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Section 3: Needs and eligibility

3.1 What is a needs assessment?


A needs assessment is a discussion between you (or the person you look after if you are a carer) and a trained person either from the council or another organisation that the council works with, where you will talk about the care and support needs you have and the goals you want to achieve. In most cases assessments will be undertaken face to face. We will use the assessment to identify your care and support needs, and to discuss how these could be met. This might mean that the council will give you help or put you in touch with other organisations, such as local charities, that you can talk to.


Assessments must be carried out by trained assessors and will consider a number of factors, such as:

  • the person’s needs and how they impact on their wellbeing – for instance, a need for help with getting dressed or support to get to work
  • the outcomes that matter to the person – for example, whether they are lonely and want to make new friends
  • the person’s other circumstances – for example, whether they live alone or someone supports them

The aim of an assessment is to get a full picture of you and what needs and goals you may have.

3.2 Who should have a needs assessment?


If you think you have any care and support needs, you can contact the council to ask for an assessment. If you are a carer and you need some support, get in touch with the council covering the area where the person you care for lives. The council will be able to give you information and advice about how the assessment will work.

3.3 What will be considered during the needs assessment?


The needs assessment will consider what care and support needs you have and how these affect your wellbeing.  This will include identifying any physical needs, such as whether you need help to wash or dress, get in and out of bed or keep your home safe to live in. The assessment will also look at your mental and emotional needs and ask what is important to you in how you live your life, such as being able to carry on working or volunteering, or being able to meet your friends.


Everyone’s needs and the ways they affect people’s wellbeing are different.  Identifying your needs and the things you want to achieve will help us to decide if we can help. Depending on what needs you have, we may give you information and advice about other kinds of support available locally that can help you, such as charities or community groups.


If an individual who is having an adult social care assessment takes regular medication how should this be taken account of in the assessment and in the application of the eligibility criteria?

The statutory guidance is clear that medication should only be ‘incidental or ancillary’ to the meeting of eligible care and support needs. If an individual has a need for assistance with the administrating of medication this is considered a health need and is not to be taken into account as part of the eligibility criteria for care and support. In some cases where a person has been assessed as having eligible care and support needs it would be possible to include prompting the person to take their medication, if this is required, as part of their care and support plan.

3.4 Is a needs assessment the same as a carer’s assessment?


A ‘needs assessment’ is an assessment of an adult who may need care and support. A ‘carer’s assessment’ is for someone who gives care and support to an adult family member or friend. Caring can include lots of different things, like helping with their washing, dressing or eating, taking them to regular appointments or keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious.


Find out more about a carer’s assessment in Support for Carers

3.5 Can I get someone to help me with my assessment?


The assessment is about you and we will make sure that you are able to be involved.  If you wish, then your carer, a friend or family member can help and represent you.  If you don’t have a carer, family member or friend who you can ask, and you have a lot of difficulty doing the assessment yourself, the council will find an independent advocate to help you.

3.6 Will I need to be re-assessed?


The council believes that it already meets the new national minimum criteria.

So, if you are already receiving care and support from us, you will continue to receive this support and you do not need to ask for a reassessment. We will contact you if there are any changes that affect you.  If your needs have changed recently and you feel like you need more care and support, you can ask for a new assessment.

3.7 Who will do the assessment?


Lots of different people can carry out assessments – as long as they have the right training. The person doing your assessment could be a social worker, a social work assistant, an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant. We will make sure that whoever carries out your assessment has the right training.  You could also be offered a supported self-assessment. This means you do your assessment yourself with help from the council.

3.8 Will the council look into my finances?


If you are eligible for care and support from the council, you may have to pay something towards the cost. To find out how much you might need to pay, we will ask you to do a financial means test and you would then need to disclose details about your savings, assets and income.

3.9 How will I know if I have eligible needs?


For the first time, there will be a national level of care and support needs that all councils will consider when we assess what help we can give you.  See 3.9.2 for eligibility criteria.


The council will assess your care and support needs with you, and decide if they meet the Care Act’s eligibility criteria. Your needs could be eligible if you are not able to do a combination of certain things that seriously affect your wellbeing. This may include washing yourself, getting dressed, getting in and out of bed or keeping your home safe for you to live in.

To meet the Care Act’s eligibility criteria a person’s needs must meet the three following conditions:

  1. They have care and support needs as a result of a physical or mental impairment or illness
  2. Because of those needs, they cannot achieve two or more of the outcomes specified below
  3. As a consequence of being unable to achieve these outcomes there is or there is likely to be a significant impact on the adults
  • to carry out basic self-care activities as part of normal daily life, such as eating, drinking, toileting, dressing etc.
  • maintaining a habitable home environment
  • being able to make use of the home safely
  • to maintain family and other significant personal relationships with a focus on those relationships which if not maintained would significantly impact on a person’s wellbeing
  • to access and engage in work, training, education and volunteering
  • to access the facilities and services in the community, including recreational opportunities, important to the individual, and
  • to carry out any caring responsibilities for a child


After the assessment we will write to you about our decision and give you reasons to explain what we have decided.


If you have eligible needs, we will contact you to discuss what help might be available.  This will be based on the information you gave us during your assessment.  As far as possible the council will agree your care and support plan with you.


If you do not have needs that are eligible, we will give you information and advice about what care and support is available to help you locally. This could be help from local charities or voluntary organisations for example.

3.10 What happens if my needs are not eligible for care and support from the council?


Everyone’s needs are different. They may be physical, mental or emotional. You may find that the support you need could be met by something going on in your local community, for example services organised by local charities or other support networks. Whatever your level of need, we will give you information and advice that can help you. We might also be able put you in touch with other organisations who can support your wellbeing and help you remain independent for longer.

3.11 I pay for my own care, do I need to be assessed by the council?


If you have arranged care and support yourself, either in your own home or in a care home, you do not need to be assessed by the council.

3.12 Must I have a needs assessment to get a deferred payment agreement?


Not necessarily. We may decide that we don’t need to do an assessment.

3.13 How will the new national level of needs affect you if you are planning to move?


The new national level will give you peace of mind that if you decide to move to another area in England, the new council will meet at least the same minimum level of care and support needs as your old one. Councils will also have to work together to make sure that there is no gap in your care.

3.14 If I am receiving care and support and decide to move, will I lose the help I currently get?


If you have needs that meet the new national level, you will be able to get some help from your council wherever you live in England.  Although the level of need councils use to decide whether or not they can help will be the same across the country, the help they give you might be different in different areas. For example, one council might provide a buddying service to stop people from feeling lonely, whilst another might help people to stop feeling lonely by introducing them to community events in their area.

3.15 What is care and support planning?

Care and support planning is about you working with a care and support partner to think about:

  • what is important to you
  • things you can do to live well and stay well
  • what care and support you might need from others
  • care and support planning is for anyone who has health and care needs over time.

3.16 What must be included in an individual’s care and support plan?

The council must prepare a care and support plan (or a support plan, in the case of carers) that sets out the detail of how a person’s needs will be met. The plan will detail the needs to be met and how they will be met, and link back to the outcomes that you want to achieve in your day-to-day life. It’s important that your care and support plan and your assessment reflect your needs and aspirations, and what matter most to you.

Good care and support planning is central to the provision of person-centred care and support that provides people with choice and control over how to meet their needs. The council will take all steps to agree a care and support plan with the person concerned.  We will involve them and anyone else they ask to be involved in the production of the plan.

The council also recognises that it has a legal responsibility to review care and support plans to make sure that needs and outcomes continue to be met over time.