Call our free helpline0808 808 3555
Call our free helpline
0808 808 3555
You have a right to have your child and family's needs assessed by
social services. The process social services use to decide if extra
help is required to meet your family's needs is called a
Note that where we refer to the local authority social
services department, this also includes the Social Work Department
in Scotland and the Health and Social Services Trust in Northern
Read this page to find out about asking for an assessment, or
find out about:
to expect at an assessment
needs as a carer
Personal budgets and
Although you can ask for an assessment verbally, it is best to
ask for an assessment in writing. You can do this yourself, or a
professional who is helping you can do it for you.
Social services departments have teams for children with
disabilities who deal with requests and carry out the
If you're not sure with local authority you come under, type
your postcode into the search bar at www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Our helpline team has produced a template letter for you to use
to request a needs assessment:
The local authority should provide information about the process
and timescales. You should also be told how the assessment will be
carried out and be given information about what services are
available - not just those that are provided by social services
departments (for example, a local play scheme).
When services are already being provided, the assessment should
be reviewed regularly. But if your circumstances have changed, you
can ask for a re-assessment or review in the same way you ask for
If you've been refused a needs assessment - or you have any
other complaint about a service - visit our page on the complaints
On that page, you can find a template letter for parents who
have been told that their council will not assess their disabled
child in relation to a specialist service. This is for the system
in England and Wales only.
Find out what to expect from a needs
All parent carers have a right to ask for an assessment of their
needs at any time. This is called a carer's assessment, and it's
aim is to give you a chance to tell social services about the
things that could make looking after your child easier for you.
This may result in getting services to meet your own assessed
Find out more about carers' assessments.
This information was written by our invaluable helpline team.
Although all our information is free to access, we depend on
donations to keep our charity going. If you can, please
donate to our Lifeline Appeal to help us continue to fund our