Central Bedfordshire Council

300 Best Interests and Mental Health Assessments

Following the legal precedent set by the Cheshire West judgement in 2014, Central Bedfordshire Council were presented with a sizeable number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) cases.

The Council were left facing a backlog of 300 DoLS cases requiring Best Interests Assessments and Mental Health Assessments. This significant backlog, along with the increased assessment workload from new cases, presented a real problem for the council and could eventually lead to issues fulfilling their legal obligations to service users.

Key Achievements:

  • Completed a backlog of 250 DoLS cases
  • Cases all included Mental Health Assessments and Best Interests Assessments
  • All cleared in 13 weeks using qualified Best Interests Assessors and Section 12 Doctors
  • 100% of assessments accepted at first submission by the Council
  • Assessments cleared on time and to budget


ICS Assessment Services were contracted by Central Bedfordshire Council in January 2015 to deliver a managed service. This included the completion of Best Interests Assessments, carried out by qualified and experienced BIAs, and Mental Health Assessments, completed by Section 12 Doctors. Our service also included the preparation of Form 5s.

ICS Assessment Services proposed an outsourced assessment model, utilising contracted, locally-based Best Interests Assessors to complete assessments. Our service included the recruitment of all BIAs and MHAs required to deliver the completed assessments, as well as the provision on administrative support from our dedicated DoLS Admin Team to assist with the coordination and allocation of the assessments.

Following scoping and implementation, the project was completed within the agreed 13-week timescale. Monitored by our own dedicated DoLS lead, completed assessments were quality controlled with 100% of assessments accepted at first submission by Central Bedfordshire Council.

Our assessors successfully reduced the burden on management and administrative staff in the council, setting assessment standards which have enabled them to move forwards and fulfil their legal obligations by clearing the increased assessment workload from new cases.

“Central Bedfordshire Council engaged the services of ICS Assessment Services in April 2015 to address a backlog of Best Interests Assessments and S12 Mental Health Assessments. Although the Council had a team of its own staff who were addressing incoming cases, we were mindful of the risk of delaying assessments for vulnerable adults."
"We chose to engage with ICS Assessment Services because of their outcomes-based approach, which offered guaranteed completed assessments in a fixed timeframe and for a fixed cost. This meant that ICS were responsible for selecting and managing the specialist staff, allocations and administration and the quality of the completed assessments, so unlike using locums there was no drain on management time."
"We were impressed with the way ICS Assessment Services managed the project and very satisfied with the quality of the assessments. Any issues were rapidly resolved and overall we feel that this approach represented value for money for the Council."

Central Bedfordshire Council