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Chief Social Worker and PSWs give guidance on ‘proportional’ assessments

Chief Social Worker for Adults Lyn Romeo and the Adult Principal Social Worker Network have provided new guidance following the expanded use of different means to carry out care and support needs assessments.

16/08/23

Chief Social Worker and PSWs give guidance on ‘proportional’ assessments

New guidance has been issued to professionals on using flexibility and innovation in approaches to adult social care assessments.

Chapter 6 of The Care Act 2014 states that: “an ‘assessment’ must always be appropriate and proportionate. It may come in different formats and can be carried out in various ways,” but new guidance issued by the Chief Social Worker for Adults and the Adult Principal Social Worker Network aims to add clarity saying that “proportionality should be person-centred”.

Writing in a blog for the Department of Health and Social Care, Chief Social Worker for Adults Lyn Romeo said professionals are using new approaches to engage with people, but that support is needed to develop these approaches and ensure proportionality in assessment and intervention.

“Practitioners are always keen to reduce bureaucracy and streamline ways of getting things done to allow more time to talk with people, listen deeply with empathy and apply their extensive knowledge of available resources,” Romeo said. “They need the space to consider how best to garner those resources to support people to live well in their communities for as long as possible.

“Many more of us complete information online now and professionals have been empowered though these opportunities to virtually engage with people. They can complement home visits, but of course can't replace the richness and depth of assessment seeing someone in their home environment brings.”

Th guide offers a series of suggestions and case studies to help practitioners, their local authorities and trusts consider the positive lessons learned and opportunities from the pandemic to adjust practice in a person-centred way, including how to conform to principles of a good assessment under the framework of the Care Act 2014.

“Local authority practitioner capacity should be deployed as effectively as possible, especially where demand for assessments is high and assessor time is limited, ensuring that social worker time focuses on supporting people with more complex needs and circumstances,” the guidance states.

“Ensuring the optimum ratio of qualified staff to other social care staff who are undertaking assessments, care and support planning and reviews will be essential in responding in a timely way to people needing care and support.

“Social work assistants, social care assessors and social work apprentices, as well as those staff involved as ‘trusted’ assessors from third parties, should have access to supervision from regulated professionals who can ensure assessments are of good quality and comply with the Care Act.”

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