Proportionate assessment approaches in adult social care

Recommendations from the Chief Social Worker for Adults, principal social workers and principal occupational therapists on flexibility and innovation in approaches to adult social care assessments.

Applies to England



This document sets out how professionals conducting adult social care needs assessments can:

  • use the flexibility within the Care Act 2014 to be innovative in practice (while adhering to the legal requirements of the act)
  • consider a range of assessment approaches leading to the best outcomes for people in need of care and support

This guide includes a series of suggestions and case studies to help practitioners understand how they can undertake appropriate and proportionate strengths-based assessments.

This is a supplementary guide to the Care Act 2014 and the Care and support statutory guidance.

Published 8 August 2023
Last updated 14 December 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated to include the perspective of occupational therapists working in adult social care.

  2. Updated the 'Mental capacity and deprivation of liberty' section of the document to reflect the current position in relation to mental capacity assessments.

  3. Title and text references amended to make clear that this publication only applies to adults and has been developed by the Chief Social Worker responsible for adults, as well as principal social workers within local authorities responsible for adult social care.

  4. First published.