Self Directed Support and Protection of Disabled People and their Employees

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2009 National Disabled Members' Conference
9 May 2009

This Conference welcomes the introduction of Direct Payments for disabled and older people which has taken place over the past few years, along with the recent pilots of Individual Budgets which increase choice and control for disabled and older people over the services they receive. However, we are concerned that there are insufficient safeguards to protect disabled people who choose to employ their own personal assistants as well as to protect the people they employ.

We understand that CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks will not be mandatory for personal assistants and that Local Authorities are not obliged to provide or commission services which support disabled people with the process of recruiting and managing staff.

Some disabled people are vulnerable to physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse by nature of their personal care needs and life experience.

Many disabled people have not received training in employment practices and health and safety issues. They may, inadvertently or otherwise, put Personal Assistants at risk or expect them to do over and above what they are being paid to do, for example, making it difficult for a Personal Assistant to take their Annual Holiday entitlement.

We welcome the proposals put forward at Unison’s National Social Care Seminar in November 2008 to “Develop national standards on terms conditions and training for personal assistants” and to recommend the setting up of an advisory body to manage these standards.

This Conference calls upon the National Disabled Members’ Committee to work with the NEC and the Local Government Service Group to:

1.Campaign for CRB checks to be made compulsory for personal assistants employed by people receiving Direct Payments or Individual Budgets.

2.Work towards the establishment of a central advisory body on standards for Personal Assistants.

3.Encourage Local Authorities to use support organisations (particularly those run and controlled by disabled people) to support disabled people in the setting up and running of their Individual Care Packages and to lobby the Government to make the use of such organisations by Local Authorities mandatory.

4.Seek to establish robust procedures within local authorities to safeguard disabled people who employ their own Personal Assistants.

5.Lobby the Care Quality Commission with a view to improving the monitoring of all care providers including Personal Assistants and Private Home Care Agencies.