What constitutes a professional assessment of support needs?

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    We are currently being swamped with new supported accommodation providers, as are our neighbouring LA’s (and probably everyone else is too) and we are starting to see some cross boarder ‘co-operation’ between landlords. 

    We normally get referrals from our homelessness team or probation who we consider to be professional bodies qualified to decide whether a person with complex needs is in need of care, support and supervision.  We also have some local support places with drop in services that have specialist drug & alcohol dependency counsellors and so we accept referrals from them too. 

    However, we have had half a dozen or so claims recently where the care, support and supervision has been assessed by an organisation that turns out to be just another supported accommodation provider in a different area. 

    We have contacted some of the LA’s that the supported accommodation providers named are located to see if they themselves have drop in centres that may have specialist/trained officers that would be able to assess the needs of an individual and so far it’s been a no in all cases and the LA’s have confirmed that the commissioning body is in fact just a supported accommodation provider.  In our opinion, supported accommodation providers are not classed as a professional commissioning body. 

    The guidance says; If care and support is alleged to be provided, ensure that the need has been assessed and agreed by a qualified person or organisation.  A private sector voluntary organisation landlord providing support following their own assessment of need would not be acceptable.  Assessing their own need yes, the guidance is clear on this, but are they able to assess the needs for another landlord?  We think not but would be interested to see what others think and also, if this is a trend happening elsewhere?


    I don't think you will get a proper response to your questions because the subject is too complex and no one will offer a simplistic reply but the law, in itself, is clear. The facts for every claim, care provider, landlord, scheme, etc is a completely different matter!!




    It's a difficult decision.

    I would suggest a degree of caution when relying upon DWP Guidance. Their guidance has been known to be successfully challenged at UT.  It is better to rely upon the legislation and case law in my view.

    It is certainly true that one can ask the question as to whether a claimant needs care, support, OR supervision (Not AND)

    There is plenty of case law that shows that the exempt status is partly dependent on whether the claimant needs it but nowhere in the legislation is there any requirement (as far as I can see) for the assessment be performed by professional bodies. It is certainly open to challenge by either your own LA or by the claimant should you decide to disallow the claim.

    Maybe a crude settlement model as suggested by Andy Thurman might be appropriate where you agree with the landlord that at least some of their end users do not require support and fix a rent level acceptable to both.

    Hope that's been of some help


    Hi cbbc,

    I know its an old post of yours, but just wondering if you can remember if a decision was made not to accept the assessment from another supported provider? If so, did they appeal and was it upheld a Tribunal?

    We have the identical situation with a recent claim, so am just interested to know your outcome. Thanks

    Leonard Payne

    An interesting old post and I refer to an old post of mine – there is no requirement in law for an external evaluation to be made. It is simply ‘was support provided’.

    Granted that in the new Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Act 2023, it appears that the method of evaluation will be defined, until then –it is what it is–

    In this case DWP Guidance is all it is Guidance and there is ample case law that says “Look at the law not on the guidance”

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