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Assessing your needs

Rights to an assessment

Prisoners have the same rights and responsibilities as people living in the community but with four exceptions:

  • prisoners cannot receive direct payments and choices about how their eligible care needs are met will be more constrained
  • adult social care departments will not be responsible for investigating safeguarding incidents in prisons
  • prisoners will not be able to express a preference for particular accommodation except when this is being arranged for after their release
  • local authorities will not have to protect the property of adults in prison or approved premises with care and support needs 

Assessing your needs

Health or prison staff will undertake a short assessment with you. This is a screening tool and will help to identify if you have any social care needs. If they decide that you do have social care needs, they will contact us.

So that we can look at the kind of support you need we will undertake a supported assessment. A social care worker will meet with you to do this. The assessment helps us to understand things from your point of view and gives you the chance to tell us about any difficulties you may be having, and what help you think you need.

To find out more about you, we will ask you about:

  • how you look after yourself
  • what you have difficulty doing
  • your physical and emotional health
  • the kind of support you have now and what help you need.

Eligibility for council services

We will talk to you about your needs and identify if you meet the national criteria for eligibility which is based on identifying:

  • whether your needs are due to a physical or mental impairment or illness
  • to what extent your needs affect your ability to achieve two or more specified outcomes listed within the Care Act
  • whether this impacts significantly on your overall wellbeing

However, the final decision about who is eligible sits with Dorset County Council and you must also meet the following criteria:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • be detained in prison or reside in an approved premises, such as a bail hostel, and/or
  • have moved from your usual residence as a condition of your bail in a criminal proceeding

What happens next

If you meet the criteria, we will agree with you how much support you need and for how long. This could include:

  • help with general tasks such as washing, dressing and feeding
  • equipment that may help you (however, before we can issue any equipment the prison will need to undertake a risk assessment and agree for you to have this)

We will also talk to you about how much this support may cost.

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria we may be able to offer information and advice about what you can do to improve any problems or signpost you to other support.

How to contact us

If you would like someone from the council to see if you need some support:

  • if you are in prison, speak to your wing nurse
  • if you are in Approved Premises, speak to your probation staff
  • if you are in bail accommodation, contact the Adult Access Team

Rights to independent advocacy

Advocacy is a way to support people who may not be able to tell others what they want.

If you have problems expressing your views and concerns about your care and support needs, you may want someone to help you do this.

If you need some support, you should let the prison or health staff member know this as soon as possible. We will then arrange an independent advocate for you.

An independent advocate will help you to:

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

They speak for you without judging you or giving you their views and opinions.

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