Social care

A guide to adult social care services

Adult social care services can help and support you to live safely and independently by providing the practical support you need to have a full life.

Who can get adult social care services?

To find out if you are eligible for adult social care services, ask your local authority for an assessment of your care needs.

Contact your council and ask for the adult services team. The local authority has a legal duty to carry out an assessment of residents who may need community care services once it becomes aware of this need.

Short assessments

Some councils ask a few questions to work out if you're eligible for social care services before agreeing to carry out a full assessment.

If you are refused an assessment but think you may be entitled to community care services, write to request one, clearly stating the reasons why you think you need a full assessment. Ask the local authority to provide written reasons for a refusal.

If you are assessed as not having eligible needs you should still be given information and advice about your options. Find out about carer’s assessments.

Fair Access to Care Services (FACS)

Once your needs have been identified, the local authority will decide if you will receive support. The council makes this decision using government guidance called Fair Access to Care Services (FACS). It's a framework for assessing your needs, risks to your independence and for deciding how much support you will receive. It applies to all local authorities in England.

There are four bands of eligibility: critical, substantial, moderate and low. Because of funding cuts local authorities do not have the resources to meet everyone’s needs. Most will only provide services to people who are assessed as having substantial or critical needs.

Further information