Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

18th July 2017

How quickly should a risk assessment be completed?

What is the time frame for a provider to complete a risk assessment (urgent/rapid response) considering a service user that lacks capacity?

Dear Olasunkanmi,

This question is as much about leadership as it is about the time frame.

Your questions is specific; it is about an urgent/rapid response risk assessment for a person who may lack mental capacity.

The first step will be to assess whether or not the person has capacity to make the particular decision.

All adult social care providers should have a Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice available at all times on their premises. The Code of Practice guides you through the assessment of capacity process.

If the assessment finds that the person lacks Mental Capacity then the risk assessment described by you as being urgent/rapid response should be carried out without delay.

If it is so very urgent then the decision (assuming that it is a serious decision) may have to be made by just the one person, if there is more time then there may be time to speak to a family member or a Doctor before making the final decision.

Three other things:

  • You must always record everything involved in the assessment of mental capacity and the risk assessment.
  • If you think that you need to involve others in the decision making process but they are not available immediately contact them as soon as possible and record any new information in the paperwork.
  • There is a great deal of useful information on the Office of the Public Guardian website

There is also useful information on the website of the Health and Safety Executive:

Finally you must operate within the law but as long as you do the law offers you protection as well as the individual involved.

Best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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