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
and independent service providers are beginning
to think that they should review their own services to make sure they
pass muster when they become part of the
process (as they inevitably will). A well targeted external input
make a very useful contribution to a best value
review and there is sometimes something to be said for handing over
whole process to a third party.
Anyone charged with making these decisions needs
An external consultancy can be a cost effective
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.
Do we need an independent
analysis before we focus the review?
Do we need help to
Do we need help to work
out unit costs?
Do we need a financial
of the service?
Do we need help to review
our information strategy?
Do we need to develop our
consumer consultation methods?
Do we need help to
a basic quality/scale/cost profile?
What's special about services for child
They have to balance the vital protection of a small
number of children and improving the quality of life of a much larger
of children in need, without sacrificing either.
Collaborative working in child protection is an
The services have a high political profile and a
poor press which actively hunts failure.
Long term outcomes are poorly researched so "the
best interests of the child" are not necessarily obvious.
Unit costs and benchmarks are not well identified
so the cost element of Best Value in child protection
There is a shortage of qualified, experienced and
skilled staff approaching crisis level in some areas.
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
How Social Services Strategic Planning can
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
Keith Fletcher, for a preliminary discussion about your current position
and intentions. We are here to help if we can.
© SSSP Ltd., September 2003