As you will be aware, the health and social care sector (like others) is working hard to maintain essential services in what are extremely challenging times. Whilst the manner in which many of us work is being adapted in line with current Government and Public Health England guidance, it is recognised that much of the work we undertake can’t simply just stop. So, there is a balance to be had between ensuring, as far as possible, the wellbeing of everyone (especially vulnerable people) and maintaining vital services. I am committed to maintaining as many of the services I provide throughout this period of uncertainty whilst acting responsibly to help ensure the safety of those I work with, vulnerable people and their carers.

To this end, until further notice, the following will apply:

Where possible, I will assess and consult people using non face-to-face methods such as Skype and telephone calls. Sometimes this is not possible and, in those situations, where safe to do so, I will continue with a face-to-face approach. If this is required, current Government guidelines will be followed. Whichever method will be adopted will depend entirely upon the nature and urgency of the work and will be discussed with the instructing party and care providers where applicable.

I wish you a safe and healthy time as we work together over the coming months,

Best Wishes, Gary.

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Tel: 0203 617 1255

COP3: A Guide for Social Workers

What is a COP3?

As a Social Worker, you may be asked from time to time to complete a COP3 mental capacity assessment.  You may have completed several mental capacity assessments in the past but not come across a COP3 assessment before. If this is the case this short guide will assist you.

COP3 simply refers to the form number. It is a form used in the Court of Protection and in a similar fashion to other Court of Protection forms, it is numbered. Therefore a COP3 assessment is simply a mental capacity assessment. It is evidence that the Court of Protection requires to demonstrate that a person lacks the mental capacity to make a particular decision.

There are two parts to a COP3 form, part A and part B. Part A is completed by the person making the application to the Court of Protection (or a solicitor on their behalf) and Part B is completed by the mental capacity assessor.

What decisions might require a COP3?

In our experience, the main reason we are asked to complete a COP3 mental capacity assessment is where a person or company is applying to become a deputy for either property and financial affairs or personal welfare. You can find out more about becoming a deputy here. However, a COP3 report can be used to evidence a lack of mental capacity for any decision that the Court of Protection can rule on. You may be asked by a family member or their solicitor to complete a COP3 report. If so, it is usually important to complete it a soon as possible because it is likely that decisions already need to be made, or bills paid and the application usually takes several months from when Court officials receive the application which includes your COP3 mental capacity assessment.

What to include in a COP3 report?

Part B of a COP3 report starts with you identifying who you are and your experience. This is not a job interview or autobiography. However, it is an opportunity for you to succinctly explain why your opinion counts. What mental capacity assessments have you completed before and in what capacity? Have you had any relevant formal training such a the Best Interests Assessor course?

Next you will be required to identify the person’s cognitive impairment,  why is their mental capacity in doubt? It is important that you do not diagnose a condition yourself. Unless of course you are qualified to do so.  Explain what the diagnosis is, who diagnosed it and when. If there is no formal diagnosis, carefully explain what the cognitive impairment looks like. How does it affect the person? What are the effects?

The main part of Part B is the assessment itself. Once you have identified the decision being made (this is obtained from the information in Part A), you answer the questions, can the person understand, retain and weigh the relevant information and can they communicate their decision. You are asked to explain why the person cannot do these in relation to the decision being made. Again, it is not a life history, it is a succinct explanation of what has led you to conclude that the person cannot understand, retain or weigh the information. If they can, no explanation is required and the box remains empty.

Finally, you are asked if you have any general comments or any other recommendations for future care.  This is an important section because the Court of Protection can make an order even if that order is not specified in the application form. Where possible, the court will make a one-off decision rather than appointing a deputy with on-going decision making power.

When you complete the COP3 form, you can assist the court if you think that an order other
than the one being sought by the applicant would be in the best interests of the person to whom the application relates.  If you do complete this section, it is important to explain why you have recommended a different order.

As a Social Worker,  or an experienced mental capacity assessor,  you already have the skills to complete a COP3 report. As with any assessment, it is vital you show your workings out, what has led you to the opinion you have reached.