Care Act Assessment & The Care Pathway

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Once you have received a diagnosis you are eligible to receive a Care Act Assessment. This is completed by Adult Social Care in your area.

The Care Act: Assessment and Eligibility

The Care Act 2014 sets out in one place, local authorities’ duties in relation to assessing people’s needs and their eligibility for publicly funded care and support.

Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities must:

  • Carry out an assessment of anyone who appears to require care and support, regardless of their likely eligibility for state-funded care
  • Focus the assessment on the person’s needs and how they impact on their wellbeing, and the outcomes they want to achieve
  • Involve the person in the assessment and, where appropriate, their carer or someone else they nominate
  • Provide access to an independent advocate to support the person’s involvement in the assessment if required
  • Consider other things besides care services that can contribute to the desired outcomes (e.g. preventive services, community support)
  • Use the new national minimum threshold to judge eligibility for publicly funded care and support.

The Care Act: Desired Outcomes

These are the outcomes a person aspires to achieve in order to live a day-to-day life that maintains or improves their wellbeing. They will differ from one person to the next due to the fact that everyone’s hobbies, relationships, needs, and situations are unique to them.

The assessment should focus on the outcomes below:

  • Managing and maintaining nutrition
  • Maintaining personal hygiene
  • Managing toilet needs
  • Being appropriately clothed
  • Being able to make use of the home safely
  • Maintaining a habitable home environment
  • Developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • Accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
  • Making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community, including public transport, and recreational facilities or services
  • Carrying out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child.

Source and full information: Social Care Institute for Excellence

What to do next

You (or someone on your behalf) need to telephone adult social care, you will then speak to the duty team. Ask for a Care Act Assessment. Tell them you have a diagnosis of autism and why you feel you need help and support, they will ask you questions to find out the information they need. If you do not have a diagnosis, or are seeking a diagnosis, you are still entitled to a care act assessment if you feel you are eligible.

You should tell them about the difficulties you are having because of your autism. They may ask you about any help or support you are already receiving from family or friends. If you are not receiving any help or if they are having their own difficulties, it is important that you tell them this too. 

If you are offered free generic community services that you feel may not be appropriate for you, you can insist on having a care act assessment.

The Care Act states that the social worker appointed to you should have knowledge and experience of autism. This is to ensure that they are best able to assess your needs. You can ask for a social worker with this experience.

The Assessment​

A social worker will contact you to complete an assessment of need (this is a big form). If you do not want to do this over the telephone you can arrange an appointment for them to visit you. 

The social worker will come to your home (or a location of your choice) to complete the assessment (sometimes over a number of visits). This assessment will identify any areas where you may need support. 

Before the meeting it may be helpful to talk to someone you know and trust and make a list of the things you are finding difficult to help you remember. It is a good idea for this person to be with you when the social worker visits as they can help you to answer the questions.

The social worker will ask about your strengths (things you are good at) your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, your long-term goals and what you would like to do, and any support or help you are already receiving.

The social worker may offer you a care act self-assessment form that you complete yourself; you can say no to this and request a visit to carry out the assessment with the social worker.

What happens next?

Once an assessment has been completed, the Social Care team will decide if you meet the eligibility criteria, dependent on your level of need.

They may signpost you to free services, or groups that are already available in the local community. If you feel that you would not be able to access these groups you need to tell them. They may also decide that you would benefit from services such as Specialist Autism Services, and they may pay for this service. They may decide that you need a combination of these types of support. 

There are different ways that the council may pay for services, you may be given a personal budget to pay for support services, this could be in the form of Direct Payments or an Individual Service Fund or the council may pay the support services directly. In all of these cases, you may need to make a financial contribution, this is dependent on your income or benefits you receive. They will carry out a financial assessment. It is important that you mention all the additional expenses you have to pay due to the impact of your autism and any sensory differences you may have.

When you request an assessment you should be given information about your local authority’s complaints and appeals system. If you feel that any decision that was made is unfair, please use this system to appeal.

If you do not fit the eligibility criteria, self-funding is also an option.

Your social worker will then give you a Care Plan, outlining who will be providing services, when, and what those services are expected to provide for you.

Contact your local Adult Social Care


01274 435400


01132 224 401


01904 555 111


01422 393000