Social services

Caring can be exhausting. Help with practical tasks can make caring easier.  You or the person you care for may be eligible for several types of support from social services. Before the social services department can assist you, it must carry out an assessment of what your care needs are. This can include:

  • A needs assessment for the adult you’re looking after if they are disabled, frail because of age or have a long-term illness. If you’re a disabled carer you may be eligible for your own needs assessment.
  • Assessments for children. An assessment can be done for a child who is disabled or who can be described as a child in need.
  • A carer’s assessment. This is an assessment of your own needs as a carer.

Needs Assessment
If you have a long term health problem or disability, social services will assess what help you need to remain as independent as possible and to do the things in life that are most important to you. Government guidelines are used to check if your support needs qualify you for help from the local authority. This might be done by talking to you over the phone or by arranging a visit from a social worker. You might also be offered a short term service in the home to see what long term support is going to be needed.

The most common type of support that people ask for is help with personal care and practical support in the home. However the emphasis will be on helping you in what is most important to you, which may be to do with activities outside of the home.

Services don’t have to be provided directly by the local authority. They will put a figure on how much the support is going to cost and how much you have to contribute. You can then ask the local authority to arrange the support service or you can have a direct payment to buy your own services. You will be offered help and advice in managing this.

Carers Assessment
If you are caring for someone, a carer’s assessment looks at how caring impacts on your life and what support you need in your caring role. The local authority is responsible for ensuring that carers are offered an assessment for themselves but can commission an outside agency or organisation to carry out the assessments on its behalf.

As part of the assessment, you will be told about help and support available to you that you can access independently. You may also be given a small budget (a carer’s direct payment) as a means of doing something for yourself and getting a break from your caring role. This could be for anything from a gym pass to paying for some complementary therapy sessions at home.

In Bristol, if the person you care for is in receipt of social care services, then a social worker will carry out your carer’s assessment. It is likely to be offered around the same time as the assessment of the person you care for.

If the person you care for is not receiving social care services, as an adult carer, young carer or parent carer, you can have a carer’s assessment by other routes – through your GP practice, from Carers Support Centre or via a new team at the council called the Integrated Carers Team.

Care Direct: 0117 922 2700
Integrated Carers Team: 0117 352 1668
Carers Support Centre, CarersLine: 0117 965 2200
Your GP: check Yellow pages

In South Gloucestershire, Carers Support Centre has been commissioned to carry out all carer’s assessments as part of the new approach to supporting carers called Getting Help and Connected. This is for adult carers of other adults only. You may be referred by your social worker or a health professional or you can request one yourself by contacting Carers Support Centre.

Carers Support Centre, CarersLine: 0117 965 2200 or email