Warwickshire County Council
630 Best Interests and Mental Health Assessments
ICS Assessment Services were contacted by Warwickshire County Council to explore options to address the backlog of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding (DoLS) cases they had amassed, following the Supreme Court Judgement.
Our service included the recruitment of all Best Interests Assessors and DoLS Mental Health Assessors required to deliver the completed assessments on a managed outcome and fixed fee basis.
- Cleared a backlog of 630 DoLS cases within 24 weeks, on time and to budget
- 94% of assessments accepted on first submission to the Council
- Undertook a survey of Best Interests Assessors to provide qualitative feedback on the local processes and services
- Supporting the Council with a spot-purchase arrangement to help meet fluctuating demand
Our administrative staff assisted the Council’s own team in the co-ordination and allocation of assessments, helping to reduce workloads and our in-house, dedicated DoLS lead also provided quality control on assessments, alongside professional guidance for assessors and council staff.
Following the successful delivery of this project, ICS now provides a ‘spot-purchase’ maintenance package to support fluctuations in demand. The DoLS Lead at Warwickshire County Council was also a guest speaker at our National DoLS Conference held at Dean’s Court Chambers in September.
The Council had a backlog of over 630 best interest assessments. We established project guidelines, commissioned the Mental Health Assessor, completed the Best Interests Assessment, and prepared the Form 5. During the project, we returned an average of over 30 assessments per week over 24 weeks. We cleared all 630 BIAs over the agreed period, with 94% of assessments accepted upon first submission by the Council. We are currently in discussions with the Council to provide an aftercare package which will allow them to spot-purchase 50 assessments at any time to help them cope with demand.
Our commitment to quality assurance and helping assessors improve their practice has helped to develop the skills of the local workforce. By working with local BIAs to improve their insight and assessment skills, we have ensured that there is increased capacity to do this kind of work in the future.
[We had] a budget in mind to clear a backlog of best interest assessments. However, on the strength and comprehensiveness of their proposal, we requested ICS take on a larger batch and increased the budget, confident that they could deliver their objectives in a thorough manner and adhere to agreed timescales.
What we appreciated about the solutions they provided was that they were specifically tailored to us. Their representatives spent a number of weeks with the council building up their knowledge of our services and putting in the groundwork for the exceptional level of consultation they provided.
Throughout the course of the project, their DoLS lead Elly Davis was always available to resolve any issues and concerns that arose, fostering a strong working relationship to ensure the best possible outcomes. The guidance she provided using her excellent knowledge of the field was truly appreciated by us all.
Jo Brennan, Adult Social Care Operations Manager, Warwickshire County Council