Single Shared Assessment Indicator of Relative Need: Operational Guidance Users Handbook

Guidance to assist implementation of SSA-IoRN


Health Department
Directorate of Service Policy and Planning


Directors of Social Work
Chief Executives of Health Boards

Community Care Division 2
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh EH1 3DG
Telephone: 0131-244 1835
Fax: 0131-244 3502

Your ref:
Our ref:

18 June 2004

Copy to:

Chief Executives of Local Authorities
Directors of Finance, Local Authorities
Directors of Housing, Local Authorities
Directors of Nursing of NHS Boards
Chief Executive, Communities Scotland
Chief Executive, State Hospital
Chief Executive, Care Commission
Core List
Relevant Voluntary Organisations
Care Assessment Group
SSA Leads
Joint Future Managers
LHCC Managers
Older People Service Managers

Dear Colleague



1. This Circular introduces new operational guidance on implementing the Single Shared Assessment Indicator of Relative Need (SSA-IoRN), formerly known as the Resource Use Measure (RUM). It aims to support extending implementation of the SSA-IoRN from the 5 initial sites to the whole of Scotland. The content of the guidance has been heavily influenced by the experience of these 5 sites.


2. As this guidance demonstrates, the purpose of the SSA-IoRN has changed significantly since the early thinking around entitlement to free care. Its function has shifted to supporting professionals and managers in decisions about the use of resources and the planning of services. And being an integral part of the single shared assessment brings it into the heart of the person centred agenda. The SSA-IoRN can therefore contribute to delivering Joint Future's wider goals of better and faster access to services.

3. This guidance also reflects the greater integration of elements of Joint Future, in particular Single Shared Assessment (SSA), the Indicator of Relative Need, e-Care and Data Standards. Single Shared Assessment is the pivotal feature: the other elements should integrate around it. The SSA-IoRN, for example, is a standardised process that emerges directly from the SSA. The change of name reflects the changing purpose of the tool. The "Resource Use Measure" was conceived to determine entitlement to free care. As it developed the purpose changed from a measure of resource use to a standardised measure of relative need. The new title more accurately reflects its use. We advised interested parties of the change on 1 April 2004. These changes have been strongly influenced by the initial 5 sites and welcomed by stakeholders across Scotland.

The Guidance

4. There will be two key elements to the operational guidance:

(1) practitioner/user handbook available in a ring-binder folder aimed at frontline practitioners with the basic details regarding SSA-IoRN as a process and the benefits to practitioners. The practitioners handbook will be distributed across partnership areas to be made available to frontline practitioners for the roll-out plans.

(2) CD ROM with full operational guidance for roll-out plans aimed at a strategic level for managers, planners and trainers who will be implementing the SSA-IoRN. There are 10 CD ROMS available for each partnership area. These will be distributed to LHCC and Joint Future Managers, SSA Leads and Older People Service Managers. The full pack will also be available on the Joint Future website ( and will be updated as required by the Joint Future Unit.


5.. The Scottish Executive will continue to provide support to partnership areas with the implementation process. Between January-March 2004 the majority of partnership areas had briefings to provide an update on the SSA-IoRN implementation process, with the remaining briefings being arranged during April-May. Partnership areas are currently confirming their plans for the roll-out and implementation of SSA-IoRN, which will be indicated in their Extended Local Partnership Agreements due at the end of April 2004. Work will continue over the next 3 months to push forward the Joint Future Agenda through the more integrated approach above and we will provide further information in support of these arrangements on the JFU website.

Review of Early Implementation

6. A short term review of early implementation within the 5 sites will be published in May. It will be available through the Scottish Executive Publications website ( Copies of the report will be sent to the 5 participating sites.


7. Local authorities and their partners should now be well placed to develop and progress their plans for the implementation of SSA-IoRN over the period 1 April 2004-31 March 2006.


8. Enquiries about this circular should be addressed in the first instance to Brenda Kerr, Joint Future Unit, Scottish Executive Health Department, Community Care Division 2, 3rd Floor East Rear, St Andrew's House, Edinburgh EH1 3DG (telephone 0131-244 3744). Professional issues should be referred to Winona Samet ( or telephone: 0131 244 5317) or Margaret-Anne Dale ( or telephone: 0131 244 5331).

7. This circular is also available on Scottish Health on the Web ( Further copies are available by telephoning or e-mail. It will also be available on the JFU website where practical advice and updates are found.

Yours sincerely

Adam Rennie


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