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If the PA that best suits your needs is self-employed then you don't have to complete so many checks yourself. However, you are responsible for ensuring that the person you use as a PA is eligible to work as one.
It is important that you have considered your situation carefully. If you are using a PA that works with you all the time and who doesn't work for anyone else, then you should probably be employing them rather than them being self-employed.
This is a very grey area, especially with regard to PAs and the tasks that they are potentially doing, so, if you need any further advice on this, please Contact Us.
You are not directly required to complete the checks to ensure that the self-employed PA is eligible to work in the UK. However, they should be able to demonstrate that they are eligible by providing you with their HMRC unique tax reference number (UTR). This will prove that they're registered with HMRC and so confirm that they are eligible to work in the UK.
If you are using a PA that is self-employed then you can't request a DBS as you are not their employer. However, they may be willing to show you a DBS that they had from a previous employer or they can get a basic check from Disclosure Scotland which provides details of any 'unspent' convictions (you do not need to live in Scotland to use this service).
Even if you are using a self-employed PA, you should still consider taking up references.
References are a good way of confirming whether what the applicant has told you is correct. It is also valuable to have the opinion of another person who already knows, or who previously employed the applicant, on their suitability to your vacancy.
You will have the details of their 2 references if you used an application form. If you asked for CVs then you may not have received this information and will need to request details of 2 references from your chosen applicant.
It is up to you how you make contact with the referee (the person giving the reference). You can contact them by post or email which will allow you to pose some specific questions and also provide them with a copy of the job description, ensuring that they understand what role the applicant will be undertaking. This way, although more detailed, can take more time and could result in you chasing references which could lead to a delay in the employee's start date.
The other way of gathering references is by telephone. This is a quicker way of contacting and discussing the applicant's suitability and referees may also be prepared to say things over the phone that they wouldn't put in writing. However, a telephone reference may put the referee on the spot and therefore not allow them time to think about what the job involves.