What makes an assessment appropriate and proportionate? - Ensuring assessment is appropriate and proportionate

Appropriateness requires the local authority to ensure the assessment process is adapted to the person’s circumstances, needs (communication needs, level of complexity, etc.) and preferences.

In order to ensure that the assessment is appropriate, it must be person-centred, collaborative and involve a transparent and understandable process. The assessment process is intended to be flexible, and can be adapted to ensure that the individual or their carer is involved as much as they wish to be and as is practicable.

All appropriate assessments are collaborative and should allow the adult with care and support needs or their carer to be able to:

If the individual or their carer has difficulty with any of the above, appropriate assistance should be provided.

In advance of the assessment, it may be helpful to give the individual or carer a list of questions to be covered: this helps them to prepare and to think about their needs and the outcomes they want to achieve in their day-to-day lives.

The timeframe over which to carry out the assessment should be appropriate and reasonable, taking into account the extent of urgent needs as well as whether and how needs might fluctuate. Local authorities should provide the individual with an indicative timescale for the assessment, and continue to keep the individual informed throughout.

Proportionality means that the assessment is only as intrusive as it needs to be to establish an accurate picture of the needs of the individual or their carer, regardless of whatever method of assessment is used – i.e. supported self-assessment, face-to-face assessment or other. This will involve:

Needs may well differ in their breadth and depth, meaning:

The aim of carrying out assessment proportionately is to ensure that assessment is not overly burdensome and recognises the individual’s and their carer’s own knowledge and capacity.

Proportionate assessment and integration

Care Act guidance states that the care and support responsibilities of local authorities must promote greater integration with the NHS and other services (e.g. housing, the voluntary sector, adult mental health professionals, relevant professionals in the criminal justice system). Local authorities and their partners must focus on joining up around an individual, to avoid multiple assessments taking place at different times, which could be disproportionate.

An effective integrated assessment could mean:

  • carrying out an assessment jointly with another body if the adult with care and support needs or their carer agrees
  • the local authority carrying out an assessment on behalf of another body where this has been agreed
  • local authorities and the NHS working together in a high quality, coordinated assessment.

See Chapter 15 of the Guidance for more information.