Changes to assessment and eligibility from April

02 February 2015

SCIE support with Care Act implementation

Assessment and eligibility is changing. The Care Act 2014 sets out in one place, local authorities’ duties in relation to assessing people’s needs and their eligibility for publicly funded care and support. Under the act, from April, local authorities must ensure that any adult who appears to require care and support - including carers with support needs - has their needs assessed. This is regardless of their likely eligibility for state-funded care.

New resources from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) have been designed to support local authority staff, social workers and others involved in assessment and eligibility. SCIE are also running training events on assessment and eligibility, starting on 20 February, in Bristol, Leeds, London and Cambridge. These events continue until the end of March.

One of the biggest changes from April is the focus on people's wellbeing at the centre of assessment/at the core of the assessment process. They will receive their own copy of the assessment, which gives a clear definition about whether care and support fits into the person’s life and preferred outcomes. The carer also will have access to a robust set of information and the user should have a better care journey.

The following resources are available now from SCIE:

  • Process map: A flowchart of the processes involved in assessment and eligibility with accompanying description of each stage
  • Supported self-assessment guide: a short guide to minimum standards and the approach to supported self-assessment
  • Ensuring assessment is proportionate guide: a guide to ensuring assessment is both proportionate and appropriate
  • Eligibility guide: a guide to what is involved in understanding and making eligibility determinations
  • Working with fluctuating needs guide: a short guide on what to consider in relation to fluctuating needs.

Fluctuating needs film

There’s also a film on fluctuating needs. Many people have had negative experiences from the ‘one size fits all’ approach of the past. Nowhere does this seem more unfair than with fluctuating needs. The film focuses on Gillian, who has Parkinson’s. Some days her symptoms amount to a ‘shake and a tremble’ but on other days she can’t move at all. She says it’s difficult to know when the fluctuations are going to occur, but that she’s learnt to pace herself. The Care Act address the issue of fluctuating needs.

SCIE’s Chief Executive, Tony Hunter, says:

The Care Act gives us a golden opportunity to focus on people’s wellbeing. We’ll be encouraging professionals to adopt a more rounded approach to assessment and eligibility. We’re moving from assessment and eligibility being too often an obscure process; to actually listening to what people have to say. Their assessment will give a clear definition about whether care and support fits into their life and preferred outcomes. These resources will soon be joined by others; please use them to support you with your Care Act responsibilities on assessment and eligibility.

Assessment should be proportionate and appropriate to individual situations. They can be undertaken through different methods e.g. face to face, supported self-assessment, online or by phone. They can also include a joint assessment with multiple agencies, or combined assessment where the person's assessment is combined with a carer’s assessment and/or an assessment relating to a child.

Links for this news release

Media Contact

Steve Palmer, Press and Public Affairs Manager
Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: steve.palmer@scie.org.uk