Best Value Social Services

The Book
1 day course
2 day course

Social Services Strategic Planning - facilitating Best Value

Collectively and individually we have a bank of knowledge of social services, social inclusion and partnership built on many years experience. During the past two and a half years we have made a special study of Best Value and the impact it is likely to have, and is increasingly having, on social services and social inclusion. Our aim is to share what we have learned with you; in one of four basic ways.


Our training philosophy starts from the well founded assumption that people learn best by building on what they already know. Fortunately most people already know a great deal about Best Value social services, though they donít always know they know! We explore the principles of Best Value in a way which relates them to the principles of good management and good practice. The outcome is designed to leave participants more positive about what they are doing and planning to do and more focused on how to go about it.

We offer two basic courses:

Follow the links for more detail. They are of course always targeted specifically at the needs of the individual participants and, in accordance with our learning philosophy, they are highly interactive, participatory and, dare we say, enjoyable.

We also offer bespoke courses and seminars, developed in collaboration with you and focused on a particular training need you have identified. Inevitably they are considerably more expensive because of the development costs involved; but our experience is that we can often tailor one of the basic courses to your particular needs without the necessity for a totally different approach. Give a call to discuss your requirements.

We are always willing to visit you for a detailed discussion about your needs without charge and without any feeling of obligation.

Inputs to Conferences and Seminars

If you are running a conference or a seminar and you are looking for someone to lead a workshop or to run a plenary session on an aspect of Best Value Social Services / Social Inclusion we are always happy to oblige if we can. Tell us what you want and, if you know, who you want and let us see if we can meet your needs. Please come back to us for a discussion about your particular requirements and timing.


A local authority might want to think through the best way to tackle a Best Value review. A voluntary or independent service provider might want to review the way it positions itself to demonstrate that the services it provides are Best Value or to review them to be sure that they are. An external facilitator in the early stages of these processes is, quite simply, essential. "A problem shared is a problem halved." But a problem only shared with the people you have shared it with many times before will produce the same solutions you have come up with many times before.

We can do two things for you. The most useful of all is to provide that external, informed perspective on the problem you are addressing. We will harvest all your best ideas to sow in other fields but, most important for you, we will sow all the relevant best ideas we have heard and read already in your field!

Secondly we have developed a planning framework which can reduce several days of desultory meetings to a highly productive single dayís group task which produces a specified outcome.

Facilitation is an extremely cost effective option. It concentrates and saves your expensive management time and, because it demands a relatively short input from us, our fee will not break the bank either.

Best Value Reviews

Local authorities are already legally obliged to be undertaking Best Value reviews of course and an increasing number of voluntary and independent service providers are beginning to think that they should review their own services to make sure they will pass muster when they become part of the statutory process, (as they inevitably will). A well targeted external input can make a very useful contribution to a best value review and there is sometimes something to be said for handing over the whole process to a third party.

An external consultancy can be a cost effective option. It can focus on the task agreed without the distractions with which the social services manager must cope every working day. We specialise in social services and we specialise in Best Value.

Who we are

We only use trainers, facilitators and reviewers with genuine expertise in Best Value and in the subject under discussion.

Keith Fletcher, the Director of Social Services Strategic Planning, is the author of "Best Value Social Services" and "Negotiation for Health and Social Services Professionals". He was deputy chief inspector in the Social Services Inspectorate Wales and has spent the past seven years almost exclusively working on what is now called best value.

Mike Williams is a partner in Partnership at Work a consultancy dedicated, as its name implies, to enabling agencies and communities to work more closely and effectively. A planner by background and expertise Mike has a particularly wide knowledge of the voluntary sector.

Janet Williams is also a partner in Partnership at Work. Janet is a social worker with an impressive track record of research and development in services for children and families. Her most recent publication is "Meeting the Needs of Country Children" published by NCVCCO and she has been closely involved in the development of the Sure Start programme in many parts of the country. Before moving into consultancy she was a member of the senior management team of the Family Service Units.

Himu Gupta is the joint author of "Quality Assurance for Social Care Agencies" and has focussed exclusively on that field of work since he left local authority social services in order to do so. He is an internationally acknowledged expert in this area of work.

Pi Associates is a consultancy providing generic management development training, service review and feasibility study. Its four principals each have their own expertise but, as a team, they share a particular knowledge of management in the health service.

Mike Cosgrove is now working as an independent consultant. Formerly Assistant Director in Kent Social Services Department with a background in human resource management he developed a human resource management policy there which included a range of radical solutions to enhance recruitment and improve retention and morale in the department.

We are constantly looking for new people who can add some new and exciting dimension to the services we provide.

Other Best Value Initiatives

A separate initiative called "Best Value People" is under development at present. It is focused on improving staffing in the social services: follow the link for details. Just let us know if you would like a preliminary discussion.

© SSSP Ltd., September 2003