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Personal Assistants and Personal Budgets: Describing this emergent group and its relationship to the wider social care and health workforce [PA-1]

Purpose of this study

To achieve a better understanding of the Personal Assistant (PA) role to inform policymakers and the wider social care sector. The study aimed to: describe and document this emergent workforce, exploring their backgrounds and motivations, job content, terms and conditions, and experiences of their job and its relationship with the wider social care and health workforce; explore what mechanisms local authorities use to create and match supply with demand; assess the potential of this workforce to support people with personal health budgets and any implications for training and workforce development; identify barriers to working, including training and certification, vulnerability of the role, conflict with employers and dispute resolution, lack of peer support and mentoring, and other employment models.




NIHR Policy Research Programme


Two stage mixed methods design including interviews with a large sample of Personal Assistants and a diverse sample of key ‘stakeholders’, collecting both qualitative and quantitative data.

Personal Assistant studies at HSCWRU

  1. [PA-1] described their background and skills, the work they do, the nature of their relationship with their employers and their employment conditions. (NIHR Policy Research Programme)
  2. [PA-2] re-interviewed a proportion of the PAs who took part in the first study and collected information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their working lives. (NIHR Policy Research Programme)
  3. [PA-3] What enduring impacts has the COVID-19 pandemic had for PAs and the nature of their working relationships with their employer, their employer’s family (where relevant) and other community-based professionals? (NIHR Policy Research Programme)
  4. Employing Personal Assistants during the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons for social care practice (NIHR School for Social Care Research)
  5. Exploring working relationships between primary care and directly employed home care workers (Dunhill Medical Trust)
Project status: Completed

Principal Investigator