How Do We Know If We Will Be A Good Fit For Each Other?

Developing an assessment for customers of your community micro-enterprise

Once you have received a referral form from someone wanting to use your service and have identified that you are likely to be able to meet their needs, you will need to gather further information from them about their needs, wishes and aspirations. This process is usually called an assessment or an assessment of needs. The person may have already done their own self-assessment and be willing to share it with you. Their local authority care manager or other professional may have done an assessment of needs for the person that you can gather information from (if the person gives permission to share this with you). Even with all these other assessments in many situations you will still need to gather additional information about the needs, wishes and aspirations of the person, to help you decide whether your service will be able to meet their needs safely and well. The person themselves and the people that care about should always take a lead in this process – remember this is about you learning from them. 

People are not just a bundle of needs and it is really important that as providers you understand the person, their history and aspirations before thinking about their needs. Having a tool that enables you to have these sorts of conversations and to capture what is important to the person and about the person is very important. Community Catalysts has developed a template to show what this might look like but you should develop your own that best fits your service and what you need to learn about the people that use it.  Please see Appendix 1 at the end of this document for a template that you can develop.

Every community micro-enterprise and venture is different, so the level and type of information that you need to gather about people who are using your service for the first time will vary. You need information to assess whether you can support an individual safely and to ensure that you or people who work with you have the appropriate level of knowledge, skill and experience to meet their needs.

In addition, you need to gather information to ensure that you will be legally compliant when you support the person for example:

  • does your insurance policy cover you to meet the needs of the person
  • do you need to be registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to meet the needs of the person
  • do you have the relevant training and equipment to meet the needs of the person

You will also need to ensure that the type of information you collect, store, and use is within the data protection laws.  Further information about Data Protection Regulation and how to comply are available from the Information Commissioner’s website (ICO) or from a range of specialist data protection support organisations.

The checklist below is designed to help you think through the types of questions you might want to ask on your assessment form. These should be adapted or enhanced to meet the needs of your service and the people you support. As there is potentially a very wide and diverse range of community enterprises, the areas highlighted for consideration are not exhaustive. If your service only provides a low level of support or the people that use it do so very occasionally many of the areas of consideration may not be relevant – you will need to ask fewer and less detailed questions. If your service is unusual or specialist you may need to think about additional things that are not listed here. You should seek professional guidance 

where necessary. 

Completed assessment forms should be signed and dated by you and the person being assessed or their representative. 

The information that you gather by doing your assessment should be your starting point for planning the details of the service that you provide and which will be outlined in a support plan and/or one page personal profile. All these documents should be reviewed regularly (at least once a year) so that if the person’s needs, wishes or circumstances change, the plan and/or the arrangement can be changed too.