I have a fantastic relationship and I honestly don’t have to worry much about the employment side of things, I will report any earnings to Universal credit my end and as far as I’m aware as long as we keep proper documentation then the private arrangement seems the easier option to go.

I won’t be earning enough to qualify for paying tax or NI, according to the gov.uk website I don’t even need liability insurance due to being a family member.

The council have already funded my grandad for 25 weeks of backpay and he has had to contribute 25x weeks worth of his contribution, there is a significant amount sitting in the account which a huge chunk of is realistically mine for the hours I’ve completed but we are petrified of touching it until things are clarified.

Just do it properly. I’m dismayed you have been working for free so long. I suspect that what the council forgot to offer as part of the package was a “payroll service” so you just submit a time sheet and they deal with it all?

Yes exactly this. The social care practitioner who came out to assess my grandad was told specifically that he only wanted me, his grandson to be his personal assistant. She didn’t tell him of any employer responsibilities, she didn’t inform him of any support or payroll that can help. She just assessed him then went through his care plan later over the phone, with all due respect my grandad is mentally there but he’s 87 and obviously doesn’t understand properly, but during that phonecall she did not mention any of the above.

The whole ordeal has been going on 11 months before the card arrived, we were relieved at first when we thought I was finally going to be getting paid and now we’re just stuck in limbo.

I’ve spoke to the direct payment team, they said they’re strictly financial and cannot help, they forwarded our message onto the council and then I received a call that they’ve put my grandad on a waiting list for council run care, when all we asked was for them to manage his account because he can’t cope and I can’t touch it being his assistant for care. I got back in touch saying we didn’t request this and are abit perplexed by it and then I received another phonecall saying that they’ve put him on the waiting list for his account to be managed and they’re sorry for misunderstanding

Right, time to get tough!
First, get grandad to write a letter to Social Services giving his permission for you to deal with everything. Keep a copy, or scan and email it. From now on, ask them not to phone, but to email so you can show grandad, but the main reason is to keep evidence of everything.
Then go to the council’s website and search for “Subject Access Request”. Make an application for copies of everything they have on file about you and grandad for the last 2 years. They must provide this within about a month.
Then search the council website for Adult Services Complaints. Make a complaint about the “unreasonable delay” in arranging services for grandad.

They won’t be expecting this!

Good luck.

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