Birmingham City Council

1,101 Best Interests and Mental Health Assessments

Following the legal precedent set by the Cheshire West judgment in 2014, this large West Midlands City Council were presented with a backlog of 600 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) cases, all of which required Best Interests Assessments.

We consulted with the Council in August 2015, as they lacked the internal capacity to alleviate this sizeable workload within mandatory timescales. This shortfall was exacerbated by large numbers of new DoLS cases.

Key Achievements:

  • Completed a backlog of 1,101 DoLS cases
  • All cases featured Best Interests Assessments
  • Initial 600 case backlog cleared in seven months using qualified Best Interests Assessors
  • 98% of assessments accepted on first submission
  • 535 cases screened and no longer requiring assessment, reducing administration & eliminating practitioner's cost for the Council
  • Assessments cleared on time and to budget
  • Case turnaround in 16 working days


The Council’s Head of Adult Safeguarding contacted us as a result of their challenges, to discuss a fully managed, outsourced assessments service. The need to ensure these cases were completed on-time and in a legally compliant manner presented challenges to the Council without our support.

Given our experience of alleviating DoLS assessment backlogs in areas of a similar size to Birmingham, we were able to direct the Council regarding the best approach to take. We demonstrated our focus on a quality, value for money approach, and provided an end-to-end service comprising Best Interests Assessors, quality assurance and the preparation of Form 5s.


  1. Consultancy
    We organised a four-week scoping and implementation period.Our Head of Consultancy and Head of Projects met with Council management and stakeholders to:
    • Prepare the security transfer processes
    • Gain an understanding the Council’s quality thresholds, and
    • Ascertain what reporting information would be required by Birmingham.

    A detailed project plan, agreed by all parties, was then produced and adhered to throughout the contract.


  1. Delivery
    We completed the original backlog within seven months, utilising our extensive pool of Best Interests Assessors in the local area to complete assessments. As per our project plan, these assessors were co-ordinated and allocated assessments by our dedicated DoLS Admin Team, with all assessments quality assured by our in-house DoLS Lead.


  1. Legacy
    We extended our initial service delivery of 600 cases to over 1,100 in 2016. Given our track record in working with Councils similar to Birmingham, we were able to leave the local authority in a stronger position for the future, and allow staff to focus on service provision for the Councils’ most vulnerable adults.
"The service ICS Assessment Services supplied to our Council was a great success and has fulfilled all our expectations. I know from conversations with operational managers that they have been impressed with the efficiency and quality of the work undertaken, and have felt that positive working relationships have been maintained throughout the course of this contract.
I am extremely grateful to ICS for all their hard work during the contract’s lifetime – their contributions have put the Council in a much stronger position regarding best interest assessments going forward. We are now able to predict the approximate point at which the backlog of assessments will be eradicated, and this would not have been possible with ICS’s work.
Their services also provided excellent value for money, as they submitted high-quality assessments on time and to budget. We would not hesitate to engage with ICS in the future should the need arise, and I would highly recommend them to any other Council in a similar position to that of ourselves."

Head of Adult Safeguarding, West Midlands City Council