what to expect when contracting
You could consider contracting with a Paid Carer, this is something many of us are more familiar with as generally we contract with cleaners, gardeners, babysitters etc.
As a contractor the Paid Carer will be self employed or have their own company set up. They will agree the hours that they work with you rather then you telling them the hours that they work. They can also have the right to send a substitute if they are unable to attend due to sickness or holiday (although you may wish to agree how this type of thing is handled so you don't have a stranger turning up for work).
Paid Carers who are contracted by you to provide services take on a lot more of the paperwork than those who are employed. They will need to make sure that they have insurance (it is still recommended that you get insurance too), they will be responsible for paying their Tax and National Insurance, they will be responsible for providing their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and they will be responsible for making sure they have all the proper policies and procedures in place.
Paid Carers who are contracted to work with you only get paid when they are working, therefore you are not responsible for paying them sick pay or holiday pay. As a result it would not be unreasonable for a Paid Carer who is contracting with you to expect to be paid a higher hourly rate than one that is employed by you.
A contractor will usually present you with an invoice for payment on a weekly or monthly basis, this invoice may or may not include VAT, depending on whether they are VAT registered (something that you will want to check when you interview them).
You should always ensure that you have taken the relevant precautions when contracting with someone, which would include taking references from other clients or previous employers regarding their suitability to provide the services they are offering and of course seeing a current DBS check (formerly known as CRB checks).
You should also ensure that you have a contract in place for the services that you have mutually agreed that they will provide. This type of contract is different from an employment contract, but it stipulates the rules of the relationship between you and your Carer.