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SILC – Who we are

Surrey Independent Living Council (SILC) is a voluntary organisation led and run by disabled people. We believe that every disabled adult, child, older person and carer should be able to live independently with the same choices, opportunities and control over their lives as anyone else.

Our specialist, approachable team offer a range of services to help you live independently, whether you receive support from the council, NHS or fund your own care.
Depending on your situation, we can assist with:

  • deciding whether a Direct Payment is the right option for you
  • helping you understand how Direct Payments work
  • helping you to recruit and employ care workers and Personal Assistants
  • training, including Support with Confidence
  • practical advice on staying safe and independent at home
  • providing an Assisted Finance Account to help you manage your finances
  • support with budgets, bank accounts and financial management
  • managing your Personal Health Budget or Education Direct Payment

We provide the NHS Health Complaints Advocacy service in Surrey and also administer the GP Carer Break Scheme, including the carer prescriptions service, and are involved in joint ventures and national initiatives including Healthwatch Surrey.



Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update - 17th February 2021


Despite the continuous vaccine rollout, it is essential to keep testing frontline staff to reduce the spread of the virus. Personal assistants working in adult social care in England can now access weekly Covid-19 testing.

The system allows PAs to order tests every 28 days for themselves, or an employer can order them for their personal assistant. Four tests are then delivered for each PA for a 28-day testing cycle. Every 7 days a PA should take a test, register it online and return it by post.

PAs will receive their results in 48 hours by e-mail and text message.

For more information, please see government website here ( and flyer detailing the process here (flyer PDF).

It is not yet clear if this will be rolled out to include PAs supporting younger adults (under 18) and children. Similarly we are not yet aware of any plans to roll this out in the rest of the UK but will update you as and when any new information comes to light.



Coronavirus / COVID-19 Update - 1st February 2021


1. Vaccination for Personal Assistants (PAs)

Surrey County Council and the NHS have made arrangements for all PAs to receive their Covid 19 vaccinations. All employers should now have received either an email or a letter from Surrey County Council for Direct Payment recipients and from the NHS Continuing Health Care Team for Personal Health Budget holders.

This letter lays out the steps that employers need to take to get their PAs vaccinated. If you have not received an email or letter by the 3rd of February please contact your Social Service Locality Team (for Direct Payments) or the NHS Continuing Health Care Team (for Personal Health Budgets).

v v v


If you are a Personal Assistant (frontline keyworker) and have been sent a SWIFT-Q link to book your vaccination, please book your appointment as soon as possible.

Additional vaccination slots have been released at Royal Surrey County Hospital and Ashford & St Peter’s Hospital. Book as soon as possible using the SWIFT-Q link to take advantage of these appointments.

If you haven’t yet received a link, please don’t be concerned, email your contact details to to receive one.

^ ^ ^


2. Regular COVID testing for Personal Assistants employed by people who receive a Direct Payment or Personal Health Budget

Surrey Heartlands Testing Cell are offering weekly Covid-19 Tests to Personal Assistants who are employed by someone who has a Personal Health Budget or Direct Payment.
Asymptomatic means that the person is not showing any symptoms of coronavirus.
This test is only for PAs who are not showing any symptoms of coronavirus.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should book a test via the government website:

Personal Assistants need to email and provide the following information:

  • Full name and address;
  • Date of birth;
  • Mobile number;
  • Letter confirming employment from Direct Payment or Personal Health Budget holder;
  • Preferred testing site (* see below);
  • Preferred testing day and time.

PAs will be contacted to explain what will happen next.


Places where tests are taking place
(you should only attend if you have been given an appointment):

  • Royal Holloway University of London, Car Park 12, Egham, TW20 0EX.
  • Hersham Village Hall, Queen Road, Hersham, KT12 5LT.
  • Guildford, University of Surrey Campus, GSA Car Park 1, Guildford, GU2 7XH.
  • Woking, Sheerwater Nursery, Blackmore Crescent, Woking, GU21 5NZ.
  • Farnham, Riverside Car Park 3, Mike Hawthorn Drive, Farnham, GU9 7UE.


3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

All Personal Assistants and carers who provide Direct Payment or Personal Health Budget holders with close contact care are entitled to free PPE until at least 31 March 2021.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) includes things like gloves, aprons, face masks and eye protection that help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

If you are a Direct Payment or Personal Health Budget holder, you can receive free PPE for your Personal Assistants, paid care workers, staff and carers who do not live with you.

There is a useful guide to help you decide what PPE you need for your staff.
Illustrated PPE guide for community and social care settings (

The team who arranges your Direct Payment or Personal Health Budget can help you decide what PPE your staff will need and arrange for you to get it free.

Contact the team who arranges your Direct Payment or Personal Health Budget or Surrey Independent Living Council (SILC) to arrange to get the PPE you need.



Coronavirus / COVID-19 Fast Facts for employers and PAs


Due to the current pandemic affecting individual employers and personal assistants, we have put together some Fast Facts to help employers and PAs know what to do (in terms of employment or being employed) during this crisis. We recommend you read all of them.

You can see all of our COVID-19 Fast Facts here

We have useful links to various COVID-19 resources on our links page here




Important news from Surrey County Council for families who employ a Personal Assistant

Surrey County Council have released the following news:


"In recognition of the invaluable support Personal Assistants provide to disabled children and their families in Surrey, the County Council has amended the hourly rate of Direct Payments for the employment of Personal Assistants (PAs). The intention is that parents will find it easier to recruit and retain PAs.

For all new direct payment arrangements (as of 1 May 2020): There is a new hourly rate of £10.75 per hour applied as from May 1st 2020. This new rate applies across the seven days of the week. There is no need for you as a recipient of DPs to take any action in regards to this – it is all happening behind the scenes.

For existing arrangements (as of 1 Oct. 2020): The new rate will mean weekday payments will rise from £8.72 to £10.75 per hour. Where there are existing weekend rates in place of £12.02 or above these will remain at that rate until there is a change of Personal Assistant. Again there is no need for you as a recipient of DPs to take any action in regards to this – it is all happening behind the scenes.

This wage adjustment is positive news and an important step forward for direct payments, which is such a significant part of Surrey’s short breaks offer. By having one rate across the 7 days of the week families will have greater flexibility as to when they are used which will be particularly helpful for school holidays."






Free Training for personal assistants and direct payment employers

Due to the current pandemic, SILC have moved the training online, for the forseeable future, until the Government advises we can resume as normal. For more details and to register for training either online or in the future, please either email or phone 07514 093 616.




SILC, Astolat, Coniers Way, Burpham, Guildford GU4 7HL. Tel: 01483 458111  Privacy Policy 
Registered charity No. 1146482