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A step-by-step guide to getting care and support

1. How do I know if I need an assessment?

Before contacting adult social care services you and your carer may want to prepare by thinking about what works well in your life and what needs to change. It may be helpful to do this with a family member, friend or someone else you trust. We know that you understand your situation and your network of support best and that sometimes small changes can help.

Think about your personal circumstances including:

  • Are you able to communicate with people you know and new people and be understood, and understand others?
  • Do you need help getting around your home, managing stairs, getting in and out of bed and chairs, or going out and about using transport?
  • Do you need help with routine, daily activities, such as shopping, laundry, changing bed linen?
  • Is your home suitable for your needs? (For example, state of repair, size of property or garden, location, inaccessible areas when moving around the home - stairs, bathrooms, kitchens, uneven floor surfaces or other environmental issues.)
  • Do you need help with meal preparation, managing dietary requirements, eating, drinking?
  • Do you need help with looking after yourself through washing, dressing, grooming, going to the toilet, managing medication?
  • Are you able to keep in touch with others, take part in social activities, go out to clubs or places of interest and worship, attend work - paid or unpaid?
  • Are you caring for others including children?
  • Do you feel safe being at home and when you are out and about? (Please think about the risks arising from memory problems; sight or hearing loss; medication; falls and accidents; difficulty recognising danger; physical or mental illness or impairment; and self-injury or neglect.)
  • Are you experiencing stress or anxiety? Does this affect your mental wellbeing, understanding and decision making? Are you able to hear and understand what people are saying, think things through and make informed decisions easily?
  • Are you able to manage your personal and household finances, including claiming welfare benefits, paying bills?

Once you have thought about these questions if you are not seeking local authority help with funding you can continue to look at the Care and Support Hub to see what help is available and consider the options. Alternatively, contact the Intake and Access Team on 020 8227 2915, email

2. When you first contact us

You can ask us to make a social care needs assessment to determine whether or not you have care and support needs. We will ask you some key questions about your life and start to work out if you might have any care and support needs.

The council believes you should be at the centre of the assessment and planning process. This is because you understand your own needs and how to meet them.

Following the assessment, we will write to you to confirm the decision on whether you are eligible for care and support from the council or what other help is available.

The questions we use in the assessment are based on eligibility criteria set out by the government, details of which are set out below.

3. How we decide who gets care and support (national eligibility criteria for those needing care and support; if you are caring for someone see below)

The Care Act 2014 has introduced a national approach to deciding if an adult is eligible for care and support based on three questions.

The first question in the national criteria is: Do you have needs due to a physical or mental impairment or illness?

This includes conditions such as physical, mental, sensory, learning or cognitive disabilities or illnesses, brain injuries and substance misuse.

The second question in the national criteria is: Because of this, are you unable to achieve two or more of the outcomes set out in the Care Act?

If you do have needs caused by physical or mental impairment or illness, the council must consider whether you are unable to achieve two or more of the following:

  • Managing and maintaining nutrition
  • Maintaining personal hygiene
  • Managing toilet needs
  • Being appropriately clothed
  • Being able to make use of your 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 you have for a child

We will also want to ask you about how you manage medication and the impact this may have on your condition.

The third question in the national criteria is: Because of this, is there likely to be a significant impact on your wellbeing?

Wellbeing is different for everyone but the Care Act suggests the following as guidelines:

  • Personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect)
  • Physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Protection from abuse and neglect
  • Control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support provided and the way it is provided)
  • Participation in work, education, training or recreation
  • Social and economic wellbeing
  • Domestic, family and personal relationships
  • Suitability of living accommodation
  • The individual’s contribution to society

If you are eligible for support:

We will work with you to arrange a support plan.

You may be required to pay for some or all of your care and support services. We will arrange for a financial assessment to be undertaken. This will determine whether the council is able to fund some or all of your services, or whether you need to contribute towards some or all of these costs.

If you are not eligible for support:

You may feel you would benefit from some other assistance. Based on the information you provided for your assessment we will send you information which may be of interest to you, Further information and options can be found on the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s Care and Support Hub.

However, we know that people’s needs change. If your circumstances change, please contact the Intake and Access Team on 020 8227 2915, or by email at

4. Care at home

If you are living in your own home and need paid carers we think you should be in control. You can arrange and pay for your own care and support; those who pay the full care costs are known as 'self-funders'. To find out more about paying for your care visit: paying for care and support below

Alternatively following your assessment the council may pay for the full cost of your care or you may be asked to pay for some of your support. Self directed support and personal budgets make this possible. Self Directed Support is the way we arrange Adult Social Care services in Barking and Dagenham. We think you are in the best place to decide how you spend your Personal Budget (the money that you receive for care and support). You decide which services you want to have, who you want them from, and when you want them.

Find out more about Personal Budgets and Self Directed.

5. Where you live

If you no longer feel able to maintain your current home, you may want to consider other housing options, which offer increased levels of support. There is a wide range of accommodation available locally, some run by the council and others by housing associations, charities and private companies.

Find out more about housing options, residential and nursing homes in Barking and Dagenham.

6. If you are not able to make your own decisions

In line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 we believe that if you are aged 16 or over, you are able to make decisions for yourself.

If you are not able to make your own decisions, and we have to take action on your behalf, we will do this in your best interests. If we need to do this, we will discuss your needs with anyone who has 'power of attorney'. This is where, in certain circumstances, someone is legally allowed to make decisions for you to act on your behalf. If you have no substitute decision-maker, such as someone with a Lasting Power of Attorney, the Court of Protection can look at your situation and decide how decisions should be made and by whom.

7. Advocacy

Some people need help to support them and to speak on their behalf – this is known as advocacy.

Find out more about advocacy services.

8. Caring for someone?

If you are a carer you are entitled to an assessment of your own needs even if the person you care for is not in contact with Adult and Community Services. For more information go to:

Find our more about caring for someone.

9. Involving other professionals in your assessments

Health and social care professionals will work together to assess your needs to deliver services. With your consent, we will share information about your situation with those involved in helping you. This means that you should not be asked the same questions by different professionals and we can coordinate our services better.

10. Your support plan (also known as care plan)

A support plan helps you think about how you want to use your personal budget in order to get the care and support you need. It includes information that helps us to determine your budget.

11. Paying for your care and support services

Care and support services are not free. Many people have to pay something towards their own care and some will have to pay for all of the costs. See

You can find lots of information on the NHS Choices website about paying for you care.

You can also find out about ways to pay for care in Barking and Dagenham here.

How to appeal against a decision about your care and support services link

12. Review

Why do we review your services?

We recognise that your needs may change over time so it is important to keep your support plan under review.

What is a review?

A review will be arranged by a social worker to look at the support you receive to make sure it is meeting your needs. If your needs have changed, we will re-assess them and decide what support you need. Your support may stay the same, increase or you may get less support or different types of support. The review will also give you a chance to discuss the quality of care you receive.

How often will I get a review?

You can expect to have a review once a year. However, we know that people’s needs change. If your circumstances change, please contact the Intake and Access Team on 020 8227 2915, or by email at

Who will be involved in the review?

The review will involve you and a social worker and the following if appropriate:

  • Your care provider
  • Your carer or relatives (if you wish)
  • An advocate
  • Your GP

You are the most important person at the review. We will always ask who you wish to be present at the review.

What will happen if the social worker decides my support needs have changed?

If the social worker decides your needs have changed we will talk to you about this at the review.

If you are not happy with the decisions made at the review you can talk to the social worker. They will answer your questions about your assessment and why you are no longer entitled to the same level of support.

If you are still not happy with the decision you can complain using the process outlined below.

13. Comments, compliments and complaints

We want you to tell us when we have got things right and also when we could have done things better or differently. We try hard to make your care and support as good as possible. If you are not happy about the way you have been treated, you have a right to complain.

Find out more about Comments, compliments and complaints.

Jargon buster

The Care and Support Hub aims to use plain English and avoid jargon, however if you still need some help we suggest this "jargon buster" developed by the Think Local, Act Personal organisation will help you.

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