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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. 

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.”

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. 

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.

Josh Hepple

Josh Hepple

Steering Group Member

Josh Hepple is an equality trainer and consultant who has severe cerebral palsy. His impairment affects his speech and mobility and he relies on personal assistants 24/7. This website is about his journalism and equality training. He loves his cockapoo, Jake. 

The prejudice that Josh has faced has given him great empathy for marginalised groups; especially disabled and LGBT people.

Josh has been a theatre reviewer and an equality trainer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for many years. His Equality Training sessions are based on the social model of disability.

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.

Vici Richardson

Vici Richardson

Steering Group Member

Bio to follow.

Our Partners

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Independent Living Group (ILG)?

The Independent Living Group (ILG) is a company developed to support individual employers and those that support them. It was initially developed by Mark Bates Ltd (MBL) as a tool to support the Direct Payment recipients they insured. The ILG has since developed and now a stand-alone company which supports several different initiatives:


ILG Community – a free national peer support group for PA employers across the UK.

ILG Academy – providing e-learning for PAs and face to face DP training for individual employers, Direct Payment advisers and social workers.

ILG Support – a market leading legal advice service for MBL policy holders

ILG PA – providing wrap around support for self-employed PAs

ILG TA – The ILG TA is a trade association for Direct Payment support teams and professionals working in the Direct Payment sector.

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

No. Any individual employer of PAs is currently free to join the ILG Community.

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.

How do I download documents?

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.