Best Interests Assessor

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Best Interests Assessor

15 credits at level 7 (Postgraduate/Masters)

This module provides the opportunity to acquire the qualification required for to carry out the duties of Best Interests Assessors, as required by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) regulations. It is open to professionals from social work, nursing, occupational therapy and psychology who have at least two years post-qualifying experience.

On completion of this module students are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate the critical ability to keep appropriate records and to provide clear and reasoned report in accordance with legal requirements and good practice
  • Demonstrate the professional knowledge and skills necessary to obtain, evaluate and analyse complex evidence and differing views and to weigh them appropriately in decision making
  • Critically apply knowledge of relevant legislation and codes of practice (including the Mental Health and Mental Capacity acts and the DOLS regulations).

For this module there is a minimum post qualification experience requirement of two years.

The cost of the course is £630.00. 

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Student Course Reviews

“Thank you for such a comprehensive course which has made me feel confident in my BIA role and has also improved my practice as a Social Worker in general.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the taught days and Lucy’s approach to delivering the training empowered me.”

Application Forms for the PQ Modules

If you have not studied any modules from this programme before please use the University's Online Application System. Please be aware that, while it is possible to link completed modules from the former Interprofessional Practice award into the new programme, you will still need to complete the online application to apply for your first module from the new programme.


Please ensure that prior to completing your application, you have had a discussion with your line manager and completed any internal training request processes, if applicable. You will also need to make arrangements for the payment of the course fees; for further details please see our Fees page.


The New Students application form link will take you through to the University of Lincoln’s on-line postgraduate application tool, My Lincoln. Please complete all sections before you press ‘Submit’. If you find that you are unable to submit, please double-check all required fields are complete: you can check what information is outstanding by looking at the colour indicator next to each section heading – Green indicates that the section is complete, while Orange or Red show that there is still information to be added.

Important: Please be aware that, unless your highest level of qualification was issued by the University of Lincoln, we do need you to provide copies of supporting documents with your application, evidencing your highest academic qualification, together with evidence of your nationality, such as your passport or birth certificate. Applications cannot be processed without these, and this may result in you missing out on a place on your chosen course.

This will send you an automatically generated email to confirm your application has been submitted. The application goes straight through to the University’s central Admissions department for initial checks and then is sent on to the Professional Development Centre for review. You will receive an email confirming receipt.

Confirmation of your place 

As soon as your application has been approved you will receive confirmation of your place via email. In the event that a particular course does not receive enough applications for it to run, you will be notified straight away and if possible, offered a place on the next available date.

Two weeks before the course starts you will receive your joining instructions pack via email.


Enrolment for the University has now moved online. About a month prior to start of the course you will receive an email from our Student Administration team with instructions on completing the online enrolment process. As part of this you will be asked to check and update your personal details and upload a photo for your student ID card.

On day one of your course, you will complete enrolment enrol with the University. You will be required to bring with you a recognised form of photo identification that confirms your nationality e.g. passport. Unfortunately, you will not be able to enrol without this and this could delay receiving access to university systems, including our online learning materials and the library.

You are now a student of the University of Lincoln - welcome.

Eligibility for the PQSW modules

All applicants, with the exception of those for the Best Interests Assessor module, are required to be qualified Social Workers, and have current registration with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

For the Best Interests Assessor module, applicants should be professionals from one of the following disciplines – social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology – and have an undergraduate degree level qualification or above.

Applicants should normally be employed by a service provider (in either Children’s Services or Adult Social Care) or in an education, health or social work related profession.

There is a minimum post-qualifying experience requirement for each module; this is specified for each on their individual module page.

It is strongly recommended that applicants have access to a Best Interests Assessor, who is prepared to allow the applicant to shadow one assessment.  This will enable students to maximise their learning from this programme.

Written Test

Applicants who have not undertaken study at a Postgraduate level before and whose Social Work undergraduate degree is 2:2 or lower, will be required to undertake a short written test. This can be submitted at any point in the application process however must be received by the Professional Development Centre, at, by no less than 1 month prior to the start date of the module applied for.

Consolidation of Post-Qualifying Professional Development - written test (PDF) 

Practice Education 1 - written test (PDF)

International students

Due to the part-time nature of all these courses and the requirements of the Tier 4 (General) student visa set out by the UK Home Office, we are unfortunately unable to consider applications from international students.

Q: What do I do if I am not sure which course to apply for?

A: In the first instance, please discuss this with your line manager and/or training manager. For advice from the Professional Development Centre, please email your query to

Q: My employer will not fund my place- can I fund it myself?

A: The majority of our applicants are sponsored by their employers; however we do also welcome applications from self-funding students. Please contact the Professional Development Centre for further information:

Q: How much are the course fees?

A: The fees are subject to change and dependent on the module studied. Please contact the Professional Development Centre for further information:

Q: Is there a deadline for applying for a course?

A: We ask applicants to try to submit their applications more than two weeks ahead of the start date. This gives us time to process applications and confirm places in time. However if applications are received after this point and there are still places available then we will try to consider them. If you are in this position we would advise you to contact the Professional Development Centre at so we know to expect your application.

Q: I would like to apply for an individual module rather than the entire MSc Advanced Professional Practice in Social Work. How do I do this?

A: All the individual Post-Qualifying Social Work modules offered are listed under the umbrella of the MSc Social Work Advanced Professional Practice and can be studied as stand-alone modules. To apply please select the MSc in Advanced Professional Practice in Social Work from the drop-down list in the Course Selection section of the online Postgraduate Application form, and include a line in your personal statement indicating which module(s) and cohort you wish your application to be considered for.

Q: I am experiencing difficulties submitting the online application form – what help/advice is available?

A: Applicants are required to complete all sections and subsections of the Postgraduate Application form therefore missing information is the most common reason for being unable to submit it. You can check what information is outstanding by looking at the colour indicator next to each section heading – Green indicates that the section is complete, while Orange or Red show that there is still information to be added. Once you have successfully submitted your application you will receive an automatically-generated email confirmation from our Admissions department.

Q: What do I do if my personal details change i.e. address or email (for a change of name please see below) before I have enrolled with the university?

A: Email your change to the Professional Development Centre: 

Q: What do I do if my personal details change i.e. address or email (for a change of name please see below) after I have enrolled with the university?

A: You can update your student record via our student portal. You will have access to this following enrolment.

Q: I have changed my name since my initial application or enrolment. How do I inform the University of this change?

A: If you are based in Lincoln, please bring some evidence of the change of name e.g. a marriage certificate or legal document to the Student Support Centre and they will be happy to amend your student record. Alternatively please send a copy of your evidence to us, either via email to or via post to Professional Development Centre, University of Lincoln, Think Tank – Room 6, Campus Way, Lincoln, LN6 7TS..

Q: I need to withdraw my application before the course starts- what do I do?

A: Email the Professional Development Centre asap:

Q: I cannot attend the first day or a later day on the course timetable, who do I contact?

A: Contact the Professional Development Centre: as soon as possible. Most modules will allow you to start if you cannot attend on day one. However the majority of the courses have a minimum attendance expectation of 80% and therefore you are advised to consider this prior to taking up an offer.

Learning and Teaching

The teaching and learning strategy for this course involves a mixture of classroom based activities (including lectures from several different expert persons with the requisite knowledge of relevant legislation and guidance); class discussions, and small group work on relevant case studies; extensive reading, and some practice based activities.

As part of this module there is a requirement to shadow a Best Interests Assessor for a minimum of one case, which is designed to provide the material for one of the assessment items within the portfolio. Students are required to negotiate access for this.


Assessment is comprised of two elements:

  • A 45 minute unseen multiple choice exam, worth 25% of the overall module marks
  • A written portfolio, equivalent to 3,000 words, comprised of a detailed case study involving a best interests assessment scenario (60%) and a critical reflective piece (40%), which makes up the remaining 75% of the overall module marks

To pass students must achieve a minimum of 50% in each assessment element.

Closing Date For Applications

Applications will close once we have reached our maximum cohort size. Subsequent applications received will be added to a waiting list for the next available cohort. You are therefore advised to submit an application as soon as possible for your chosen cohort, and to ensure to include all necessary supporting documentation, as applications are considered in the order they are received by the Course Administrator.

Course Dates

The course is comprised of 5 full days of teaching, usually delivered one day every week over a 5 week period.

Upcoming Dates:


4th September 2019

5th September 2019

11th September 2019

12th September 2019

19th September 2019


This module is worth 15 credits therefore suggestive of 150 hours of study in total, made of the aforementioned class attendance, combined with completion of assessments, reading and other study.

All teaching will take place at The University of Lincoln.

For enquiries, please contact the Professional Development Centre on