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Short Breaks Services Eligibility Criteria

This part of our Short Breaks Services Statement is intended to assist professionals in the allocation of Short Breaks Services to children and young people with disabilities, their parents or carers and other family members specifically siblings. 

It is also to provide information about Bedford Borough Council's Short Break Services processes and eligibility criteria to children and young people with disabilities and their families.

The Resource Allocation Guidance and Short Breaks Eligibility Criteria are to be used in conjunction with a formal assessment of need such as a Common Assessment Framework (CAF); Children in Need (CIN) Initial and, or Core Assessment and a Carers Assessment.

These assessments are usually carried out by Lead Professionals in the case of CAF Assessments, or Social Workers in the case of Children in Need Assessments and Carers Assessments.  Resources will be allocated by consideration of any submitted formal assessments and additional supporting evidence.

This guidance uses descriptors to quantify the effect a disability has on the ability of children and young people, their parents or carers and siblings to carry out normal day to day activities. 

It also uses examples of what typical day to day activities for these groups may be for people unaffected by a disability.

Disabilities and impairments may vary both in severity and the impact they have on family life and it is not always possible to account for all eventualities in advance.

Careful consideration should be given as to the individual circumstances for each case and the impact on the health and wellbeing of parents or carers and siblings this may have as it will strongly influence the determination of need.

As such the terminology used within this guidance is subjective to allow for discretion in determining levels of need and in making decisions on the basis of these needs. 

Descriptors and examples should be used as general indicators only and decisions regarding the level of need and allocation of resources should reflect this.

The aim should always be to provide the most appropriate resources to assist individuals who provide care for children with disabilities, to enable them to continue to do so, or to do so more effectively by giving them breaks from caring,

And to present opportunities for children and young people with disabilities to be able to experience new activities, establish and build friendships and pursue their aspirational goals.


Why we Use This Guidance

We use this guidance because it is based on legal requirements including:

  • The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Children’s Act 1989
  • The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
  • The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970
  • The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families


Because it is designed around the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families it does not exclude anyone and helps us to identify what Short Break Services children, young people and families need.

Further it uses the principles of the Equality Act 2010 which describes the effect of an impairment and not the impairment itself.


Right to Appeal

Families and individuals have a right to appeal the assessment of their needs.  They should discuss this with the Lead Professional or Social Worker who has undertaken the assessment.



DISABILITY - The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as a person with a disability.

A person has a disability for the purposes of the Act if he or she has a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.  People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition are also protected by the Act.

There are additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions.  People with HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis are protected by the Act from the point of diagnosis.  People with some visual impairments are automatically deemed to be disabled.

Whether a person is disabled for the purpose of the Act is generally determined by reference to the effect that an impairment has on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

An impairment may be physical or mental and it may not always be possible, nor is it necessary, to categorise a condition as either a physical or mental impairment.

The requirement that an adverse effect on normal day-to-day activities should be a substantial one reflects the general understanding of disability limitation going beyond the normal differences in ability which may exist among people.

The time taken by a person with an impairment to carry out normal day-to-day activities should be considered as should the cumulative effects of more than one impairment.

The Act states that a long-term effect of an impairment is one which has lasted at least 12 months or is likely to last at least 12 months or is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person affected.

The Act does not define what is to be regarded as normal day to day activity but in general are things people do on a regular or daily basis.


Conditions that are Excluded

Some conditions are specifically excluded from being covered by the disability definition, such as a tendency to set fires or addictions to non–prescribed substances.


Further Definitions

For the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, these terms have the following meanings:

SUBSTANTIAL - Means more than minor or trivial.

LONG TERM - Means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions.)

NORMAL DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES - Include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping.

PARENTS/CARERS - A person who provides care for a child with disabilities and who is either the child’s parent or a person who is not the child’s parent but who has parental responsibility for that child.

SIBLINGS – A sibling can be a brother or sister of a disabled child, or a child who permanently lives within the same household.



The information that follow in the Resource Allocation Guidance and Short Breaks Eligibility Criteria are only examples; normal day-to-day activities will be different for each child and family and may be affected by factors such as age, culture or religion.

Personal care means things like going to the toilet, having a wash, getting dressed or teeth cleaning. For babies it will be things like nappy changing.

Family’s needs are assessed on the criteria set out in Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families.  This looks at three areas including:

  • The child’s developmental needs
  • The parents’ parenting capacity
  • Family and environmental factors


Circumstances that may be encountered within these areas because of a disability are highlighted in the considerations section for each assessed area.

If you have any questions about the Short Breaks Services Statement, Pathways, Resource Allocation Guidance or Eligibility Criteria please contact our Short Breaks Commissioning Manager on 01234 267422 to discuss these matters further.



Our Short Breaks Services Statement is available to download here:

Short Breaks Services Statement (Pdf)

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