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Assessment of needs under the Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 sets out local authorities’ duties when assessing people’s care and support needs.

This resource supports care practitioners and answers their questions about assessment and determination of eligibility under the Care Act. It also provides practical guidance over what they should do when applying the letter and spirit of this law.

For brevity and simplicity, throughout this resource the term ‘assessment under the Care Act’ is used to refer to either a Care Act assessment of:

  • an individual’s needs for care and support
  • a carer’s needs for support.

What duties do local authorities have in assessing people’s care and support needs, as set out in the Care Act 2014?

Section 9 of the Care Act 2014 informs that local authorities must:

  • carry out an assessment of anyone who appears to have needs for care and support, regardless of whether those needs are likely to be eligible
  • focus the assessment on the person’s needs and how they impact on their wellbeing, and the outcomes they want to achieve
  • involve the person in the assessment and, where appropriate, their carer and/or someone else they nominate
  • provide access to an independent advocate to support the person’s involvement in the assessment, if required
  • consider other things besides care services that can contribute to the desired outcomes (e.g. preventive services, community support).

The Health and Social Care Bill White Paper acknowledges that the spirit of the Care Act is not being fully realised with regard to promoting individual wellbeing, and supporting people with care and support needs to live their lives in the way that they want. There is still work to be done operationally, to understand the duty of promoting individual wellbeing underlying every care and support function. This resource provides operational guidance on how to do this.

What is an assessment under the Care Act?

Who is involved in an assessment, and when should it happen?

How to prepare for an assessment under the Care Act?

How to undertake an assessment under the Care Act?

Assessment under the Care Act: the next steps