Best Interests Assessor Training

Who is this course for?

This single module training enables Social Workers, Nurses, Occupational Therapists or Psychologists to qualify as a Best Interests Assessor (BIA), a professional role outlined within the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.  Candidates can opt to study this as a single stand-alone module or as part of the Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate in Specialist Social Work Practice with Adults or B Phil in Specialist Social Work Practice with Adults.

Entry requirements

By law only Social Workers, Nurses, Occupational Therapists or Psychologists are allowed to practice as a BIA.  Candidates should, therefore, come from these professional groups.  On rare occasions we will accept candidates from outside of these professions (for example, managers who want to gain a better understanding of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) on the understanding that they will not be able to practice as a BIA on completion of the course.

In addition, candidates must:

  • Have at least two year’s post registration professional experience.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the statutory principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Candidates are required to complete a 1500 word statement outlining their understanding of the 5 principles and giving examples of how each has impacted upon their own practice.
  • Have successfully completed the module Consolidating Adult Social Care Practice (or its equivalent*).

* this equivalent could be other appropriate and equivalent post-qualifying certificated training such as the OU modules on working with disability. If in doubt about any such qualification please ask. Alternatively candidates may demonstrate their understanding of the social model of disability by completing an additional 1500 word assignment.

The course is run in partnership with a number of local employers.  This is important because the practice learning and our assessment procedures require that a candidate is able to not simply shadow but also participate in DoLs BIA assessments.

Before applying, candidates should ensure that they are sponsored by their employer, or (in the case of independent candidates) ensure that one of our partner employers agrees to provide them with access to participation in BIA assessments and the support and guidance of an experienced DoLs BIA.

How to apply

Applications packs can be obtained by contacting the programme administrator. The pack can be returned by email to or posted for the attention of the BIA programme administrator to:

Department of Social Work and Social Policy
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

A completed application pack should contain: an application form containing all appropriate signatures, a supporting statement, evidence of successful completion of the consolidation module (or equivalent, or a statement on the social module of disability), a university enrolment form and verified copies of certification including professional registration.

Course structure

Academic level:  Candidates can study the module at two different academic levels; M (Masters) or H (Graduate) level.

Successful completion of the Best Interests Assessor module will allow candidates to practice as a BIA.  We strongly recommend that all candidates shadow a BIA prior to attending the course.

The course consists of six teaching days, and one half day workshop focusing on the assessed task. In addition candidates are expected to engage with pre-course reading.  Additional reading is recommended after each training day.  The training includes specialist sessions with a service user (on how to assess capacity), a carer, and a member of the legal profession.  During the training candidates are advised to shadow another BIA and to complete the paperwork (form 3) in draft.  

How is the course assessed?

The assessed task is linked to a further BIA assessment.  This assessment is co-worked between the candidate and the BIA.  In order to pass the course candidates need to: submit and pass the BIA paperwork for this assessment (form 3), pass a presentation based on this assessment and pass a written assignment based on this assessment.

Further information

Start date: The module is scheduled to run every January.  Due to demand, however, it has recently been run in the autumn term as well.

Duration: It takes roughly six months for candidates to complete the module, the assessment and to receive feedback.  If candidates pass the module then they are able to practice as a Best Interests Assessor.

Management processes: The programme has been developed in partnership with employer partners within the West and East Midlands. The development has been informed by the input into the consultation by service managers and practice assessors. The Management Group manages all aspects of the programme.

Contact details


Fees and application deadlines

  • Fees for academic year 2018-19: Independent candidates: £850
  • Applications deadlines for 2018-19: The deadline for the January cohort is 1 November 2018.