Bradford Metropolitan District Council
225 BIAs and Safeguarding Review
In circumstances that will be familiar to many local authorities, the 2014 Supreme Court Ruling (P v Cheshire West and Chester Council et al) left Bradford Metropolitan District Council inundated with Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) cases.
The Council faced a backlog of 250 DoLS cases, each with service users requiring Best Interests Assessments. ICS Assessment Services provided an end-to-end service, completing reviews of all 250 clients and providing BIAs for 225 cases. We completed 10 assessment per week, with an average turnaround of 19 working days per assessment.
- Conducted 225 Best Interests Assessments of clients within a 6-month project timeline
- Utilised Council’s standard templates for consistency
- Agreed outputs up-front including a rate of 10 assessments per week returned to the Council – ensuring a rapid response and approval process to progress cases
- Direct, secure upload to Council management system using Egress
- Conducted a review of Safeguarding processes (alert through to resolution) leaving a strong foundation for management in the future
ICS Assessment Services were commissioned by Bradford Council to clear their Best Interests Assessments (BIA) backlog in March 2016. We assembled a team of experienced social workers with track records of completing DoLS cases to complete the outstanding Council reviews.
Our scoping and implementation period involved a review of the Council’s Safeguarding process, ensuring:
- Understand the current processes
- Support the triaging of referrals and update SystmOne
- Jointly support the Council with instruction and training
- Securely transfer Safeguarding alert data onto the new system
We reviewed all 250 cases, screened 25 clients as no longer requiring assessment and fulfilled Best Interests Assessment for 225 clients the within six months. By jointly agreeing the required standards with the Council up-front, our Quality Assurance processes ensured that 98% of all assessments were accepted on first submission by the Council.
In supporting the reduction in the backlog, we provided additional capacity for the existing internal team to embed new processes and referrals. This allowed:
- Shadowing and mentoring opportunities from our experienced safeguarding practitioners
- Detailed analysis of the safeguarding alert pathway and management information
Bradford MDC engaged ICS Assessment Services in March  to help with our DoLS requests, as we were looking for a better way to meet the huge surge in demand which has been seen not just in Bradford, but by colleagues across all Councils in the last two years. From the very start of our conversations, [ICS]’s project manager John Hitchen was clear and knowledgeable about the process from reviewing and clearing our backlog, and also how we ensure we will meet future demand.
"The review of our Safeguarding processes has been invaluable – it was refreshing to have a DoLS Lead and Project Manager help with how we future proof our service delivery, and ensure we respond appropriately to Safeguarding alerts without adding unnecessary burden to my staff.
"It’s made the process feel much more like a two-way approach, rather than simply a transactional service for our department. I’m confident that we’ll now be able to meet our objectives in the future, and would recommend ICS to Councils anywhere looking to tackle similar challenges.
Head of Adult Safeguarding, Bradford Metropolitan District Council