Describe how to support an individual to question or challenge decisions concerning them that are made by others

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

All individuals have the right to question or challenge decisions about them that are made by others.

It is a care workers responsibility to ensure that the rights and freedoms of the individuals that they care for are upheld as governed by the Human Rights Act 1998 and the duty to work in a person-centred way.

Whenever a decision about an individual is made, a care worker should ensure that the individual understands the reasons and implications of the decision and asked if they agree with it. This should be done in a way that promotes and respects the individual’s right to disagree.

If they do not agree with the decision, the individual should be supported to question or challenge it.

They may wish to do this themselves, with the support of their care worker or with the support of an outside agency such as a social worker or advocate.

If warranted, the individual should also be encouraged to use the complaints procedure to prompt the organisation to review their ways of working to ensure future decisions are not made without consultation with the individual.

An individual should never be stigmatised or made to feel awkward by challenging decisions made about them – it is their right and should be encouraged as part of a person-centred approach.

Example question and answer

You are later asked to speak to another social worker who has had difficulties helping an individual using the service to make choices and to challenge decisions they don’t agree with. There is a suspicion that the social care worker has also been trying to impose their own views on the individual.

In the role play or written account, you must:

Civ Describe a range of approaches to help individuals make informed choices.

Cv Describe different ways to help an individual challenge decisions made by others (such as medical practitioners, social care workers and family members)

Cvi Explain the possible consequences if the personal views of others (such as medical practitioners, social care workers and family members) are allowed to influence the choices an individual makes.

This written account will describe a range of approaches for helping individuals make informed choices, help them to challenge decisions made by others and explain the consequences that the personal views of professionals may influence an individual’s decisions.

There are a range of approaches that can be used to ensure that an individual is able to make informed choices. First and foremost, you should ensure that they are given all the relevant information in an unbiased manner. It is also useful to communicate this information in a manner that will aid their understanding, such as by using pictorial aids. Discussing the options with the individual gives them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have and guidance from friends and family can also help. For some individuals, an advocate can be used to speak on their behalf.

Individuals have the right to challenge decisions made by others, whether it be a family member or professional (such as their GP or support worker). Individuals should be encouraged to ask questions and make comments about decisions. They should know that they can ask for a second opinion from an alternative professional or speak to a senior member of staff or a manager. If they are not happy with something, they should be advised that they can use the complaints procedure.

If a professional allows their own personal views to influence an individual’s choices, it reduces the amount of choice the individual has and could lead to their needs not being met. It could cause more stress for the individual, lower self-esteem and less motivation because they may feel that they are not in control of their own lives.