Professional/Short course Best Interest Assessment

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Six months
Course Director
Rachel Hubbard

30 credit level 6 or level 7 module

Page last updated 12 October 2023


You may be able to study these modules at Level 6 (BSc level) or Level 7 (Masters level) depending on your academic circumstances. Please contact the CPD Team or the Module Leader for advice if you are unsure which level would be best for you.

The 30 credit Best Interest Assessment module, taken at either level 6 (UZVSBP-30-3) or level 7 (UZVSBQ-30-M), will give you an understanding of the values which support the Mental Capacity Act, particularly in relation to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and their implications for the role of Best Interest Assessor.

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the statutory and professional requirements and challenges of applying the Mental Capacity Act 2005, as amended in 2009, other relevant legal frameworks and case law to practice as aBest Interests Assessor (BIA).
  • critically analyse the theoretical and research evidence base for professional practice in the BIA role, including maintaining personhood in care, working with other professional perspectives and advocacy, contested decision making and ethical and values based practice.
  • explore the interpersonal skills required for BIA practice, including engaging people with communication and capacity issues, promoting the assessed person's rights and informing the assessed adult and other lay people of the nature of the BIA role and DoLS in a manner that supports effective ethical, person-centred practice.
  • identify how discrimination and oppression can affect decision making with diverse people who may lack mental capacity to make decisions and need restrictive care to keep themselves safe and explore strategies for ensuring that the principles of best interests and less restrictive decision making are kept at the heart of BIA practice.
  • evidence professional autonomy and the development of evidence informed arguments in decision-making and writing required assessments and reports in the formation of an appropriately assertive professional BIA identity, at an interprofessional and organisational level.

Entry requirements

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards statute states that to undertake Best Interests Assessor training, participants must be either be a:

  • social worker registered with Social Work England or Social Care Wales
  • an approved Mental Health Professional
  • a first level nurse, registered in Sub-Part 1 of the Nurses' Part of the Register maintained under article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001
  • an occupational therapist registered in Part 6 of the register maintained under article 5 of the Health Professions Order 2001
  • a chartered psychologist who is listed in the British Psychological Society's Register of Chartered Psychologists and who holds a relevant practising certificate issued by that Society.

You must also:

  • have at least two years post registration experience in that profession
  • not be suspended from the register or list relevant to their profession.



Within taught days and structured online learning, students will learn about the challenges and complexities of applying mental capacity and human rights law and policy to practice in the health and social care context with input from experienced practitioners such as lawyers, advocates, supervisory body leads and experienced professionals. Ethical and values informed approaches to contested professional decision making in the context of restrictive care that may necessitate depriving the person of their Article 5 human right to liberty will be explored in large and small group discussions, using case examples drawn from practice and key case law.

Students will draw on their professional practice backgrounds and experience to develop their understanding of safeguarding the human rights of those who lack mental capacity in health and social care planning in a range of settings, including institutional and domestic, and interprofessional decision-making practice contexts. Students will draw on relevant theory, research and the philosophies of ethics and rights to gain critical expertise in the assessment, decision-making, communication and recording required for the BIA role as well as considering how to ensure the rights of people with limited mental capacity can be centred in assessment and decision making about their rights and what is necessary and proportionate to safeguarding them from the risk of harm. 

A key element of the module will involve students shadowing and reflecting on the professional practice of those conducting the BIA role with adults subject to DoLS and using these experiences for critical reflection in the module's assessment. This element relies on the support of local authority supervisory bodies to offer these opportunities which must be verified by students on application for the module. Alternative approaches are available for BIA shadowing while access to relevant care settings are restricted due to national public health measures. Students will also participate in a group formative learning experience related to DoLS assessment documentation and decision-making and will receive critique from experienced practitioners which offers the opportunity for peer learning and critical reflection on practice.


  • Assessed presentation.
  • A 3,000 word critically reflective assignment.


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Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

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Please click on the Apply Now button to view dates.

How to apply

How to apply

All candidates must have a letter completed by their supporting Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards lead/supervisory body to show that they will have access to at least two Best Interests Assessment shadowing opportunities, in a timely manner to enable the candidate to complete the course assessments. Please download, fill in and return the Best Interest Assessment Module Applicant Selection Form (DOCX) to support your application.

Alternatives arrangements are available where accessing opportunities to shadow BIA practice are limited due to public health protection measures please complete and return the agreement in whichever case.

Please click on the Apply Now button to apply for your CPD module, which you can take as a stand-alone course or as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate (Masters level) programme.

Extra information

If the course you are applying for is fully online or blended learning, please note that you are expected to provide your own headsets/microphones.

For further information