Best Value Social Services

 Reviews of Child Protection Services

Best Value Reviews

Local authorities are legally obliged to undertake Best Value reviews of all services 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.

Anyone charged with making these decisions needs to ask

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

What's special about services for child protection?

The challenge

Every aspect of those special attributes provokes a challenge under the Best Value process. Has the refocusing initiative gone far enough or so far that it might be placing very vulnerable children at renewed risk? Is the current assessment process the most effective way to target services? Are the services financed and provided in the most effective way? Do inter-agency arrangements provide the best support for inter-professional collaboration? What can be done to sharpen joint work with the health service professionals in particular? What can them multi-disciplinary child protection do to address the broad issues of social inclusion of vulnerable children? What can be done to improve the recruitment, retention, training, remuneration and performance of staff? What can be done to enrol the service consumers and potential consumers and the staff in the process of reaching effective policy decisions?

How Social Services Strategic Planning can help

Creating effective challenges from within an organisation is extremely difficult: from inside a building one can only look out. We come to each new organisation with an external perspective based on a range of relevant experience and skills. Keith Fletcher, the Director, has written about Best Value (Best Value Social Services. Pub. Social Services Strategic Planning), and about Negotiation (Negotiation for Health and Social Services Professionals. Pub. Jessica Kingsley) and has experience of child protection at every level from fieldwork to the development of national policy. Janet Williams has a strong track record in practice, management and research. She is a leading authority on the evaluation of the Department of Health Sure Start programme and the recent author of Meeting the Needs of Country Children, published by the National Council of Voluntary Child Care Organisations. Mike Williams has a strong track record in financial management and organisation.

But our style is important too. Unless you ask us to undertake an independent audit and report on current services we work alongside your staff in formulating the challenges and collaborating with the stakeholders to find better means of meeting them. Our intervention should be a good experience, especially for service clients, and we do everything we can to make it so.

What to do now

Contact me, Keith Fletcher, for a preliminary discussion about your current position and intentions. We are here to help if we can.

SSSP Ltd., September 2003