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Meet our steering group member – Claire Bickford

Claire Bickford

Our steering group help Skills for Care to develop new resources and support for individual employers, personal assistants (PAs) and organisations who support them. The group includes colleagues who support people employ their own PAs through a direct payment (from social care or health) or with their own money.

Keep up the conversation using #PAframework or join our ‘Supporting organisations’ group on Twitter.

This month we’d like to introduce member, Claire Bickford.

Claire works as a regional manager for Penderels Trust, who support disabled people to live independently. They support almost 15,000 individual employers in a variety of ways including payroll, managing their money and recruiting.

Claire’s worked on several national projects including:

  • direct payment support contracts
  • PA finder service
  • PA ‘online jobs’ service.

She has over 20 years’ experience working in independent living and with direct payments. She started with the Trust as an independent living adviser, and is now part of their senior management team, taking overall responsibility for the delivery of a number of direct payment contracts nationally.

Claire takes a particular interest in the PA role and how it can be better supported. She’s passionate about promoting it as a positive and professional career choice, and not a ‘stop gap’ or ‘second choice’ option.

She’s been involved in research about what makes a job more attractive, what works and what doesn’t, and demographic and geographic demand around PA recruitment. This intelligence will help the steering group to make informed decisions about the work we do.

She told us: “I joined the group to develop my own knowledge and use it in the work that the Penderels Trust do. I want to become more informed about the PA workforce, what works well and what doesn’t.

I’d like to be able to make a difference and positively influence the work Skills for Care do around making the PA role more attractive and career driven.”

Keep up to date

Keep up to date with news from the sector by signing up to our quarterly bulletin.

*We’ve also put together a Twitter list of steering group members, organisations and individuals with an interest in this area of work. Subscribe and keep up to date with the latest news and resources – go onto the @skillsforcare profile, click on ‘Lists’ and select the ‘Supporting organisations’ group.

You can also visit our Information hub for individual employers and PAs to download useful resources, including the Employing personal assistants toolkit.