Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Eligibility for Assessment Criteria

Why is a prioritisation policy needed?

Local authority social work departments have a duty to provide assessments of need for people with a disability and their carers under the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, Part IV S55. Such assessments (usually Single Shared Assessments) inform the provision of services that people may need to allow them to live safely and comfortably at home or in a supported care setting, such as a care home.

From time to time, demand for assessments is greater than can be managed by workers available to carry them out. A fair system, based on the level of risk and urgency is required to prioritise which people are allocated a worker to undertake their assessment.

More detailed descriptions of the criteria for each priority level are given in the Community Care Team Eligibility for Assessment Criteria Policy 2009, which is available from the office detailed on the back page of this leaflet. The Policy meets national standards as set by Scottish Government.

High Priority – critical risk

This is where a person’s health and safety is at immediate or imminent risk due to abuse, because of a significant health or disability problem or where someone is terminally ill. A person’s home or care circumstances may be at urgent risk of breakdown placing them at high risk.
People who fall into this category will be allocated a worker on the day of the referral and immediate action will be taken to start an assessment and provide urgent assistance as required.

High Priority – Substantial risk

This is where the person has a health or disability problem which threatens their health, safety or independence and where essential personal care needs are not being met or are being met in a way that may put the person at risk. The person’s home situation may be at risk of breakdown, placing the person at a significant risk. The person’s carer may be at risk and they may be unable to continue in their caring role.

People who fall into this category will have a worker allocated to start an assessment within five working days and the duty worker may arrange immediate assistance,  where this is required and the service is available.

Medium Priority – Moderate risk

This is where a person’s situation is causing some difficulty and may pose a moderate risk to health, safety or independence and where managing some personal care needs is problematic or the home situation is difficult but does not pose an immediate risk.

People who fall within the above criteria will have a worker allocated to start their assessment within ten working days.

Low Priority – Low risk

This is where there is no immediate risk to a person’s health, wellbeing, safety or independence, where personal care needs are met with minimal or no risk and there are supports in place to minimise social isolation.

In the above circumstances, the duty worker may provide general advice and assistance and may direct the person to other sources of support, such as voluntary agencies. The person will be placed on a waiting list to await allocation. The list will be reviewed weekly by the team manager who will check on any new information supplied which would change the person’s priority level.

A letter will be sent to the person and the referrer, if appropriate, to advise of this process.

What if circumstances change?

If the person referred has a change in circumstances, for instance that they become less able; their carers cannot continue or they are at risk of becoming homeless, this information should be provided to the duty worker from the Community Care Team so that the person’s priority can be adjusted and a worker allocated as appropriate.