Implementing a Successful Trusted Assessor Programme

This guide has been written by Clare Barber who has spent the last 21 years working within the Health and Social Care sector. After qualifying as an Occupational Therapist, she dedicated her career to improving the quality of services. She has spent the last 7 years developing a suite of trusted assessor courses and consulting on transformation projects in this area.   

We always like to hear feedback from our readers about how we can improve or expand our guides so others across the country can benefit, so please contact us if you have any suggestions.

What is a Trusted Assessor?

Trusted Assessor was born from a project back in 2005 with the aim to provide equipment solutions to service users quickly and efficiently.  

In 2018, a pilot project was set up to reduce waiting lists for DFGs and enable simple needs assessments for non-complex cases to be conducted by appropriately trained ‘Trusted Assessors’.

The training course, Trusted Assessors: Assessing and Adapting the home, accredited at level four was consequently created and launched.  

Useful Links

Adaptations Without Delay




How Do I Implement This in My Organisation?  

There are a number of factors that should be considered and implemented before trained staff can qualify as Trusted Assessors. The following is not a definitive list, but it will help you to get your service ready for a new way of working.  

Change Management 

When implementing any changes within an organisation, you can always be confronted with a general level of resistance. 

Change management is the process of facilitating change to implementation. Effective management of this is crucial to success. There are five steps that should be followed:  


Ensure that all who are involved recognise the need for change and fully understand the benefits. This will help to bring about essential acceptance from employees who will help to implement the changes later on and will significantly remove any friction and potential barriers. 


Make sure that you have spent adequate time planning out the changes and who will be responsible for each step involved in the process. Include all of those who will need to sign-off key stages and timelines that you would want to keep to. 


Once the above steps have been followed, it’s now time to implement the steps you have carefully planned out. Remember the importance of involving your staff and other stakeholders throughout the journey, empower them to take necessary steps, and ensure that any anticipated issues have been considered and mitigated. 


It is important to continue to champion the new ways of working that have been implemented and encourage your staff, who may be at risk of falling back into the old ways of working. 


Finally, it is crucial that you review the process to assess whether it has been successful and if there is anything further that could have been done better.  

Below gives some details on how you might achieve each step and what you might consider.  

Excerpts from DFG delivery: Guidance for local authorities in England

  • Authorities should also ensure they have the right team of professionals to assess and recommend adaptations. For example, trusted assessors (in simple cases), paediatric occupational therapists, educational setting assessments, and other occupational therapists and technical officers, particularly where major adaptations are required.
  • Trusted assessors are staff who are trained to assess people and their home environment for home adaptations in simple cases. They also know when to refer to an occupational therapist for further assessment. It is good practice for trusted assessors to be supervised by an occupational therapist.
  • The most successful assessment systems involve occupational therapists and trusted assessors working together within multidisciplinary teams.


It is crucially important, before implementing any Trusted Assessor programme, that you communicate and discuss your plans with all involved parties and collaborate with them throughout the process.  

An example of this involved an HIA who invested time and money in training its staff to be Trusted Assessors but found they were unable to use their new skills as the local Occupational Therapy team had not been communicated with. This led to them having several concerns about the safety of the service users being assessed by a non-professional.  

Where Trusted Assessor schemes have worked well, there has been clear collaboration and consultation from all parties including the local authority, HIAs and assessment teams.  

When all parties are fully informed and consulted, policies and processes are discussed and agreed on resulting in improved chances of a positive outcome.  

Each locality understandably has its own unique needs, populations, budgets and polices meaning that one process or way of working won’t suit all. For example, enabling Trusted Assessors to carry out assessments for stairlifts may not be suitable in your area as such facilities are provided under a different budget.  

It is also important to consider whether you have the appropriate skills internally to successfully complete the process. For example, Managers who possess the skills to supervise Trusted Assessors or Trainers/Mentors to help embed assessing skills with staff. You may need to look externally with partners or buy in resources initially to help with support.  

Policies and Process 

Once you have collaborated with all parties, it is important to outline how the process will work. Who will decide which assessments a Trusted Assessor can take? Will a sign off be required? Does your policies and processes allow for Trusted Assessors to be implemented?  

Consider things such as accountability, liability, insurance, recruitment, IT systems access and job descriptions.  

You will also need to consider paperwork and ask do the forms and IT systems lend themselves to this new way of working? Do they meet any GDPR requirements and are they easy to complete?  

Next, think about if you have easy communications with partners that you may need to communicate and liaise with including GPs, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and other types of community services –  do they recognise the trusted assessor role and what that entails? 

Making sure you have all your processes in place and a clear policy will significantly help you along the way. Of course, any of these processes can be amended as you implement concepts and review the outcomes.  

Lastly, consider access and whether you have access to equipment through community equipment stores where needed.  Can you implement agreements with partners to ensure that access to the things you need is a simple process? 

Identify Appropriate Staff   

One thing that has been clear from the organisations that have developed Trusted Assessors, is that not all staff are suited to being  Trusted Assessors. An example of this involved an experienced handy person that had worked in fitting adaptations for many years, who had excellent feedback and a proven track record. However, this professional had never had to complete any written or theory-based training and therefore struggled to understand the concepts of assessment. As a result of this, he failed the exam as part of the training on multiple occasions, with him eventually leaving the organisation.  

It is important to consider the skills, knowledge, and experience of your staff but also their willingness and ability to learn new skills before deciding who would be appropriate to become a Trusted Assessor. Trying to enforce training and new responsibilities on those not suitable will only result in failure of the project.  

Before deciding that all people with a certain job role will be Trusted Assessors, ensure you do a skills analysis.  

Staff Contracts  

Once you have identified who will be working as a Trusted Assessor as a part of their role, you may need to review their contract. It is likely that many contracts state that other duties required for the needs of the service is included but you may want to update the new responsibilities specifically.  

Consider things such as working conditions, Uniform, Timing, and management. 

For example, a trusted assessor approach was implemented where staff were expected to include an assessment, where needed, with the service users they were visiting. Prior to implementation, they were expected to meet with 10 people per day. This would not be feasible if Trusted Assessor approaches were being adhered to.  

It is therefore important to consider what you are now expecting of them and whether their pay grade reflects this. 

To be a trusted Assessor, who will be responsible for the assessment of major adaptations, consider whether the person possesses the following skills: 

  • Do they understand their responsibilities according to legislation? (For example, the mental capacity act) 
  • Do they have a basic understanding of medical conditions and their impact on function?  
  • Do they have knowledge of other, cheaper, and easier to implement interventions that could be tried before implementing a major adaptation?  
  • Do they know the basic measurements used to take of a person for more simple interventions, such as lower leg measurements?  
  • Do they understand risk assessments and why they are important and equally challenging when carried out for people who may have varying needs?  
  • Can they look at a person in a holistic manner and review all aspects of their lives to make an assessment? 

Training and Support

Next, you need to consider the approach to training your chosen staff and the number of options open to you which have been outlined below. 

Use internal trainers to implement training  

There are benefits to this process as it will save potential costs of buying in external training and you will have more control over what is taught. It will be specific to your needs and could include processes, IT systems, specific departments, and useful contacts. It may also be an opportunity to involve other parties such as the local Occupational Therapy teams and help to build relationships, confidence and buy-in from them.  

The downsides are that the training would not be accredited or aligned to the national qualification. The trainer may not be trained in delivery, and it may be an extra task on top of a busy workload. Lastly, the training would not be tried and tested and developed through trial and error, which is worth considering. 

Use an external agency to deliver training  

There will of course be costs involved and potential time considerations with this option, however, this training option involves tailoring the course to your needs. They can use the content that has been tried and developed over time and their trainers are more likely to be able to deliver materials to meet all learning styles. This provides your staff with improved chances of required learning being taken onboard. 

You should consider that you may need to release staff for full days and provide travel time too. This option may require multiple staff to be off work at the same time to attend the training. Liability for competence lies with the training agency and they will provide a valid certificate for this.  

A combined approach of both 

An excellent way to train staff is to merge both above training approaches. Use an external agency for the initial training and continue the learning through on-the-job training.  


Completing a course and being signed as competent from a theory perspective is not enough to develop strong and competent Trusted Assessors. Ongoing support for a minimum of the first six months is required. The following areas should therefore be considered:  


It is strongly recommended that each Trusted Assessor has a Mentor or experienced Assessor (preferably an Occupational Therapist who is a band 6 or above) that can help embed learning into practice. They can answer any questions and shadow assessments until the Trusted Assessor builds confidence. It is helpful that the Mentor has either been on the training course or delivered the training themselves so that they can clearly understand what has been taught and have clear expectations on knowledge base.  

Use a competency framework  

A competency framework is a document outlining the skills needed to be held to successfully complete a role such as a Trusted Assessor. These can be used by a Mentor to observe and ‘sign off’ an area of competence once the theory is embedded in practice. 

Use checklists and templates  

Having a template for use in assessments or prompts on things to consider may really help to support a new Trusted Assessor in the role. These can be designed with your own process and aims in mind whilst linking back to the learning in any training the person has completed.  


It is important that Managers are clear with their team of Trusted Assessors about what is expected of them and when. Make sure that they are confident and comfortable, and that they clearly understand their goals. 

Ongoing support  

Having a Mentor is a great step to help embed learning and to help the Trusted Assessors to build confidence and competence but there are other ways that can be implemented to help support them. Consider regular supervision, appraisals, team meetings and peer support opportunities where Trusted Assessors can share valuable tips and best practices. Try pairing up those with more technical skills with those who are more person focused to share knowledge and give rewards for substantial progress.  

As a Manager, show your commitment to the process and support your team by taking the time to go out on visits with them, which will enable you to recognise any challenges or concerns.  

Give Trusted Assessors more time initially to become acquainted with the new way of working. It is also important to recognise that we are all different and each individual has a different style of learning l and follows a different pathway to achieve competence, one way will not suit all.  

Wellbeing and resources  

It is important to consider the health and safety of the team. Being asked to complete new tasks that may not be a natural skill for the individual can become stress provoking and cause anxiety.  

For example, a person that has had limited contact with service users in the past is now having to communicate and interact with them on a personal level. Make sure that they are given all the resources that they need to succeed and feel comfortable whilst regularly checking in on them to ensure wellbeing and alleviate any concerns regarding their new role.  


Regular supervision by an appropriate person is essential in this process. They may have learned a skill, or been asked to change their way of working, all of which may be outside of their comfort zone. Ensuring there is a protected one-to-one opportunity with a Manager to review their roles and practices will only help them to grow.  

This also helps in identifying any further learning needs, enables the staff member to feel supported, and highlights any potential risks to service users.  

Resources and information  

It is important to keep Trusted Assessors up-to-date with the latest information and best practice.

You can do this by providing refresher training or sending them to events such as the Foundations Roadshows or the Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference (OTAC).

Consider creating an organisational database to share skills and knowledge or appointing champions to help engage and encourage continuous learning.  

Some training providers also provide resources to refer to so take advantage of these and leave copies in accessible places.  


There are so many opportunities to network in this new virtual world. Reach out to other organisations like your own and try and share information on projects and lessons learned, enable communication nationally through bodies such as Foundations to reach out to other Trusted Assessors, and use social media such as the DFG Champions Facebook page to encourage ongoing conversation.  


One of the most important things about implementing a Trusted Assessor process is reviewing the outcomes.

Involve all the stakeholders in the process, including staff, service users, and external teams. Do not forget to share your findings as this will provide added value 

Good luck with your Trusted Assessor projects and if you need any further support on implementing Trusted Assessors in your business, Foundations can help.

Our Regional Advisors and Consultants can provide you with further information regarding the implementation of Trusted Assessor models.

You can also consult with Clare, who is happy to answer any questions you may have about this guide and the Trusted Assessor model.  

Consider the following questions:

  • Did you achieve what it was you set out to achieve?
  • What could you have done differently?
  • What went well?
  • What could you do to achieve better outcomes in the future?

Speak to our Regional Advisors and Consultants

At the heart of what we do is our Regional Advisors, who offer advice and support to Local Authorities and Home Improvement Agencies. All of our everyday support is free since we are funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.