What could go wrong with the assessment?

There are a number of things that could go wrong during the assessment process. For example:

  • you may have been refused a care needs assessment
  • you may not be satisfied with your assessment or your care and support plan
  • you may think your personal budget isn’t high enough to meet your needs
  • you think you’re being charged too much
  • you’re concerned about the quality of services you’re receiving
  • you’ve been waiting a long time for equipment or adaptations to be put in place
  • you’re not getting the services you need
  • your current care package is no longer enough to meet your needs
  • your needs have changed while you’ve been waiting for an assessment and you need help urgently.

What you can do

You can often sort out problems informally by talking to your social worker or their manager. If you don’t have a named social worker, contact the adult social services department at the council. You might want to ask for a review if you’re not happy with your assessment or if your care services aren’t meeting your needs – for example, if your care worker doesn’t have enough time to do everything they’re supposed to do. The council must carry out a review if your request is reasonable.

If your situation is urgent, tell the council. They may provide an emergency care package until your needs can be properly assessed.

If an informal approach doesn’t work, you have two main options. You can:

  • make a formal complaint
  • use a solicitor to pursue a legal case.

Both of these options have time limits.

Making a complaint

If you want to make a complaint, you must do this within 12 months of the problem occurring or of you becoming aware of it. It’s best to do this as soon as possible. Don’t delay because you’re trying to sort things out with your social worker.

Ask the council for a copy of their complaints procedure. You should also be able to find it on their website. When you contact the council, make it clear that you want to make a formal complaint. Our factsheet Complaints about care and health services has more information about how to make a complaint.

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of the complaints procedure, you can take your complaint to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Taking legal action

If you’re considering legal action, you’ll have to act more quickly. A judicial review is the most likely type of legal action. If you’re applying for a judicial review, you have to do this within three months.

If you want specialist legal advice, you’ll need to find a solicitor who specialises in community care law. Getting legal advice can be expensive so you may want to contact Civil Legal Advice to find out whether you would qualify for legal aid. They can also give you details of organisations or solicitors specialising in community care law or you could find a solicitor through the Law Society.

You might be able to get free initial legal advice through a Law Works legal advice clinic or from the Disability Law Service.

If you need support

If you need help to express your views or challenge decisions, you may be able to get support from an independent advocate. Ask your council about local advocacy services. These are usually free. In certain situations, you’re legally entitled to an advocate and the council must arrange one. Let the council know if you need a translator.

If you’d like to talk to someone about making a complaint or taking legal action, you can call our Helpline and arrange to speak to an adviser.

If you’ve been mistreated by a care worker

Abuse is rare but it can happen to anyone. It can take many forms, ranging from disrespect to causing someone physical or mental pain. There are five common types of abuse - financial, physical, psychological or sexual abuse, and neglect. If you or someone you know is experiencing any kind of abuse, it’s important that you tell someone, such as your social worker or the adult social care team.

Many councils have a dedicated team for reporting concerns. This might be called a safeguarding team. See our guide Staying in control when you're older for more details.

The Care Quality Commission sets out the standards of care that you have a right to expect.

Next steps

You can find contact details for your local council on gov.uk/find-local-council.

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