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Best Interest Assessor - 20 credits

  • Course Code: SOW7003
  • Level: Short Course
  • Starting: March 2021
  • Study mode: Short Course (3 weeks)
  • Location: City South

The key educational aim of the course is to ensure that you recognise your role in the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards implementation. This includes a strong commitment to   Human Rights, ADP and ensuring the principles of valuing diversity and equality are maintained. The programme of study is relevant to all practitioners who work with adults in a Health and Social Care setting who have a condition that may affect their mental capacity and decision making.

What's covered in the course?

As a BIA, you will need to be employed by the local authority who has a legal responsibility to authorise a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard as a Best Interest Assessor. This can be as an independent assessor or as a BIA who is already employed by the LA. You will be able to promote and safeguard the well-being of vulnerable adults who lack mental capacity in a care setting and ensure that their detention is compliant with Human Rights legislation.

The Best Interest Assessor course is a standalone 20 credit module at post graduate level 7. The module team that deliver the following modules consist of experienced social work academics, BIA practitioners and a legal expert in mental capacity issues.

You will be exploring the ethical dilemmas involved in practice focusing on case law, cutting edge research and evidence based practice in deprivation of liberty and mental capacity work.

You will shadow a BIA assessment in practice   PRIOR to coming on the course and reflect on this as part of your summative assessment.

There is a range of teaching and learning methodologies available that will meet your needs as a graduate student.

The staff have years of experience of delivering high quality BIA training in the region.

You will be part of one of the largest universities in the country and the learning campus is in the heart of Birmingham, in Edgbaston.

There are a range of students support services from wellbeing services to learning support services, library and an active students union.

Why Choose Us?

  • Experienced academic social work staff in the field of Dols/ mental capacity/ mental health practice who deliver high quality teaching and learning at postgraduate level
  • Pastoral and academic tutorial support. Individual tutor support for each student on the course
  • Contribution from a range of practicing BIAs who work in the heart of an inner city to the course delivery and assessment
  • Period of study leave to prepare for the assessment.
  • Law teaching by a legal expert in the field of deprivation of liberty, human rights and mental capacity
  • Focus on underpinning values of diversity and anti-oppressive practice in Health and Social Care


This course is worth...

20 credits


This course costs...

£720 per year

This course is not open to International students

Speak to an expert

Do you have a question about this course? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Send your question to the Course Director and they’ll get back to you shortly.

Contact Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

  • UK/EU students
  • International students


Starting: Mar 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Short Course
  • 3 weeks
  • £720 per year

Sorry, this course is not available to International students.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

How to apply

You will need to arrange to shadow a Best Interest Assessor prior to coming onto the course and submit a Combined Form 3 as evidence of this, prior to a conditional offer being made as this is a DOH requirement.

You can contact the BIA admissions officer/module co-ordinator for the shadowing guidelines.

You will also need to provide two named referees from practice, one in your present area of employment.

Entry requirements

  • Social work, nursing or health related qualification at degree level in the UK
  • Two years post qualified experience in Health or Social care setting

Course structure

The course is of a ten day duration and there is a separate two day induction programme a week before to introduce you to the module.

The week consists of four full days teaching with study time at the end of the week and time for a mock VIVA exam to discuss your shadowing experience.

You will be offered a tutor to support you individually.

Module content

As a BIA student you will be able to explore legislation that is specific to this statutory  role such as the Human Rights Act 98, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Mental health Act 83 amended 2007.

You will be considering case law and judgements made regarding deprivation of liberty safeguards and the less restrictive alternatives.


This course has been approved by the Department of Health and has had excellent student reviews with an intake that spans across the UK.


  • Mock VIVA
  • 3000 word assignment
  • Viva examination 


As a BIA, you will be employed by a local authority in the UK who has a legal responsibility to authorise a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard, as a Best Interest Assessor. This can be as an independent assessor or as a BIA who is already employed by the LA.

This is a statutory duty with an independent roles and responsibilities.

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

As part of these plans, the University's Education provision will join the rest of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences at our City South Campus in Edgbaston during 2018.

This is the third phase of the University's project to move all teaching and learning to two campuses, City Centre and City South. By moving our Education provision, we are creating a hub for the provision of public service contracts and professional development at City South Campus and improving the student experience with a stronger sense of community and more consistent support services and facilities.


In addition to classrooms, a lecture theatre, social learning spaces, an open access IT suite and cafe facilities, the new £41 million extension to our City South Campus offers a range of specialist teaching and learning facilities for specific subjects including science, design and technology, drama and physical education.  


All our departmental facilities replicate the school learning environment.

  • Art and Design
  • Design and Technology
  • History
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Religious Education
  • Music
  • Drama

Not only are we investing £41 million in a new building to house the laboratories and teaching spaces needed, but we also plan to open up these facilities to benefit all students and the wider community. This will complement our existing sports facilities, which already provide a base for students to compete in activities ranging from rugby to.

Mary Seacole Library

The Seacole library, based at City South Campus, is one of the UK's largest specialist health education libraries. The facility offers an extensive range of range of information and reference materials set out in a relaxing environment, conducive to studying. There are comfortable seating areas, group study areas, a silent study area and private study rooms.

Computer Facilities

The Seacole building houses a large open access IT Suite which comprises of 96 PCs, printers, photocopiers and scanners. Our PCs utilise the latest Intel i5 core technology, all with:

  • Fast (unrestricted) internet connectivity
  • Ability to save files to USB, DVD & CD
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Research and statistical software
  • Storage space which can be accessed from any PC across the University and from home

Our PCs are also designed to support students who may have difficulties with reading and writing, featuring specialised software with zooming/magnification and screen reading capabilities, which may also be customised for individual student needs.

The IT Suite offers extended opening hours and is supported by a specialist Open Access Assistant during term time. In addition to the open access PCs within the IT Suite, there are 12 networked student PCs available within Seacole library.

Inderjit Patel

Senior Lecturer/Programme Director

Inderjit has delivered teaching and learning across a range of modules on professional social work programmes including Social Work Theory and Method, Law, Values and Ethics, Sociology, Child Protection, Mental Health and Inter professional practice during the last 10 years as a Senior Lecturer in Social Work. She has also delivered teaching and learning across programmes in Health and Social Care across the Faculty. She is currently the Module Co-ordinator for Law for Social work Level 6 and the Programme Director for the Post Graduate Mental Health award. She is involved with the design and delivery of a Best Interest Assessor Module at Level 7 which is about the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Inderjit has also been admissions tutor for the PG Cert/Dip Mental Health since 2008.

Her areas of teaching now focus around Human rights issues in Mental health and Values, Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work and the Law.

She is also a tutor on the BSc Social Work course and her role is to support students academically and while on placement.

Robert Wu

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Robert teaches on the generic social work programme and is the module co-ordinator for the last practice placement for BSc (Hons) Social Work. He is a personal tutor for students on the BSc and the PG Dip Approved Mental Health Practitioner/ MSc Mental Health programmes; this includes support and monitoring of practice placements.

David Collins

Senior Lecturer

David Collins is the admissions tutor for the BSc (Hons) Social Work course, which involves coordinating the process of selecting applicants to join the course. He is the coordinator for a research module in Year 3 of this course, which involves students developing their understanding and research skills culminating in the production of a dissertation. He teaches on a range of modules, in particular Adult law and Policy; Adult Safeguarding; Social Work Skills; and Mental Health related to Older Adults.

In addition, David is the module coordinator for a Social Work Skills module taught in the third year of the BA (Hons) Working with Children, Young People and Families programme. He also contributes to the training of Practice Educators, who are involved in supporting and assessing Social Work students when they are on placement.

Previously he worked in Local Government for nearly 30 years as a Day Centre Manager; Senior Social Worker; Social Work Manager; and Practice Teacher/Mentor. David is a practising artist in the field of painting and print making, and he likes to combine his interests in art, education, mental health and philosophy.

1982-1991 Day Centre Worker/Manager in day centres for Adults with Disabilities and Adults with Dementia and their Carers.

1986-89 Qualified as Social worker (CSS).

1991-94 Social Worker/Senior Social Worker in a large city general hospital, with generic experience in all aspects of Children and Families Social Work, including Fostering and Adoption; working with Adults with severe health conditions including end of life care; and Adults with Disabilities.

1994-98 Assistant Team Manager in a Community Health Team, managing social workers in a number of Multi-Disciplinary Teams supporting people with Dementia and their Carers; a Rehabilitation Unit for Older Adults; and a NHS Hospice.

1998-2010 Assistant team Manager/Team Manager in a large Adults Social Work Team, with specific roles in coordinating Adult Safeguarding; Intermediate Care Teams; and Extra-Care Sheltered Housing.

2011- Senior Lecturer at Birmingham City University.

Course enquiries

If you would like to enquire about this course please contact the module coordinator, Inderjit Patel on: