Our use of cookies

Some cookies used are essential to providing a service, while others help us improve your experience and provide us with insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Cookie preferences

Care Assessment

A care assessment is where we look at your needs with you. Then look at Services available that may meet those needs.

If we think you need an assessment we will give you an appointment with a member of social work staff. You can bring a friend or relative or someone else to speak on your behalf to the appointment.

The Care Assessment

When someone asks for a social work service, we call this a referral. Various people can make a referral for you, or you can refer yourself. Contact to us can be by phone or by writing to us.


  • Self-referral
  • Relatives or carers can refer
  • Health professionals e.g. your GP can refer
  • The Department’s Service Partners can refer e.g. voluntary organisations
  • The court or court system can refer.
  • Charges - There is no charge for the assessment.

How long does the Care Assessment process take?

The time needed for an assessment depends on your needs and circumstances. If your needs are complex we will need information from yourself and others. This may take more than one visit before the assessment is complete.

What are the reasons for a Care Assessment?

We provide services to a wide range of people with a range of needs.

These include:

  • people suffering from dementia;
  • older people with a disability;
  • people affected by substance misuse;
  • young people and children;
  • people affected by blood-borne viruses; and
  • We communicate with family and friends, who act as carers for the people requiring a service.

We ensure that services are available to those in the greatest need and at high risk. To ensure a fair process is in place for everyone we work with criteria and priority. Our social workers follow published eligibility criteria and prioritise people's needs. Needs are met through the use of available resources. If you qualify for a service a specialist worker will be in touch.

The Eligibility Criteria

It is important that the council use resources to support people in most need.  We try to support an individual's independence where possible. The eligibility criteria help us make this happen.

The Government have issued a criteria framework for us to work with. It ensures a fair and consistent approach when dealing with the needs of adults over the age of 16. This framework is in place across the country for people who need social care support.

Fife Council uses the framework and considers a person's independence when doing so.

What affects a person's independence?

People may need help with social care and health to achieve important goals in their life. This allows people to remain independent for longer.

These could include:

  • Being healthy, safe and well;
  • Exercising choice and control;
  • Personal dignity and respect; and
  • Making a positive contribution to family and community life.
  • The four bandings of the eligibility criteria are - low, moderate, substantial and critical.

The first three, substantial, moderate and low bandings describe the level of need required. These also describe how this might affect the person's independence. The critical band describes situations when a person’s independence is most at risk. Within the critical banding, it is vital that we meet their needs so they can live a safe and independent life.

This eligibility criteria only apply to social care needs and services.

These services may include:

  • long term care;
  • care at home;
  • day care;
  • respite care; or
  • providing equipment and adaptations.
  • Who will receive services?

At present the Council are focusing on people who have critical or substantial needs. We can offer advice and information to everyone. For further information please see the Social Work Guide to Eligibility Criteria.

Other sources of help

Not everyone needs an assessment or wants to wait for one. If you are beginning to have some difficulties managing everyday tasks at home, you might be able to find a solution via Fife’s online self-assessment tool Smart Life in Fife.

The system behind Smart life in Fife is based on validated scientific research and extensive testing. It focuses on activities of daily living such as bathing, getting around and housework. It also provides access to a wide range of professional advice and recommendations on home safety, local amenities, and general health information.

The online system allows you to select the area of the home where you or your family members are having difficulties. You are guided through a step-by-step assessment process to identify what solutions might be best for you

You may be given:

  • Advice regarding exercise and ageing well
  • Links to local amenities such as "On Your Doorstep"
  • Links to local and national assistive equipment providers
  • Links to general health information via "NHS inform"
  • Loan equipment from Fife Community Equipment Store
  • A recommendation that you require a face-to-face assessment

To start your self-assessment, go to:

To sign up and create an account you will need an email address and a Fife postcode.

This website has some links to other sources of information and help that may help you to resolve issues independently.

Social Work Enquiries
Tel: 03451 55 15 03
Online: Social Work - Contact Us