Code of Practice for Personal Assistance

Together! 2012 CIC welcomes participants who need to bring support with them. Carers are welcome to take part in their own right alongside supporting their friend, partner or loved one – see the Ground Rules for Participants. BSL and other Interpreters should follow their own professional code of behaviour. All other professional support workers accompanying individuals to activities are asked to follow the code below, as well as to understand the Ground Rules for Participants and to support their clients to follow these.

We recommend the resources on the beingtheboss.co.uk and Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) websites if the reasons for any behaviour contained in this Code are not clear. For further details of our work and copies of all our policies, which are reviewed regularly for compliance with legal requirements and best practice, see our website www.together2012.org.uk

  • We will conduct ourselves at all times in accordance with the code below. We will ensure that other participants, carers and visitors understand our role as described here, and we will clarify or redirect conversation with them as necessary. 
  • We recognise that the Together! Clubs programme is a professional development activity for Disabled artists and creatives and the people who share their lives, facilitated by mid-career Disabled artists, some of whom have international careers. 
  • We understand that while Together! 2012 CIC welcomes Disabled people of all abilities, it is not a social care or SEND activity. The focus is on improving the self-esteem, self-confidence and social networks of participants, alongside their professional creative skills and career development. The organization delivers a professional programme of events, exhibitions, performances and screenings, together with a consultancy and a trading operation. The Clubs programme offers all Disabled people a safe space where external concerns and barriers can be left behind and they can engage with high quality arts activities on an equal basis. 
  • We understand the importance of Personal Assistance in empowering a Disabled person to exercise as much control over their lives as possible. We understand that Together! 2012 CIC promotes Independent Living and resilience using the Social Model of Disability. We recognise that the support we provide is vital to give a Disabled person full independence for the hours they receive it, and that these are limited.
  • We understand that our role is to be as invisible as possible when supporting our client to participate, in order to ensure that the focus stays fully on our client and their work, and that attention is not taken away from them unnecessarily to meet our own needs. We recognise that this opportunity is for our client, and that our role is to support them to engage as fully as possible in their own right.
  • We understand that our presence may be off-putting to other participants, particularly but not only those with mental health difficulties, and will do our best to intrude into the activity as little as possible. We recognise the need to maintain a calm, non-aggressive atmosphere at all times for access and for health and safety reasons.
  • We will always treat our client with respect when they attend the activity, and in a manner that recognises their role as our ultimate employer. We will ensure that they are respected as equals with other participants, including through our own behaviour towards them.
  • We understand that our client has the opportunity to book a one-to-one session with the Artistic Director on a Tuesday from 12-1pm to discuss their aims and progress, and we will remind them of this.
  • We understand that in order to be as inclusive as possible and to meet everyone’s needs, activities need to be delivered in particular ways and routines must be implemented, and we will support our client to respect, understand and follow these. We will do our best to ensure our client arrives on time in order to avoid disruption to others.
  • We understand that the Mental Capacity Act requires us not to exert any influence over our clients’ choices and opinions, unless this is necessary for safeguarding or health and safety reasons. We recognise that our client is in a position of dependency on our services, and that expressing any opinion or making a suggestion can therefore be considered unduly influential. Within the setting of this activity our opinions can be more widely influential, so we will keep them to ourselves.
  • We agree to respect the confidentiality of the activity participants, including Disabled people, carers, volunteers, support workers and team members. We understand our legal responsibility not to discuss anything that we learn or witness in the course of our work unless safeguarding & whistleblower policies apply, whether or not we use names and dates or put anything into writing.
  • We understand it is not our role to engage with, judge or comment on other Disabled people, including participants, volunteers, trainees, team members and freelances, only to respect them. The focus must remain on our client’s engagement with the activity and related conversation. We will ask questions as necessary on our clients’ behalf about how to engage best with the activity, but we will not ask personal questions of anyone, and we will support our client to understand why these are not appropriate from them.
  • We understand that the venue is shared by a number of organisations, and that the fittings are not the property of Together! 2012 CIC. We agree to leaving the toilet and any other facilities that we use as we find them, and to report any problems to the activity leader as soon as is appropriate. We understand that any task we are directed to carry out by our client on their behalf to contribute to the activity must be done with due care and consideration for health and safety and for the equipment and fittings.
  • We agree to sit quietly at the back of the hall if not required by our client, or to go into the lobby if we need to make voice calls on behalf of our client. We agree not to leave the premises unless this is part of our clients’ agreed support package, and to alert the activity leader if we are taking a break.
  • We understand that the kitchen is a catering kitchen in a public building, and that we must not use it without permission. We will be offered hot drinks and bottled water together with our client if we have not been cleared to use the kitchen. Legally required food hygiene standards must be clearly understood first, and then followed at all times.
  • We understand that we must follow any instructions that the activity leader may reasonably give us, to support our client to engage in the activity safely or to follow jthe Ground Rules, or to follow this Code of Practice.
  • We agree to report any concerns to the activity leader as soon as possible. We understand that health and safety issues will be acted on immediately, but that the activity leader will make a judgement otherwise about the most appropriate time to discuss this further, bearing in mind their own workload and the safe running of the activity.
  • If we report back to a manager or carer, we agree to make them aware of this Code of Practice and discuss how this relates to our role. We will make them aware of any concerns as soon as possible and put them into direct contact with the activity leader.
  • We understand that our client may be asked to leave the activity if, in the opinion of the activity leader, the failure to follow the Ground Rules or PA Code of Practice is putting the safety or wellbeing of other participants at risk. This includes distracting the activity leader or other team members from being able to fulfil their own role, interacting inappropriately with other participants or support workers, and aggressive or argumentative behaviour. A meeting will then need to take place involving the client, their carer, our manager and the commissioning officer as appropriate, and including a mandatory risk assessment, before our client is able to return.