There are around 1.39 million adult care workers in the UK, the majority of whom work for local authorities or by care homes. A smaller number choose to work through agencies or in a self-employed capacity as a personal care assistant. In this situation an individual employs you directly to provide care as required. Formal qualifications are not always needed but experience as a "life enhancer" is.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Care assistant experience
- Current background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service
- First aid certificate
- QCF in adult social care
- Diploma in Health and Social Care
- Internet access
- Clean driving licence
- HM Revenue and Customs self-employed registration forms
- Form CA5601 or CF10 for National Insurance payments
Research the market for self-employed carers. For example, the Homecare and Special Care employment section on Gumtree posts new adverts daily, many of which are posted by private individuals, looking for home care. By doing your homework you will form a picture of the varied needs people have, the level of experience required and the type of remuneration offered.
Make sure you have good references readily available. Check with your referees that they are willing to speak to your prospective employers and don't forget to alert them if they are likely to get a call or email.
Contact the Disclosure and Barring Service and provide them with the relevant documents proving your identity. Thee is a selection of trusted documents for you to choose from, but one must show your current address. A bank statement or utility bill and your passport or current driving licence are among the more accessible documents the DBS accepts. Note that the DBS check replaces the Criminal Records Bureau check.
Write a CV detailing all your experience, both paid and voluntary. Put it in a folder with copies of any social care qualifications you have and other certificates, such as a first aid certificate. It is worth noting that private individuals are often not as concerned about certificates and diplomas as an institution or an agency. Care experience in any capacity, personality and enthusiasm for the job are often more important than qualifications.
Decide what hourly rate you're willing to accept and how far you're prepared to negotiate. Payment by the hour is common in this profession. Also decide the hours per week you need to work, how far you're prepared to travel and if you want to specialise in caring for a particular age group.
Go to the HM Revenue and Customs website where you can online as self-employed for the purpose of taxation. Use HMRC's online ready reckoner to estimate year end of first year tax bill.
Arrange to pay Class 2 national insurance contributions at the same time. If you are likely to earn below £5,595 in your first year you may not have to pay national insurance. In this case use form CF10.
Market your services in the local press and online. Give a clear picture of your experience and areas of expertise.
Tips and warnings
- If you have volunteering experience but feel you have the personality and skills to be a self-employed carer, study the Skills for Care website which has a wealth of information about qualifications and every aspect of care work.
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