Best Interests Assessor - Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards (BIADOLS)
Cass School of Education and Communities
The Best Interests Assessor - Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards (BIADOLS) course qualifies you to assess people in situations, such as residential care or hospital, where their liberty may be in question, as well as their mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. Demand for this qualification has grown, following recent changes in the law. The BIA role involves significant legal and ethical considerations; reflected in the course teaching and assessments.
The course gives you the chance to update your skills in practice interventions, and deepen your knowledge base about current research and policy in contemporary practice. It is linked to your professional requirement as a social worker to provide evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), as part of your continued registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.
To be eligible for this course, you will need a professional qualification as either a social worker, registered nurse, occupational therapist or chartered psychologist. You will also need some experience as a practitioner, and knowledge of mental capacity and human rights legislation.
You must find a mentor with experience of the Best Interests Assessor role, who can offer you support while you are training. You must fund the mentor’s costs yourself.
You will also need to find a registered care home or hospital for you to undertake three one-hour observations. These should take place after you have started the course, and before you submit your portfolio for assessment.
You should also try to identify an opportunity to shadow a Best Interest Assessor undertaking an assessment, or part of an assessment - either before or after the course. This shadowing experience will improve your understanding of the BIADOLS role.
How you'll learn
The six day-long workshops are led by Jacqueline Harry and Dr Robert Johns, both of whom have a background and interest in social work law.
You will engage in mentored work-based learning or shadowing, and arrange to carry out three one-hour observations in a care home or hospital, with which you are not ordinarily involved. At the end of the course, you will submit a portfolio of observations.
During the workshops, you’ll engage with the work of practising BIADOLS, service users and carers, including representatives or Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs). You’ll also explore the meaning and implications of case studies and case law, learn how to complete the necessary forms, and participate in role play exercises.
What you'll learn
The BIADOLS course is an accredited MA-level short course with 30 credits. You can study it flexibly as stand-alone short course with credit, or use it as a building block for a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or a Master of Arts course. The course involves six workshops, each lasting a day:
- Introduction to the course and assessments (one day)
- Mental capacity (two days)
- BIADOL assessment process (three days)
You can also apply for accredited prior learning through UEL’s ACL system to progress towards achieving postgraduate awards.
Your future career
This course will enable you to practise the role of Best Interests Assessor: Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards (BIADOLS) – developing your knowledge of the relevant policy frameworks, and work in a way consistent with and respectful of the presumed mental capacity of the relevant person.
As a BIA, you’ll take practical steps to help someone decide whether or not they want to live in a care home or hospital, for treatment or care. You will be balancing a vulnerable person’s right to autonomy and self-determination with their right to safety - judging your actions proportionately and making effective risk assessments.
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