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Safeguarding Something else not to let go of! How I Safeguard my family and myself. I live with my wife and my two children. We also have three cats and one dog. We live in a purpose built house and my wife Cathy is my main carer. I have a IB (individual budget) and with this I employ 2-3 PAs that assist me with my every day life. Some of the duties are personal care, handling money, shopping, assisting me with being a active father to my two children, also looking after the family pets. I feel that safeguarding my family and myself is a huge responsibility that I am more than prepared to take on, as I feel I should be in control of everything as an employer. Safeguarding Safeguarding Some of the things I have to think of in relation to safeguarding are: •My safety •My families safety •Trusting P.A.s with financial matters and handling money •Confidentiality •Respect •Dignity •Risk management (my carer's safety) A P.A. needs to respect my dignity Interviewing Recruiting a new PA is one of my biggest safeguarding issues. Interviewing will always be a risk, but one I am willing to take. Compass deals with the advertising, the sending and receiving of the application forms, therefore only the shortlisted applicants will know my home address. I then take on the whole responsibility of employing a new PA. I ask a current PA to ring and invite the shortlisted applicants to my home for an interview. (I choose and feel comfortable doing the interview in my own home with my wife beside me, as it gives the interviewee a glance of my family life and the work environment.) Phoning applicants The Interview Process I prepare a list of questions that will help me envisage the character of the person. I try not to have any yes/no questions to get the candidate to speak openly about themselves. I always answer the door, as the initial greeting is usually an indication as to whether they are a suitable candidate. I have a set interview plan which I follow, so everybody has the same interview. I score each person immediately after they leave in 10 Categories (marking out of 100) i.e. Understanding me, Suitability, Eye Contact and experience. 2nd Interview Usually there are a few people that stand out, I then ask them back for a 2nd interview, which consists of them escorting me out on my own (pushing my wheelchair) and talking in a relaxed atmosphere. I know it is a risk asking a interviewee to take you out, but I feel it’s a important gamble to take, as the person you pick you have to build up a trust with. I feel I need to see how they are out and about with me. Do I feel secure/are they trustworthy, how they handle my money, do they listen to me, are they comfortable with me? 2nd interview stage References and CRB Checks I always take up references and always get Compass to help with the CRB check. However I think I’m a pretty good judge of character, so if they’ve just had a CRB check, or been a carer before, I let them start before the CRB check comes back, as quite often it can take months. Fortunately in my 16 years of employing PAs I’ve only had 7 Pas, 3 of which are still working for me. I am always aware that employing a new PA is a huge risk until you find the bond of trust, so in the first few weeks my wife or another PA are always about incase any difficulties arise Out with the family Safeguarding Everyone I also need to be certain that the PA fits into all aspects of my life. I need to trust them to do personal care as well as assist me with taking my children and me out. I need to be sure of confidentiality and respect. I have to be sure that my children, my pets and my wife are safe at all times. I need to show them how electrical items work, safe handling of equipment etc. I have to consider my PA’s safety as well, and that they feel secure and not at all vulnerable in the work place i.e. that I don’t ever put them in a situation they aren't comfortable with. P.A.’s walkies Feeling Vulnerable I’ve always been confident employing PAs and sorting out any problems that may arise, I know I have the back up and added security of my family. I can see why people feel they need some kind of back up to help with difficult situations, which is something which needs a definite resolution so there is someone that can come and help whenever needed. If I have to confront a issue, I will wait until I’m not in a vulnerable position (e.g. the bath/lift) to address the problem. I remain composed and in control of the situation (although inside I hate confrontation) and we discuss the problem together. Now’s not the time! Handling My Money As I’m unable to physically handle my money I have to rely on my PAs entirely. I have a method which I follow: When a new PA starts I always make sure I have cash in my wallet for the first month. After this I do tell them my pin numbers for my cards. I know this is risky but I have a trust with my Pas, but I have internet banking which I check everyday. As well as this I record every penny I spend on my computer. I’ve never had any issues with PAs handling my money, I think they know I’m in complete control of my family’s finances. A PA is in a position of trust In Conclusion I have been employing PAs through Direct payments for many years, and I appreciate that I have been extremely lucky in employing PAs that fit in well. Over the years I have never felt vulnerable, and haven't had major problems to deal with. I believe it works both ways, treat your PAs as you would like to be treated yourself, “you get what you give”…………. You don’t want to end up stranded!
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