Fair access to care services (FACS): prioritising eligibility for care and support

Assessment - Personalisation and the assessment process: implications for practice

The purpose of a community care assessment is to identify and evaluate an individual’s presenting needs and how these needs impose barriers to that person’s independence and/or wellbeing. Information derived from an individual’s assessment should be used to inform decisions on eligibility.

(‘Response to the first contact and assessment’, DH, 2010, para 78)

Simon’s story – good assessment the foundation of stability and quality of life

Simon, aged 39, lives in the community. He needs considerable support because of his learning difficulties and health problems. Assessments of Simon’s needs produced a combination of family care with support from a third sector organisation. Over the years his support has been reassessed to meet his changing needs. Careful assessment has enabled Simon to have a good quality of life, to remain integral to his family and to follow his interests in gardening, ecology and arts for the past 15 years.

The section of the 2010 DH Guidance headed ‘Response to the first contact and assessment’ outlines good practice when undertaking assessments. The guidance makes it clear that assessing the needs of groups with particular conditions (e.g. deaf-blind people) must be undertaken by staff with the necessary specialist expertise in that area. Staff should:

The Care Bill includes provision to establish national eligibility criteria for adult care and support. This is to be achieved through regulations to be made under a power in Clause 13. These will set a minimum threshold for people’s care and support needs which must be met by local authorities in all areas. Local authorities will not be able to restrict eligibility beyond this threshold, but if they wish to do so they can meet other needs which are below the national threshold. The government proposes to set the national threshold at a level equivalent to ‘substantial’ in the current system. This is the level currently operated by the vast majority of local authorities.


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