Re-assessments and reviews
An assessment is the vital starting point for getting the right decision about what support you need. Many disabled people feel that they have to put up with too many assessments. But if it’s possible your care may be cut or it’s not suitable or enough to meet your needs, then it is important to have a good assessment. This will help make sure that you get the support you need.
How to get the best out of your assessment
- If the local authority is saying they want to cut your support, ask them to provide the same care and support for you until you have been properly reassessed.
- Say that you want an assessment with a social worker or other person with specific training and understanding of your needs and condition. It should be face to face unless your needs are straightforward enough to cover everything by phone. You should receive a copy of the questions before the assessment happens. Talk to the assessor about what should go in the form. Check what they have written before it’s processed. They cannot just offer self-assessment forms that are then processed without speaking to you.
- Prepare some supporting evidence. Ask your family, friends and your doctor or other professionals who know you to write about what might happen if you lose the care you need. Check that the assessor has consulted all the relevant people who can help to explain about your needs.
- Anyone who provides you with unpaid care should be involved. They should have an assessment of their own needs as a carer. This may be friends or family, including young people. They may be entitled to support themselves so that they can continue caring for you whilst managing their own lives. You and your carers need to be clear about whether you want them to continue providing as much care, or whether this is causing problems and you need more help from outside.
- Some organisations may provide further advice on how to make your case or be able to support you at the assessment visit. A friend or family member could also accompany you. If you need help putting your views across, you can ask the local authority to provide you with an independent advocate to support you to express your concerns.
Your assessment forms and care plan
Make sure you get a copy of the completed assessment forms and care plan. The local authority must give you one. These should give clear written details of:
- the information considered in the assessment including the ‘outcomes’ that you want (the things you want to be able to do as a result of having support)
- what needs they recognise you have and whether these are eligible for support
- what your wishes are about using free support, for example from family, friends or charities
- the needs of any family or other unpaid carers, for example if they need help to continue caring for you (and their wishes about how much support they want to provide)
- what support you will get, with a clear explanation of how, in practical terms, it will meet your needs and lead to the outcomes you want
- what support carers will get, and how this will lead to the outcomes they want
- what needs are not eligible for support, and what is going to happen about these
- information and advice on what can be done to reduce your needs, and prevent or delay them developing in future
- the amount of your ‘personal budget’, which is the cost of providing your support, whether it is by direct payments or as a service from a third party provider or from social services
- any financial contribution you will be expected to make
- if you are having a direct payment to arrange some or all of your own care, the needs to be met via the direct payment and the amount and frequency of the payments.
Think about whether they have recognised all your needs and difficulties. Is there any important information they have not taken into account? There may be something they have overlooked, for example, a doctor’s letter. If so, you or your advocate or adviser can have an informal discussion with them. See if you can persuade them to change their mind without making a formal complaint. If this doesn’t work, you will need to complain – see how to complain.
Sometimes a local authority will refuse to carry out an assessment. If so, they are not giving you an opportunity to explain your needs and to ask for any extra help. It should be easy to get an assessment or reassessment when you need one.
Once you are sure that the local authority has got all the right information, and it has recorded all the necessary points in the assessment documents and care plan, you will be able to see what support they are offering and why. This will include details of which of your needs they say are ‘eligible’ for help and which are not. See eligibility for more information.
If necessary, you can complain about the failure to do an assessment, or to provide you with all the necessary information in the assessment documents and care plan – see how to complain.
Complaining about the outcome
The law requires the local authority to provide a detailed explanation of your new assessment. If they have missed out any of the information that should be included in your assessment and care plan, ask them for this in writing urgently.
If they have missed out or not properly appreciated any of your needs or difficulties, ask them to correct this. Make sure that the outcomes that are set out in your care plan are the ones you want, so that it's clear how they meet your needs.
Think about the needs identified by the local authority and their decision about whether your needs are eligible or not. Have they wrongly decided that you will still be able to meet your outcomes? Tell them how this will affect your wellbeing if you do not have support for that need. Focus on the worst case scenario that they need to take into account. Not just how things are when you are having a good day.
You may have needs and outcomes that will only have a moderate impact to start with but, if they are not met and are allowed to get worse, they are likely to become much more serious. Ask the council to meet these needs to stop you getting into a crisis. Explain that, although they may save money to start with, in the longer term they may use more money than they save if they ignore these needs.
Ask them to respond within 7 days and reinstate your previous care package until they can reply.
If this does not get the result you want, you can: