• Rights, Technology

ENABLE Personal Assistant (PA) Model

Enable in Scotland wins the Innovation Awards 2023 for improving self-directed care in Scotland.

Name of the practice: ENABLE Personal Assistant (PA) Model  

Organisation: Enable

Country: Scotland  

Funding: Funding comes from local commissioning bodies, who allocate a Self-Directed Support budget to the individual, who in turn chooses Enable as their provider. The individual exercises choice and control over how their budget is spent.

Description of the organisation: Enable believes in an equal society where everyone has the right to live, work and participate as an active and respected citizen in the communities of their choice. Enable provides self-managed health and social care (Enable Cares), employability and training services (Enable Works) and community projects and campaigns (Enable Communities). Enable employs 2,500 people and helps over 13,000 people to live independently as active citizens in their local communities.

Description of practice: The Enable Personal Assistant (PA) model is a scalable, transferable, and tested model of self-managed, human rights-led social care, delivered by a valued, skilled and well-paid workforce, contracted directly with the person being cared for. The model was intentionally built by Enable in response to the Self-Directed Support (SDS) (Scotland) Act 2013, as a mechanism to meet both the spirit and aims of the legislation for all people. The PA model is designed to offer the benefits of Self-Directed Support (SDS) Option 1 (direct payment of a person’s social care budget so that they have full control over how it is spent), without the additional burden of people becoming employers. The Personal Assistant (PA) model sets up small bespoke teams, chosen by
the individual and contracted directly with them. This ensures that the Personal Assistant (PA) matches the person they are working for, shares their interests and is someone they can talk to and feel comfortable with. The Personal Assistant (PA) model is the democratisation of social care - it makes social care truly accessible to everyone, regardless of their disability, level of education,
social capital or family ties.

Impact and sustainability: The Enable Personal Assistant (PA) Model has been designed to support people who have a physical or learning disability but has been extended to support people with acquired brain injury, autism, or mental health issues. It is transferable to support a full range of care and support needs. More than 1,100 people are currently supported through the Enable PA Model, spread across 27 of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas.

Scalability & transferability:

Although a non-profit, Enable has generated modest surpluses year on year while the charity has doubled its income since 2015. This has been invested in Enable frontline social care workforce, through digital innovation like smartphones, data allowances and online rota management, and crucially, in raising pay to no less than the real living wage (beyond the statutory minimum wage) for every hour worked, including overnight support. A well rewarded workforce with career progression opportunities has demonstrably helped Enable’s recruitment and retention, ensuring the Personal Assistant (PA) Model’s sustainability.

The Enable Personal Assistant (PA) model is being chosen by more and more people every year, as it provides genuinely self-directed care and support without requiring individuals to take responsibility for human resources, legal and financial administration, which most people don't feel equipped to take on. Since adopting the PA model in 2015, Enable's income has doubled. The PA model delivers significantly better wellbeing outcomes than other models of care, as demonstrated by superior Care Inspectorate rankings (79% 'very good' or 'excellent' compared to 54% for the sector average). In addition, this model has shown strong advantages in reducing the risk of Covid compared to other models and providers during the pandemic, with people supported by the Personal Assistant (PA) being 5 times less likely to contract Covid than the general learning disability population.

Contact information:  Theresa Shearer, Enable Group