THE SINGLE ASSESSMENT PROCESS (SAP) was introduced in the National Service Framework for Older People (2001), Standard 2: person centred care. This standard aims to ensure that the NHS and social care services treat older people as individuals and enable them to make choices about their own care.

Person centred approaches 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 requirement to develop a Single Assessment Process was based on the recognition that many older people have wide-ranging welfare needs and that agencies need to work together so that assessment and subsequent care planning are effective and coordinated. Care is holistic and centres on the whole person; the involvement of service users is fundamental to the implementation of this strategy.

SAP aims to make sure older people's needs are assessed thoroughly and accurately, but without procedures being needlessly duplicated by different agencies, and that information is shared appropriately between health and social care agencies.

The Single Assessment Process is increasingly being used as a framework for delivering services to other adults requiring care, not just older people. Government policy documents are promoting SAP as a model for a national Common Assessment Framework(CAF) and to deliver the benefits of a holistic needs assessment for all adults with long term conditions - more information on SAP, CAF and policy developments.

THE CENTRE FOR POLICY ON AGEING has been commissioned by the Department of Health to create and host an online resource for health and social care professionals implementing SAP. The resource, which is freely accessible, holds a wealth of material to assist multi agency working including an interactive glossary of terms and a discussion forum. The aim is to provide access to information, in all its various forms, that can be shared across localities, organisations and individuals to support work around SAP, share good practice and reduce duplication of effort.

The resource is continually updated to reflect new issues and practice. It includes a special section on e-SAP and details of the NHS Connecting for Health and the Electronic Social Care Records Implementation Board project. The project takes account of plans to extend SAP into a Common Assessment Framework for adults, requiring the NHS and Local Authorities to be able to support integrated multi agency working across all client groups. Reports from the Do Once and Share (DOAS) SAP national project are also available on the resource. Do Once and Share is a programme to engage clinicians and the public with an interest in a particular area (such as the Single Assessment Process) in activity required for the successful implementation and explanation of NHS Connecting for Health technologies and to minimise unknowing and unnecessary duplication of effort.

If you have materials (documents, strategies, protocols) or examples of successful practice to share, please contact Gillian Crosby, Project Manager: ( Tel: 020 7553 6500.

The resource, which is updated on a weekly basis, consists of:

  • search facility
    (enter specific terms to search materials, documents and organisations)

  • learning and development materials
    (listings organised by type/format and subject)

  • SAP websites
    (selection of external websites and a facility to search them)

  • localities, 'good practice' and innovation
    (examples of what works, progress made, problems met, successful solutions)

  • organisations
    (offering training services, sources of practical publications, e-learning, government agencies, suppliers of SAP related services, relevant current research)

  • glossary
    (an interactive glossary of terms from health and social care,incorporating long term conditions and information technology)

  • discussion forum
    (the discussion forum provides an opportunity for SAP professionals to exchange views and information)

The coverage of materials does not pretend to be, nor could it be, entirely comprehensive. The intention is that the resource should be continually developed as it is used and that it remains interactive. This approach helps the information contained within it to remain timely and therefore relevant.

Where possible we make the materials accessible. We provide web links and downloadable documents, where people are happy for us to do this, or we give full contact details for you to source a piece of information.
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