Assessment of Need, Service Statement and Redress

 What is an assessment of need?

An assessment of need is an assessment of the full range of your child’s needs associated with his or her disability.  After this, you will receive an Assessment Report detailing your child’s needs and the services required to meet those needs.

  • If you are of the opinion your child may have a disability and is under the age of five or was under the age of five on 1/6/2007 (i.e. any child born after 1st June 2002) you may apply to HSE for an Assessment of Need via an appointed Assessment of Need Officer. 
  • The AON officer must acknowledge receipt of your application and specify the date they received your application within 14 days of receipt. 
  • They must also specify if your application is accepted and if so the date the AON will commence which should be as soon as possible but no later than three months from the date your application was received. If your application is refused they should communicate this refusal to you in writing specifying the reason for refusal. 
  • The Assessment of Need officer will contact you and discuss with you what assessments your child requires and arrange for the relevant assessments to be carried out.
  • The necessary assessors should complete the AON and forward all reports within three months of the AON commencement date to the AON officer, save for in exceptional circumstances, when the assessment must be completed without undue delay.
  • If an AON will not be completed within three months of commencement the Executive (via HSE appointed AoN officer) must specify in writing before the deadline date the reasons why it will not be completed on time and specify a timeframe within which it is expected to be complete.
  • Once assessments are returned by assessors to the AON officer he/she shall prepare a report in writing on the results of the assessments.
  • The report shall set out the findings of the assessment officer and issue a determination in relation to the following:- 

1. Whether the child has a disability as defined by the Act.

2. In the case that it is determined the child has a disability, the nature and extent of the disability, a statement of the health and education needs if any(limited to making a referral to a local Special Educational Needs Officer) and a statement of services considered appropriate to meet the child’s needs and the time ideally required by the child for the provision of services stated.

  • Specify a date when AON will be reviewed no later than 12mths from when AON report is issued

After the assessment is completed you will receive a Report which lists details of your child’s health and educational needs and the service required to meet those needs. This is done irrespective of services available or cost implication but there is no statutory requirement to provide services outlined in AON Report.


Service Statement

  • The AON report is then forwarded to an appointed liaison officer (who is your child’s service case manager) to prepare a service statement within 1mth of receipt of AON report. The service statement once resources available have been considered should state:-
  1. The health service that will be provided
  2. The location the service will be provided
  3. The timeframe for the provision of the specified service
  4. The date from which the service statement takes effect
  5. The date for review of provision of services specified
  6. Any other appropriate information including the name of any other public body that the AON report may have been sent to (eg Seno

It is important to note that all services required by the child as listed in the assessment of need report may not be listed in the service statement due to financial or other constraints. However there is a statutory requirement for the HSE to provide the services stated in your child’s service statement. An amendment can be made to the service statement in writing by the liason officer if resources available should change



Under the Disability Act you may make a complaint to the HSE on the following grounds:-

  1. A finding that your child does not have a disability
  2. A failure of the assessment to meet the required standard set by The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQUA)
  3. The contents of the Service Statement
  4. The failure to start or complete an assessment in the required timeframe
  5. The failure of a health or education service provider to provide a service set out in the service statement or to provide it within any specified time frame.

There are two complaints officers appointed in the HSE under the Disability Act. Once a complaint has been made to the HSE the complaint must be forwarded to a complaint officer appointed under the Act as soon as possible but no later than 10 days from receipt. Complaint officers shall be independent in their function. If an investigation is carried out the complaint officer should issue a report which may contain one or more of the following:-

  1. A finding that the complaint was or was not well founded
  2. A recommendation or recommendations depending on the nature of the complaint
  3. A specified timeframe in which the recommendations must be carried out


Under the Disability Act a Disability Appeals Officer (DAO) has been appointed to the Office of Disability Appeals Officer (ODAO).

You, the HSE or an education provider may appeal any finding or recommendation made by a complaint officer to the DAO. You must make an appeal within 6 weeks from the date in which finding or recommendation was communicated to you.

The DAO can extend that 6 week deadline if requested in writing by you if they are satisfied you have reasonable cause for seeking an extension. A further extension is limited to a period of 12weeks in the case of a HSE or education provider

You may apply for access to a personal Advocate if necessary ,which can be assigned by The National Advocacy Board under the Disability Act 2005,for more information on Advocacy services contact Citizen Information board on : 01-6059000 or visit

The Disability Appeals Officer is independent and is appointed by the Minister for Health.  The Appeals Officer is not part of the HSE.  For more information about making an appeal, contact the Disability Appeals Office on LoCall 1850 211 583 or at

Further Reading:


NB This is not a legal interpretation of The Disability Act 2005, Statutory Instrument No. 234 of 2007 Disability Act 2005(Commencement)order 2007 and Statutory Instrument No 263 of 2007 Disability (Assessment of Needs, Service Statements and Redress) Regulations 2007 and should not be viewed or used as one. This is merely a guide setting out the main points.

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