What Is The Time Limit For Carrying Out A Community Care Assessment?

It took me ages to find this....

There is no set time limit for carrying out an assessment in the Care Act 2014 or in the Statutory Guidance. However, paragraph 6.29 of the Care And Support Statutory Guidance provides:-

6.29 An assessment should be carried out over an appropriate and reasonable timescale taking into account the urgency of needs and a consideration of any fluctuation in those needs. Local authorities should inform the individual of an indicative timescale over which their assessment will be conducted and keep the person informed throughout the assessment process.

This means that assessment should be completed, which should include providing a report or record of the outcome of the assessment within a timeframe appropriate to the needs of the applicant. This could give rise to a very short timescale in an urgent case.

Where support is needed urgently councils can be required to provide this before completion of an assessment - see the case of R (AA) v Lambeth LBC [2001] EWHC Admin 741, QBD. That case was before the Care Act 2014 was introduced but Forbes J stated at [14]‑[17]

"Nothing shall prevent an authority from temporarily providing or arranging the provision of community care services for any person without carrying out a prior assessment of needs if, in the opinion of the authority, the condition of that person is such that he or she requires those services as a matter of urgency"

Section 19(3) of the Care Act 2014 contains a wider power to provide services in urgent cases, before completing an assessment but it is still contingent on the local authority forming the view that the situation is urgent; therefore, the overarching power of the High Court to grant interim relief remains important. It states:

19 (3) A local authority may meet an adult’s needs for care and support which appear to it to be urgent (regardless of whether the adult is ordinarily resident in its area) without having yet—

(a)carried out a needs assessment or a financial assessment, or

(b)made a determination under section 13(1).

What is the source of a local authority duty to carry out a Community Care Assessment?

The duty to carried out an assessment as to whether a person is in need of support services arises under Section 9 of the Care Act 2010 which provides

Where it appears to a local authority that an adult may have needs for care and support, the authority must assess—

(a)whether the adult does have needs for care and support, and

(b)if the adult does, what those needs are.

A similar duty in relation to assess whether a carer has a need for support arises under Section 10 of the Act 

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For Support under the Care Act 2014?

Simple Answer

To be eligible for support services the person must be an adult with a medical condition which means that they are unable to achieve at least two of the outcomes set out in the national eligibility criteria.

Detailed Answer

Section 13 of the Care Act 2014 provides that where some of an adults needs for support services meet the eligibility criteria the local authority must consider what could be done to meet the needs.

The Act itself does not set out what the eligibility criteria are but refers at Section 13 (7) (a) to these being set out in regulations. The criteria are set out at Paragraph 2 of the The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2015 and are known as the National Eligibility Criteria

The effect of the Act and the Regulations is that adults will be eligible for support under the Care Act 2014 if they have needs which arise from or are related to a physical or mental impairment or illness as a result of which he or she is unable to achieve two or more of the outcomes listed below and as a consequence there is, or is likely to be, a significant impact on the adult’s well-being. The Act does not apply to children. Their rights are set out in the Children Act 1989.

Further details are set out in the  the Care and Support Statutory Guidance  which sets out Paragraph 6.123 the following:-

Criteria Examples of how to interpret the criteria
(i) carrying out any caring responsibilities the carer has for a child Local authorities should consider any parenting or other caring responsibilities the carer has for a child in addition to their caring role for the adult. For example, the carer might be a grandparent with caring responsibilities for their grandchildren while the grandchildren’s parents are at work.
(ii) providing care to other persons for whom the carer provides care Local authorities should consider any additional caring responsibilities the carer may have for other adults. For example, a carer may also have caring responsibilities for a parent in addition to caring for the adult with care and support needs.
(iii) maintaining a habitable home environment Local authorities should consider whether the condition of the carer’s home is safe and an appropriate environment to live in and whether it presents a significant risk to the carer’s wellbeing. A habitable home should be safe and have essential amenities such as water, electricity and gas.
(iv) managing and maintaining nutrition Local authorities should consider whether the carer has the time to do essential shopping and to prepare meals for themselves and their family.
(v) developing and maintaining family or other significant personal relationships Local authorities should consider whether the carer is in a position where their caring role prevents them from maintaining key relationships with family and friends or from developing new relationships where the carer does not already have other personal relationships.
(vi) engaging in work, training, education or volunteering Local authorities should consider whether the carer can continue in their job, and contribute to society, apply themselves in education, volunteer to support civil society or have the opportunity to get a job, if they are not in employment.
(vii) making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community Local authorities should consider whether the carer has an opportunity to make use of the local community’s services and facilities and for example consider whether the carer has time to use recreational facilities such as gyms or swimming pools.
(viii) engaging in recreational activities Local authorities should consider whether the carer has leisure time, which might for example be some free time to read or engage in a hobby.


The Social Care Institute for Excellence has also provided this useful guidance