Using the Direct Payment to pay for advertising for PAs

For those direct payment users who employ support workers, what is the situation regarding using the DP to pay for advertising?

Moray Council didn’t like it, and it seems others have had similar difficulties. I think the reason in my case for opposition was that the DP amount had been calculated just with projected employment costs included, not with recruitment costs. This makes little sense to me as I’m not sure how you can employ someone without recruiting them first.

In any case, having control of the DP means being able to decide how to use it in pursuit of the agreed outcomes. If you need a support worker to pursue the agreed outcomes, then you also need to recruit one to pursue the agreed outcomes. I just don’t see the problem with using the DP in this way, as long as you spend reasonably wisely and sensibly, for example, not taking out a full page advert in the New York Times if you recruiting in Aberdeen.

Any thoughts/experiences on this?

Hi Josh,

I’m not aware of this happening where I live and work (Perth & Kinross), although the hourly rate that is paid by the LA does include ‘contingency monies’, which are designed to be used for things including paying a payroll company. The LA here will also pay the first year’s employer insurance when a new DP is set up, and the employer is then expected to use contingency monies to renew this each subsequent year.

Does your LA offer to advertise on your behalf? I guess if they do offer this, they can argue that it is your choice to pay for an advert, although clearly you need to spread your net as wide as you can to get the right people you need.

I think fundamentally it is another example of seeing the money as a DP budget to use flexibly vs money to pay for a specific number of hours of support as determined by the LA. Clearly the former is more in keeping with the spirit of SDS. You would obviously still need to be able to afford to pay your PAs the required minimum rate after the cost of advertising.

Don’t know if that’s helpful, but just some thoughts.

Yes, that all sounds right to me.

The LA don’t offer to advertise on my behalf.

A number of LAs/organisations advertise here, which presumably costs them nothing (although I don’t know this for sure): Find a job (

There is also now a dedicated page for PA job adverts on myjobscotland: Personal Assistant Jobs | myjobscotland

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Thank you, yes, it’s good to have free options. I hope the existence of free options does not lead LAs to oppose paid options. The advertising market is subject to change and fashions in my experience. When I was advertising, Indeed was almost the only place I got any useful applicants from, however, according to a couple of friends who employ PAs, they haven’t had any luck with Indeed at all just recently.

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Hi all, just hopping in to say that many Independent Support Organisations will also advertise on an Employers’ behalf - including on Indeed, My Job Scotland, local Facebook groups and on their own websites. You can find details of a local Independent Support Organisation here: Find Local Information and Support - Self Directed Support Scotland | Self Directed Support Scotland


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Thanks Kayleigh. That’s a useful resource. So do you think that local authorities have the power to forbid direct payment users to spend their budget on advertising, and take action against DP users (such as suspending the DP or ordering repayment) if they do?