North West City Council

598 Best Interests Assessments Spot-purchasing

ICS Assessment Services worked with this Greater Manchester Authority for over 12 months, assisting the Council (through a spot-purchasing arrangement) with Best Interests Assessments which the internal team has been unable to complete due to demand pressures.

The flexibility of the arrangement has allowed the Council to respond to peaks in demand without having to commit to employing new members of staff. The project has also allowed the Council to utilise ICS Assessment Services’ extensive network of experienced Best Interests Assessors.

Key Achievements:

  • Completed a 598 Assessments to date
  • Agreed a spot-purchasing arrangement with the Council ensuring flexibility and availability of resource
  • Completed Form 5s delivered on time
  • 11 working days average case turnaround, per assessment, based on 598 completed total over the life of the contract
  • Guaranteed return within 2 weeks


The GMA's Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) team had engaged directly with an assortment of independent Assessors and small agencies invoicing on a per-assessment basis, resulting in a significant drain on management time. ICS Assessment Services ensured a fully managed, end-to-end process allowing the Council to:

  • Source experienced Assessors
  • Ensure compliance standards are being met
  • Allocate assessments in a timely manner
  • Check completed documentation
  • Ensure files were securely handled via direct data transfer through Egress or the Council’s own system

After discussions with the DoLS team, we agreed a simple mechanism for completing between 30-50 assessments per week, whereby we handled the entire backlog within a secure, efficient and compliant environment, close to the Council’s own offices. In addition, we guaranteed returns within 2 weeks.


  • Provided a flexible model of assessment, responsive to demand pressures without having to over-commit to a rigid staffing structure, or undertake lengthy screening of sub-contractors or agency staff
  • Assessors are fully vetted and have access to our own internal Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding (DoLS) Development Programme and updates on legislation