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Assessment: Brief Guide (2023)

Published: 01/03/2023

Author: McNamara R


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McNamara R. (2023). Assessment: Brief Guide (2023). Dartington: Research in Practice.



What is… an adult social care assessment?

An adult social care assessment is a process which identifies what you want to achieve in order to maintain or improve your wellbeing, whilst having as much independence and control over your day-to-day life as possible. The things you want to achieve that support your wellbeing are often referred to as your 'individual outcomes'.

The purpose of assessment is to ensure that you have the right information and support to achieve your individual outcomes. This includes:

  • Finding out what is already helping you to achieve your outcomes and what could be better.
  • Identifying where and how you can get the care and support you need.
  • Deciding who is best to provide the care and support you need.
  • Working out whether you are entitled to financial help towards the cost of services.

Under the Care Act 2014, your local council has a duty to carry out an adult social care assessment with anybody they are aware of who seems to need care or support.

The council must also carry out an assessment with anybody who asks for one. This law applies to:

  • adults over the age of 18
  • people who are unpaid carers for adults
  • young people approaching 18 years of age who may need care and support as an adult.

This guide focuses on assessment for adults over the age of 18 and young people approaching the age of 18. If you are a carer, your council can provide you with specific information about assessment for carers.

If you have had an assessment in the past, but your circumstances have since changed, you can ask for a new assessment.

To ask for an assessment, you or someone who supports you can contact your local council’s adult social services. Details of how to contact them will be available in local council offices and on their website. Your GP surgery will also have the information you need.

This guide has been produced by Research in Practice. We are a charity that uses evidence from research, expertise from practice and people’s experience to help understand adult social care and to improve how it works.


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Professional Standards

CQC - Responsive

PCF - Professionalism | Rights, justice and economic wellbeing

RCOT - Service users | Support development

February 2023 (2nd edition, first published March 2018)