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Care Act 2014

Section 9 – Assessment of an adult’s needs for care and support

90.This section requires a local authority to carry out an assessment, which is referred to as a “needs assessment”, where it appears that an adult may have needs for care and support. The objective of the needs assessment is to determine whether the adult has care and support needs and what those needs may be. It is the mechanism by which local authorities assess whether a person requires some form of care and support, and whether the nature of their needs is such that the local authority will be under a duty to meet them (in other words, whether the person has “eligible” needs). Whether or not a person has eligible needs, they will receive tailored information on the services available in their local community to help meet the needs they do have.

91.Subsection (3) makes it clear that the local authority must carry out the assessment wherever it appears that an adult may have needs for care and support, whether or not it thinks the adult has eligible needs, and regardless of the adult’s financial resources.

92.Subsection (4) stipulates that the assessment must consider how the person’s needs impact on their well-being and the outcomes that an individual wishes to achieve in day-to-day life: for example, being able to live at home and feed themselves, and whether care and support can help them to meet those outcomes.

93.Subsection (5) requires the local authority to involve the adult, any carer they may have, and anyone else the adult may ask to be involved in the needs assessment. Where a person lacks capacity the local authority must also involve any person who appears to be interested in the individual’s welfare. The intention is to allow the adult to set the outcomes they wish to achieve and to be fully involved throughout the assessment process. Where the adult would otherwise face difficulty in being involved in the process, for example due to communication problems, and they do not have anyone to support them, the adult will be entitled to the support of an advocate to assist them (as provided for in section 67).

94.Subsection (6) requires the local authority to consider whether and to what extent matters other than the provision of care and support could help them reach the outcomes they want to achieve. This might include the adult’s own capabilities and what they may be able to do themselves to achieve those outcomes.

95.It also requires local authorities to consider whether the adult would benefit from its prevention or information and advice services (provided under sections 2 or 4) or any other services that might be available in the community. For example the local authority may consider it would benefit the adult to undergo a reablement programme, and this could take place in parallel with the assessment process.

96.The section brings together a number of existing powers and duties to create a single legal basis for assessment, including section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970; section 4 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 and section 47(1) of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990.

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