Definition or reference in primary legislation
Care Act 2014, S.10
(1)Where it appears to a local authority that a carer may have needs for support (whether currently or in the future), the authority must assess--
(a)whether the carer does have needs for support (or is likely to do so in the future), and
(b)if the carer does, what those needs are (or are likely to be in the future).
(2)An assessment under subsection (1) is referred to in this Part as a 'carer's assessment'.
Definition or reference in Statutory Guidance
Care and Support Statutory Guidance, para 6.3
6.3 An 'assessment' must always be appropriate and proportionate. It may come in different formats and can be carried out in various ways, including but not limited to:
- a face-to-face assessment between the person and an assessor, whose professional role and qualifications may vary depending on the circumstances, but who must always be appropriately trained and have the right skills and knowledge
- a supported self-assessment, which should use similar assessment materials as used in other forms of needs or carers' assessments, but where the person completes the assessment themselves and the local authority assures itself that it is an accurate reflection of the person's needs (for example, by consulting with other relevant professionals and people who know the person with their consent)
- an online or phone assessment, which can be a proportionate way of carrying out assessments (for example where the person's needs are less complex or where the person is already known to the local authority and it is carrying out an assessment following a change in their needs or circumstances)
- a joint assessment, where relevant agencies work together to avoid the person undergoing multiple assessments (including assessments in a prison, where local authorities may need to put particular emphasis on cross-agency cooperation and sharing of expertise)
- a combined assessment, where an adult's assessment is combined with a carer's assessment and/or an assessment relating to a child so that interrelated needs are properly captured and the process is as efficient as possible.
6.5 The aim of the assessment is to identify what needs the person may have and what outcomes they are looking to achieve to maintain or improve their wellbeing. The outcome of the assessment is to provide a full picture of the individual's needs so that a local authority can provide an appropriate response at the right time to meet the level of the person's needs. This might range from offering guidance and information to arranging for services to meet those needs. The assessment may be the only contact the local authority has with the individual at that point in time, so it is critical that the most is made of this opportunity.
Digitising Social Care Glossary, v0.0.3
Anyone who is caring for another person for a substantial amount of time has the right to have a carer's assessment to identify their needs where either the person they are caring for has refused an assessment or is not receiving help from social care. The assessment is available to both adult carers and young carers.
NICE Guideline NG150 - Supporting adult carers
Anyone who is an unpaid carer for a family member or friend has the right to discuss their own needs with their local authority, separate to the needs of the person they care for. This is a statutory requirement under the Care Act 2014. Carers can discuss anything they think would help with their own health and wellbeing or with managing other aspects of their life, including their caring role. The local authority uses this information to decide what help it can offer.
Plain English definition
Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) Jargon Buster
If you are an unpaid carer for a family member or friend, you have the right to discuss with your local council what your own needs are, separate to the needs of the person you care for. You can discuss anything that you think would help you with your own health or with managing other aspects of your life. The council uses this information to decide what help it can offer you.
Source: Project team
The definition from the Digitising Social Care Glossary v0.0.3 is inaccurate in three respects, in that a carer's eligibility for assessment isn't contingent on:
- Them providing care for a 'substantial amount of time' - there is no minimum amount of time that they have to be providing care for (this appears to reference the definition of carer in the ASC Collections Data Dictionary, based on the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000, which has now been repealed)
- Whether or not the person they are caring for has refused an assessment
- Whether or not the person they are caring for is receiving help from social care
The only eligibility criterion for a carer's assessment is that you have to be 'an adult who provides or intends to provide care for another adult' (Care Act 2014, S.10(3)), and you cannot provide or intend to provide said care '(a) under or by virtue of a contract, or (b) as voluntary work' (S.10(9), but see S.10(10) for exceptions).
Whilst it is true that assessments are "available to both carers and young carers", young carer assessments are managed differently from those for adult carers - see the Care and Support (Assessment) Regulations 2014, reg 4(3), and Care and Support Statutory Guidance, paras 6.69-6.73