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.


“The Council approached ICS Assessment Services regarding the opportunity and, following a meeting with the team, we were confident that as a company [ICS] were capable of undertaking the work in a structured and sensitive manner.

"ICS’s consultant developed a robust methodology and ensured that data was sourced to inform an accurate picture of care and associated costs; upon which negotiations could be undertaken. We were involved and advised throughout the process

"Internally, action was being undertaken to establish new commissioning processes and the insight provided by ICS’s consultant has been invaluable to this process. I would highly recommend ICS in the future for assignments of this nature."

Karen Kibblewhite, Head of Commissioning, Rutland County Council