You will increasingly have the opportunity to take more control of your care through the government’s individual budgets and direct payments schemes.

Individual budget. In these schemes the local authority provides a budget (which it retains) against which you can plan your own care. Alternatively, the authorities give you the money it would spend on your home care services, so you can manage the care yourself. The availability of these schemes depends on where you live; check with your social services department.

For more information on how direct payments work, see the funding section. Below is a brief guide to what anyone who takes on more direct control of their care budget may have to consider.

Giving you choice. All direct payment and individual budget schemes will give you the choice about how much direct control you have. Local authorities will arrange for independent agencies to be available to help you with the practical tasks of arranging your care.

Depending on how much you decide to take on:

Advertise for staff. You may need to advertise for staff. This can be done through local media, such as newspapers, the Job Centre or you can contact care agencies directly. You should base your advert on your care assessment, including how many carers you need, what duties they will need to perform, how many hours per week you will need them and what personal qualities the applicant should have.

Arrange an interview. Make sure you interview your carer before employing them. It may also be useful to have a family member or friend present with you at an interview to help give another opinion. You should also ask for least two references, one of which should be from the candidate’s last employer and neither should be from a friend or family member. Be sure to check that the references are genuine – call or write to each referee.

How much to pay. You will have to decide on how much you want to pay a carer. This will vary depending on the type of care you receive and when you receive it. For example, you may have to pay more for care in the evenings or at weekends. Carers with specialist skills may also cost more. But all payments must comply with the national minimum wage, which is £5.93 an hour.

You as employer. With full control over your care you will effectively become your carer’s employer, which brings with it certain responsibilities. These include paying the carer’s tax and National Insurance contributions and ensuring that your home complies with health and safety legislation.

PAYE and employment issues. By law you must operate Pay as You Earn (PAYE) on the pay of your employees. When you take on staff for the first time you will need to contact the Inland Revenue’s New Employers Helpline (0845 60 70 143) to arrange for a PAYE scheme to be set up.

Employment issues such as statutory sick pay, maternity and paternity leave and redundancy also have to be considered.

Contract of employment. Make sure your terms of employment are clear. It’s advisable to supply a written contract of employment (although this is not compulsory). This will be useful if you need to take disciplinary measures against a carer. Remember, they have full employment rights and could take you to an industrial tribunal. This also means you cannot breach such legislation as the Equal Opportunities Act.

Household insurance. You will need to ensure your household insurance fully covers any liabilities associated with being a place of work.

Check out local advisers. If all this sounds daunting, note that you do not have to do all this yourself. Many local authorities and independent providers offer services to help with payroll, tax and National Insurance contributions. For more information on these services contact your local authority or direct payment support service.