NQSW resource - Outcome statement 4: Assessment
In this section:
Use key information to assess need.
Assessment is about critically analysing information from a range of sources to determine need, eligibility and risk. Ideally, assessments involve a collaborative process, ensuring people participate and take as much control as possible in identifying their own needs. From the social work point of view, all professional judgements should be balanced and substantiated. Moreover, a perspective that sees the 'whole system' and the interconnected nature of the parts is critical to getting a sense of what is going on.
Assessment: Key practice points
- There may be tensions and conflict within the team or with the people who use services/carers that need to be recognised. Your assessment should record any areas of conflict or disagreement.
- You need an understanding of the culture, ethnicity and heritage of those with whom you are working to ensure the right support is identified. The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) multimedia learning resource Getting it right: assessments for black and minority ethnic carers and service users offers some suggestions.
- You need to balance the rights of people to decide the risks they want to take, and how to manage them, while ensuring well-being and safety.
- Self-directed support emphasises the importance of self-assessment. In Controls' My money self-assessment discusses self-assessment and resource allocation.
- Gaining and recording consent from those with whom you are working to gather and share information with others is also important.
- Applying and understanding a range of communication methods will enable you to maximise the involvement of those who are using the service.
- A familiarity with national and local policy contexts is essential. The Department of Health's Prioritising need in the context of Putting people first: a whole system approach to eligibility for social care - guidance on eligibility criteria for adult social care for England 2010 sets out national guidance.
The policy emphasis is on detailed, accurate, collaborative assessments. You are expected to demonstrate your skill in engaging with people, their families, carers and advocates, to ensure they have the right information with which to make an informed decision. SCIE's Fair access to care services (FACS) e-learning materials apply the principles of personalisation and are designed to ensure good practice and help you consider all the elements that comprise a good assessment.
We hope you will find this material helpful in your first year as a social worker. However, we recognise that this will not provide you with all the answers. You will need to discuss your practice with your supervisor, raise any ethical dilemmas and be reflective in your work. Use the Portfolio (Word file) document to record your reflection on this outcome statement.