User participation fails again
Last year I moved from being funded by the council to being funded by the NHS. I employ the same Personal Assistants, just the funding has changed. Most people who qualify for a Personal Health Budget (PHB) like this have to meet challenging criteria needing daily health care support. I’m a big fan of personalisation – probably why my working life was always in this field. If done right, with good information and support, it can really help people have a better quality of care and support. For many it can be life changing.
When I was told I had met the criteria I was asked if I wanted to take part in peer support or consultations about using PHBs. I’m all for participating in things to help more people use a PHB so I agreed to be a contact.
Early February I was contacted by Skills for Care to review their online information for people who employ Personal Assistants and use a health budget. For participating they would pay me £15 an hour for around two hours of ‘work’ spread out over about 3 weeks.
I immediately said I was interested.
and so followed:
- A 14 page participation policy
- A 3 page form to detail how I found the online information I would review (the ‘work’)
- A 4 page payment form to complete
- A warning that I needed to seek benefit advice as a fee would be involved.
- If I participate I become an Advisory Group Member.
- A note to go to the HMRC website and fill out a employee checklist for tax and NI.
On that note, considering I am in receipt of benefits because I can’t work and all I wanted to do was provide a review of their PA resources, I’m out.
How can people participate when faced with all this. It’s too much. Too exhausting.
If I do the above I could be viewed as looking to take up employment – I’m not, I just wanted to review a website over a period and time I am able to. People on benefits can receive participation fees, as long as it’s not a long term thing that would indicate they could work. All of the above might suggest I am working. I’m not taking a chance on that.