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Why might I need help from adult social care?

Once you have spoken to our Adult Access Team, you may find there are still things you want to achieve. If this is the case, you will have a supported assessment, in the form of a conversation and discussion, where we will work with you to identify what these things are and how you can meet them.

What happens during a support assessment?

We will start by talking to you to understand things from your point of view. We will give you the chance to tell us what you would like to change or experience to live the life you want to lead. We will focus on your strengths, what you can do, and what is available to stay as independent as possible. This could include doing something in a different way; using equipment or technology to support you; or adaptations that can help you, without the need for care.

During our conversation, we will discuss different parts of your life and what is important to you. To find out more about you we will ask you things such as

  • how you look after yourself
  • what’s working well for you
  • what you have difficulty doing
  • the kind of support you have now
  • your physical and emotional health
  • your involvement in your community
  • whether or not you have a carer
  • what support you need

The social care worker will ask about any care and support you currently get from other people. This could include your family or friends who give you unpaid support. They will also have the chance to share their views and ideas if you are happy for them to do so.

How do I know if I will be able to get support from the council?

Not everyone is able to get support from the council. We use national guidelines which are set out in the Care Act 2014 to make the decision. These guidelines make sure that everyone has fair and equal access to care and support services.


These three questions are used to work out whether you will be able to get care and support from the council:

  1. Do your needs arise from an illness, a physical disability including frailty, or a mental illness?
  2. Do these needs mean you are unable to achieve two or more of the tasks or ‘outcomes’ below?
  3. As a result of this, is there likely to be a significant impact on your wellbeing/how you feel?

You should meet all three of the criteria stated above to get care and support.


When considering whether you will be able to get care and support services, we look at ‘outcomes’, what you want to change or achieve.

We measure this by checking if you are unable to achieve two or more of the following tasks:

  • eating and drinking properly
  • washing and dressing
  • managing toilet needs
  • getting dressed
  • being safe at home
  • keeping your home clean and tidy
  • keeping contact with friends and family
  • taking part in work, training, education, or volunteering
  • using services in the local community such as public transport
  • caring for your child/partner

What happens if I am not able to get care and support from the council?

If you are not able to get care and support from the council, we will still explore with you how you can do things differently and provide you with information and advice.

If I am able to get care and support, do I have to pay?

The simple answer is yes, social care is not free, and it is important to understand that most people will have to pay something towards the cost of their care. It is likely that you will be able to get some financial help if you have savings or capital of less than £23,250. If you have more than that amount, you will more than likely have to cover the full cost of your care, for as long as you can afford to. This will be determined through a financial assessment, or ‘means-test’.

However, this does not change your right to have a support assessment or receive information and guidance.

What will a financial assessment look at?

Your financial situation will be discussed at a separate time and will include an assessment. It does not affect whether you will be able to get care and support from the council if your support assessment shows that you need it but determines whether you must pay towards it. The financial assessment will be based on whether you will be receiving care services in your own home, or in residential care or nursing home, and will be carried out by one of our assessment officers.

This will normally be done over the telephone, although in certain circumstances we may need to visit you at home.

The assessment will discuss the following areas:

  • capital (savings and investments)
  • income
  • property (in the case of permanent residential care)
  • housing-related expenses
  • disability-related expenditure

An information sheet Paying for care and support services is available to explain how to prepare for this.

Once your support assessment and financial assessment have been completed and you can get help and support from the council, we will tell you your estimated personal budget.

How do I arrange the support I need?

The total expected cost of your care and support, (including how much you pay towards it, if anything), is called your personal budget. Before your personal budget is agreed we will need to prepare a ‘support plan’ to show how the outcomes you have identified will be met. Your finalised personal budget will include both what you have to pay towards your care and support and what the council will pay.

What happens if I get better or worse?

If you have a personal budget, we will review it within three months of starting it and then every 12 months.

If your situation changes, you need to let us know as soon as possible. During the reviews, we will talk about what has changed and how this has affected you. Your support plan will be updated with these details.

What if I want someone to speak for me?

Advocacy is a way for someone to tell others what they want if they feel they can’t do so on their own.

Family and friends or health and social care staff can help you speak up. Or it may be that you have a formal arrangement in place through a power of attorney for health and welfare or finance who would speak on your behalf.

An advocate helps you to:

  • express your views and concerns
  • access information and services
  • explore choices and options
  • defend and promote your rights and responsibilities

If you need the support of an advocate, please speak to the social care worker about this, or read our information about Advocacy.

How do I make comments or complain about Dorset Council?

Dorset Council is committed to providing quality services to you, your carers and family. We welcome any comments as this helps us understand what parts of our service people like.

If you are unhappy about the service you have received and want to make a complaint, please speak to a social care worker or contact Dorset Council and ask for a copy of our complaints leaflet.

You can write to us at:

Complaints Team,


Business Reply Licence number


Dorset Council, Colliton Park,

Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 1XJ.


Or by telephone on 01305 221061


If you don’t want to talk directly to us, you can contact Healthwatch Dorset, an independent organisation that represents the views and wishes of people who use adult social care services in Dorset.

0300 111 0102

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Dorset Council is committed to making its information and services accessible to all. If you would like any information in an alternative format please contact us

01305 221000

Contact us

You can find further information about adult social care and support services provided by Dorset Council at:

01305 221016