Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
About Support Finder
What is Support Finder?
Support Finder is a website that enables people who require support (Employers) to search for the support they need (Personal Assistants (PAs) or Traders) and vice versa.
How does Support Finder work?
Support Finder has a search facility on the home page which enables you to search for the support and/or services you require or can offer.
You can then create an account, choose a membership level (Bronze, Silver or Gold) and create your own listings, view the full listings of people you’ve searched for and contact them via the internal messaging service.
Terminology used on this website
Employer is the term we use for people who are looking for support or a service. An Employer could be a disabled person, someone with a health condition, an older person or anyone that needs support at home, work or with getting out and about.
Personal Assistant (PA)
Personal Assistant (PA) is the term we use to refer to people who support Employers in their home, at work or with getting out and about. A Personal Assistant may also be known as a Support Worker, Carer, Helper, Assistant or domiciliary worker.
Trader is the term we use to refer to people who are sole traders or businesses which provide their services or trade locally. A Trader might be a mobile hairdresser who only works within 10 miles of their home or it could be a garden landscaper who works within 25 miles of their premises. We do not consider agencies, such as care agencies, to be Traders and advise that anyone signing up as an agency will be removed.
Account is the term we use to identify the section of the website that belongs to you. Your account is where you can manage your sign-in details, profile, listings, saved searches and shortlists, access resources and upgrade/downgrade your membership level.
Membership is the term we use to describe the level of support/service you can choose. Your chosen membership level will determine which functions and features you have access to.
Accounts and Membership
What types of membership are there and how much does it cost?
Depending on whether you are an Employer, PA or Trader, you will first need to read the relevant pages to find out which benefits are available at each membership level and how much these will cost.
I’m thinking of becoming a member, what information will I need?
In order to become a member, you will need a valid email address and a credit or debit card to pay for your membership, if applicable. You will also need your personal information such as your name, address, telephone numbers, etc. in order to create your Profile.
Do I need to be over 18 to become a member?
Yes, you do need to be aged 18 or over in order to create an account. Please read our terms and conditions for more information about creating an account for a child.
How long does a membership last for?
All memberships are for a minimum of 3 months period. You can renew your membership as many times as you like.
How do I pay for my membership?
Support Finder uses the Stripe payment processing service. We accept both Visa and Mastercard debit and credit cards.
I have a voucher code, how do I use this?
If you have a voucher code you can redeem this during the payment process. Depending on the voucher you are using, you may still be required to enter valid credit card details.
Can I change my level of membership once I’ve joined?
Yes, you can upgrade (or downgrade) your membership at any point. In most cases, you will need to cancel your current membership and start a new membership at your new chosen level. If you decide to downgrade your membership, please be aware that you might lose access to certain functions and features once your current membership has been changed (for example, downgrading from a Silver Employer to a Bronze Employer will mean you can only have one listing, and will no longer receive notifications about new listings that match your requirements).
How do I cancel my membership?
You can cancel your membership at any time in the My Membership section of your account area. Just edit your current membership and choose 'Cancel Membership' (found at the bottom of this page).
What happens if I cancel my membership?
If you cancel your membership and do not take out a new membership, your account stays active until your 3 month membership period expires (even though it says it is cancelled). After that, you will no longer have access to the features in Support Finder and no further payments will be taken. Please note, until your membership period expires, your listings will remain active and therefore viewable by other people using the website. You can de-activate your listings if you do not want them to show in search results.
My account has been suspended. What do I do now?
You should receive an email if your account is suspended. Reasons for this could include a payment for membership not being received or inappropriate content being placed on the website.
However, if you are unsure why your account has been suspended, you will need to contact a member of the Support Finder team who will be able to help you. Please go to our Contact Us page for ways to contact us.
How do I delete my account?
If you would like to delete your account, then visit the My Account Settings section in your account area. Please note, you will not be entitled to a refund for any of the remaining membership period.
What happens to my information when I’ve deleted my account?
Just in case anyone deletes their account by accident and wishes to re-activate it, all information will be held for 14 days. After this date, we will only hold data for statistical purposes and all information will be anonymised (i.e. there will be no personal data kept to link any statistical information to a specific person).
What is a listing?
A listing is where you explain what support you need or the support you can offer.
How do I create a listing?
To create a listing, you will first need to create an account, choose your membership level and complete your profile details.
Depending on your chosen membership level, you will be able to create one or multiple listings by choosing 'Create New Listing' from the My Listings section in your account area. Then you can follow the steps to create your listing.
Can I edit my listing?
Yes, you can edit your listings by going to My Listings in your account area. From the table showing your listings, choose the one that you would like to edit. This then opens a new page, where you can choose to Edit your listing.
How do I de-activate my listing?
Go to the My Listings section in your account area. From the table showing your listings, choose the one that you would like to de-activate/delete. This then opens a new page, where you can choose to 'Edit Listing' or 'De-Activate Listing'. Once you have de-activated your listing it will no longer show to other users of the website.
How do I delete my listing?
Before you can delete your listing, you will need to de-activate it (detailed above). Once you have done this, a 'Delete Listing' button will become available in the table on your My Listings section of your account area. Using this will permanently delete your listing.
How do I search for people?
You can run a basic search from the home page or, if you are signed in you can run a search from the navigation bar at the top of every page.
Can I save my search criteria?
Yes, depending on your membership level, if you perform a search that you would like to run on a regular basis, you can save this so that you can run it quickly when you next visit. You can have multiple saved searches which can be viewed and managed in the My Saved Search section of your My Account area. You can also choose to receive email notifications regarding any new listings that match your saved searches.
Can I create a shortlist of listings I am interested in?
Yes, when viewing a listing, you will have the option to 'Add To Shortlist'. If a listing is already in your shortlist, you will get the option to 'Remove from Shortlist'.
How do I view my shortlist?
If you would like to view your shortlist, then visit the My Shortlist section in your account area.
I have found a listing that I am interested in. How do I contact the person?
When you are viewing someone's full listing, you will have the option to 'Send A Message'.
Where can I find messages that people have sent me?
You can read and manage all of your messages in the My Messages section of your account area.
Can I contact people without becoming a member?
No, you will need to become a member in order to contact people.
Who pays for a PA?
PAs may be funded by your local Authority or NHS, or can be self-funded (paid for out of your own money).
If you are in employment, your PAs might be paid for as part of a government scheme known as Access to Work.
What’s the difference between an Employed or Self-Employed PA?
An employed PA is someone that works for you directly. This would mean that you would provide them with a contract of employment, register with HMRC and pay their Tax and National Insurance, pay at least the minimum wage, pay holiday and sickness pay, potentially enrol in to a pension scheme, have Employer's Liability insurance, etc. Further information about employing someone for the first time can be found at: www.gov.uk/employing-staff.
A self-employed (a sole trader) PA is someone that you engage to carry out tasks for you. A self-employed person would be registered with the HMRC and be liable for paying their own Tax and National Insurance, have their own Public Liability insurance, etc. You would need confirmation that the person is registered as self-employed with HMRC.
The difference in employing a PA who is self-employed is that you would pay them a higher hourly rate of pay (as they are responsible for their own Tax and National Insurance contributions, holiday and sickness pay etc.) and although you might agree working terms and conditions there wouldn't be a contract of employment.
There is a tool available on the GOV.UK website that enables you to check whether work should be classed as employed or self-employed for tax purposes - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax.
Depending on your membership level, you may be able to access the following factsheets in the 'View Resources' section of your Account Area:
- Employing a PA
- PA Statutory Rights
- Self Employed PAs.
I run a small local business, how can I tell people about my service?
Becoming a member on Support Finder will enable you to promote your business/service to Employers and PAs using the website. By doing this, Employers and PAs will be able to search for you and contact you if they require your business/service.
Why should I take out an Enhanced membership rather than a Basic one?
The advantage of having an Enhanced membership is that you can add additional information about your business/service including uploading a logo, social media links, etc. You will also be able to create a saved search which will then generate an email notification of any new listings which match your search criteria.
You can find out more about the different memberships and their benefits on our Trader page.
Local Authorities or Charities managing Direct Payments
I work for a Local Authority or Charity that manages Direct Payments, can we use Support Finder?
Yes, you can buy an Organisation Voucher from us that will enable your Direct Payment users to create an account on Support Finder.
Our Organisation Vouchers are flexible to suit you and your service user needs so please Contact Us to find out more.
Why should we buy an Organisation Voucher?
The benefit of you buying an Organisation Voucher is that we, Support Finder, can provide all the support your service users need whilst using our website.
Is Support Finder a Care Agency?
No, Support Finder is a website that enables you to search for the support or services you require or the support you can offer. Support Finder is for people who are looking to employ a PA or engage a self-employed PA or for PAs to find appropriate employment. It also allows for Trade services to be listed and found.
I work with a Care Agency. Can we promote our carers on this website?
No, Support Finder isn’t designed to accommodate agency staff. Employers using Support Finder are usually looking to employ a PA directly.
Is my personal information secure?
Information relating to our Support Finder service is held electronically. Access to this electronic information is restricted by staff role to ensure that only members of staff who have a genuine need to view the information can do so. The information is held in Digital Ocean servers based in the UK. Digital Ocean is certified to ISO 27001 security compliance standards.
How much of my personal information is made public?
When people are signed in as members, the following information is displayed in search results (as provided by you when completing your profile):
- First Name
- Town and County
- Whether you are a smoker or non-smoker
- Whether you are an Adult or Child (determined by your Date of Birth).
Only your first name and town are available to non-members when they search for listings on the website.
How is Support Finder connected to Surrey Independent Living Council (SILC)?
Support Finder is owned and managed by Surrey Independent Living Council (SILC). Although all the communications we send out are from Support Finder, it is still the knowledgeable and experienced SILC staff that you’re communicating with.
What do I do if I have a further question?
If you have a question that hasn’t been answered above please Contact Us and we will be happy to help you.
How do I make a complaint?
We hope you are happy with our website and service. However, if you wish to make a complaint regarding the website, please contact us in writing at the following address:
Support Finder Complaints
Surrey Independent Living Council
Alternatively, you can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will acknowledge complaints within 3 working days of receipt and will provide a response to the complaint within 14 working days.