PERSON CENTRED APPROACHES TO CARE for people requiring health and social care are ways of commissioning, providing and organising services rooted in listening to what people want, to help them live in their communities as they choose. These approaches work to use resources flexibly, designed around what is important to an individual from their own perspective and work to remove any cultural and organisational barriers. People are not simply placed in pre-existing services and expected to adjust, rather the service strives to adjust to the person.


The White Paper, 'Our Health, Our Care, Our Say' (January 2006) proposes a Common Assessment Framework for Adults to be developed primarily from the experience to date from implementing the Care Programme Approach (CPA) for Mental Health, the Single Assessment Process (SAP) for Older People, and Person Centred Planning for People with Learning Disabilities. The aim of adopting a common framework is to remove the artificial boundary of 'older age', and provide continuity of a person centred approach throughout adult life, geared towards self-determination and planning for independence. The Single Assessment Process is increasingly being used for other adult groups as well as older people, and many regions now apply the principles of SAP when delivering care to everyone over 18 years of age. National policy documents are promoting SAP as a model for a Comprehensive Assessment Framework to deliver person centred care. The White Paper states in particular that 'SAP provides a generic framework that could be applied more widely'.

The Common Assessment Framework will retain the core features and properties of SAP:

  • supporting seamless delivery of services across health and social care;
  • avoiding duplication of information collection and procedures;
  • a proportionate assessment according to an individual's level of need;
  • a person centred assessment of needs feeding into a personalised care plan to support people;
  • and delivering greater transparency around the needs assessment process and agreed support.

On 11 October 2006, the Department of Health Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) launched an 'Assessment and Care Planning Collaborative' to support the development of a Common Assessment Framework for Adults and Guidance on Personal Health and Social Care Plans.

Further explanations with links to related terms, documents and websites are available via the NHS Care Records Service/SAP glossary of health, social care and information technology:

Care Programme Approach (CPA)

Common Assessment Framework for Adults

Person Centred Approach


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