What makes a trustworthy assessment?

I have just completed an 18-month project with Research in Practice for Adults (RiPfA) to produce resources to help assessors carry out good assessments.

The main issue that I found was that all assessments have to be different – because people are different, yet we need to know that any assessment is good enough against some kind of universal standard.

So how do you know when an assessment can be trusted?

The RiPfA project looked at assessment research, theory and law. It involved practitioners from a group of local authorities, who shared their experiences and identified what would help them to do good assessments. It drew heavily on feedback – wishes, needs, hopes and fears – of people being assessed.

We put all this information together and reached a view that you can trust an assessment when:

  • The assessment follows good practice – based on evidence, law and theory of what makes a good experience and good outcomes for the person being assessed
  • Your assessor has the right capabilities for your situation – depending on how complex or unusual it is
  • Your assessor has the right support to do the assessment – based on evidence of what supports good practice.

RiPfA has just published a practitioner handbook and an organisational tool on assessment. These set out an evidence-informed approach to doing good assessment. If organisations and assessors follow the evidence that supports good practice, assessments will be more consistent and transparent, and everyone involved will be able to understand what was done and why.

I hope that these resources will help adults and carers, assessors and funders have more confidence that assessments are trustworthy. Not only will this reduce anxiety, but it will also mean that organisations will spend less of their valuable resources checking, duplicating and redoing assessments.

More information about the RiPfA resources can be found here

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