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ILG Community Mission Statement

“Creating a space for Personal Assistant Employers to share experiences, get support and unite their voices in order to help shape health and care services across the UK.”

Member Benefits


It is FREE to join the ILG Community and once signed up you will gain access to the below benefits immediately. If you are unsure or have any questions before joining please feel free to contact our steering group.

Private Facebook Group

Keep up to date with recent independent living news, share your thoughts and get involved with the group.

Template Documents

Download useful employment documents such as Employment Contracts, Staff Handbooks and Template Risk Assessments.

ILG Podcast

We provide up to date advice and information for individual employers receiving direct payments or personal health budgets.


Ask The Steering Group

Ask us a question and we will look to find the answer. Also on this page you will find Q&As that others have asked and shared.

ILG Support: Guide Notes

Get the latest guidance on the most talked about topics involving Direct Payments & Personal Health Budgets. 

Newsletter Archive

Get the latest guidance on the most talked about topics involving Direct Payments & Personal Health Budgets. 

Meet The ILG Steering Group

The ILG Steering group is comprised of Personal Assistant (PA) employers from across the UK. The group are passionate about creating a national voice to represent PA employers and share good practice. Click here to see the chair of the steering group contributing to the public services committee in the House of Lords! (start time 15:11:57)

Jade Hamnett

Jade Hamnett

Steering Group Chair

I live in Essex, have a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and use a power chair. Having my personal budget has been life-changing.  Despite that the system can often be very complex and doesn’t always work the way it should.  As a result I became involved with trying to improve the system at a local level.  Being an employer can be very isolating, and so when I was then asked to join the ILG and connect with other employers across the UK I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to help get our voices heard.  I have had a lot of experience campaigning, lead a local access group and have worked for various charities. 

Sato Liu

Sato Liu

Steering Group Treasurer

Mostly, I feel completely out of my depth dealing with Health and Social Care issues as, prior to my partner’s health deteriorating in 2015 to the point where he required 24-hour care, this was an issue that I had not had to deal with. Once I finally overcame the various hurdles to being granted a Personal Health Budget on his behalf, we employed a team of PAs from 2017 through to his death in January 2021.

However, this was not without its difficulties and in March 2019 I submitted a complaint about the CCG to the Parliamentary Health Ombudsman. Their final report was not completed until October 2021.

For 40 years, in various roles, I have worked almost entirely in the charitable sector representing patient access to complementary medicines and therapies, which also involved lobbying both in the UK and Europe. I was a patient representative on the Parliamentary Group for Integrated Health from 1989 until 2017.

Although now retired, I continue to be involved in many aspects of this work on a voluntary basis.

When I needed support as an employer I was lucky enough to find it via my local DP support team but many are not so fortunate or simply do not have the energy to fight when they are let down by a public body.  I hope that bringing my experience to the ILG community steering group can help other individual employers who might one day find themselves in a position similar to mine.

Brett Bignall

Brett Bignall

Steering Group Welsh Rep

Brett has worked as a direct payments adviser for over 20 years and is a DP user himself.

He is a self-confessed employment law nerd with a keen interest in law and social policy. He helped set up the forerunner to direct payments in Wales in 1997.

In his spare time, he loves visiting friends and family across the country on a regular basis.

He is engaged to his fiancée Sian and their currently busy planning their wedding! He loves TV drama, soaps and cars.

Susan Henshall

Susan Henshall

Steering Group Northern Ireland Rep

Susan has assisted her disabled adult son administer his direct payment package since 2014 and is passionate about personalised safe care & support. She is also a member of Families Involved Northern Ireland ,FINI, which is an informal network of families and family carers across the whole of Northern Ireland seeking to be involved in the planning of services to meet the needs of our disabled family members both adults and children in addition to advocating for their rights to be treated as equal citizens.

Vici Richardson

Vici Richardson

Steering Group Member

Vici lives just North of Newcastle in a seaside village in Southeast Northumberland. She has worked with hundreds of disabled people and their families over the last 13 years. Working as part of Disability Norths Direct Payment Service. 

Recently appointed as Disability North's Chief Exec inclusion, choice and control is something that is extremely important to her not only in her paid role but also as a Mum to a disabled young man. 

"My son has Duchenne muscular dystrophy we w has direct payments since he was 11. He's now 20 and his support has developed with him. Having good person centered support to live his life makes an amazing difference. The key is being allowed that control and trust from the local authority and ensuring you have the flexibility that direct payments allow. "

Pauline Bailey

Pauline Bailey

Steering Group Member

Pauline believes it is important that we look after our loved ones out of love and not an obligation. She has been an Advocate over the last 18 years, to claim the right benefits, draft POAs and get them fully recognised, write Wills, family and property trusts, draft court of protection documents, and challenge hospitals for safe discharge.

She does this while looking after her elderly mother with mental health issues and her father with vascular dementia during the last 13 years she has been able to add experience and knowledge of Local authority and NHS funding and how many individuals are being denied a personal health budget and are kept on direct payments due to emotional intimidation by Social Workers who do not encourage assessments to allow us unknowingly to be paying for care when we shouldn’t be. Pauline has been Advocate attending CHC assessments, challenging and appealing decisions since 2015, she feels she has a lot to bring to the group and is open to who needs to speak to her.

Wendy Burt

Wendy Burt

Steering Group Member

Wendy is a mum to two sons with additional needs. She says, “my sons are amazing men one being a black belt in martial arts the other an avid West Ham supporter with a paid job.”

Wendy undertook the Partners in Policymaking leadership course in 2005 which she describes as life changing. She has coordinated the Essex Carers Network since 2007 which is a network of families caring for a family member with a learning disability which may include autism too. Wendy says, “Many of our families employ staff to support their family member and have experienced the good and the not so good side of doing this. As a network we want to make sure our families experiences help to inform what policy and practice looks like going forwards and we feel that ILG Community is a great vehicle to support this."

Wendy is passionate about true coproduction and wants to see a community where everyone belongs.

Sarah Rose

Sarah Rose

Steering Group Member

Sarah lives in East Sussex and has a severe form of Congenital Muscular Dystrophy called Ullrich CMD. She has been employing PAs for 23 years. As her needs have changed, Sarah’s care is now funded by NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC). via a PHB. 

Having 24hr support in place has meant she can live independently, work and travel - essentially it provides the foundations needed to get on with living life. Sarah manages her own care and employment responsibilities. She has a number of other voluntary roles including being Trustee Co-chair of Pathfinders Neuromuscular Alliance and part of the Peer Leadership Network. Sarah enjoys crosswords, crafting and spending time with family and friends in her free-time. 

Our Partners

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ILG Community?

A free national group for PA employers across the UK. The group is open to those that employ PAs directly or those who run a budget for someone else.  Any funding source is welcome including self-funders or those who get their funding via Social Services or the NHS.

We cover the whole of the UK and have representatives for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We offer peer support and provide resources via a Facebook group and members’ website.

How is the group funded?

Independent Living Group provided ILG Community with some start-up funding, which the steering group manages. How the group uses this funding is decided by the ILG Steering Group and the wider membership.

What does ILG Community do?

The steering group meets monthly to set our agenda and work on current projects. This past year we have focused on putting the building blocks in place to run the group. Individual members of the steering group attend various meetings to put forward the needs of PA employers. This includes meeting regularly with the Department of Health and Social Care, other existing organisations, regional peer support groups, meetings run by local councils and more.  We have spoken at the House of Lords.

Do I have to be a Mark Bates Ltd policy holder to join the ILG Community?

No. Any individual employer of PAs can join the ILG Community. It is a seperate and independent group. 

Why should I join the ILG Community?

The ILG Community is led by a steering group of individual employers in the interests of individual employers. The Facebook group is a place where you can reach out to others for support and ask the steering group for guidance and support. The ILG Community have a mission to ensure the voice of PA employers is not left unheard. By joining the community, you will stay informed and have access to a variety of ILG support documents and useful info for employers.

How do I sign up?

To join the community, click the “join us” link above and follow the instructions for full access to our suite of resources and archived docs. You will then be directed to join the ILG employer private Facebook group.

What if I don't have Facebook?

You will still have access to our great suite of documents, newsletter archive, podcasts and more. You will also be added to our mailing list and be able to contact the steering group via the “ask the steering group” tab in the members area.

Don't Be Shy

If we didn’t answer all of your questions, feel free to drop us a line anytime.