Welcome to Alder Advice

Who are Alder Advice?

Alder Advice is a group of independent professionals with a commom value base who work in health, social care and housing. We work across Britain as specialist advisers in these disciplines and our mission is to help improve the lives of older people and adults living with physical, sensory and learning disabilities and mental illness.

Since our first project in 2009 we have worked with more than 50 local authorities, the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS), The Social Services Improvement Agency, Welsh Local Government Association, Local Government Association (England), a number of provider organisations in the sector, 3 local authority trading companies and a number of NHS clients.

We undertake a broad range of projects all across the UK, and have particular strengths in service evaluation, redesign and transformation projects. Our consortium operating model allows us to combine the expertise of outstanding experts in specialisms relevant to our sector of operations to form teams that can provide the highest standards of professional advisory and consultancy services at a competitive price.

We have a deep understanding of and extensive experience in our sector. All of our advisors have worked in practice and management roles in statutory organisations operating in this area. Many are qualified and registered social work or allied health professionals, whilst our finance professionals, data and business analysts are all highly experienced in health, social care or housing.

We bring extensive experience in working with people who use services, often using innovative methods for public engagement.

As will be evident from our extensive client list and long track record of delivering successful projects, we offer a high standard of consulting practice. Prior to founding Alder Advice, our founding members, Rob Griffiths and Dan Short, held senior roles in major consulting practices. We have a strong commitment to working collaboratively with our clients, seeking to co-produce solutions and transfer skills where appropriate and possible.

Our customer regularly say that they welcome the strong values of our advisers and our deep understanding of the sector.




What we do

We provide support in three different forms:

Alder Advice provides consultancy, mentoring and coaching. We also provide provide and guidance and hands-on assistance to support organisations to undertake major projects using their own staff. Our mission is to improve the lives of older people and adults with disabilities and we pride ourselves on our independence, our values led approach and on using strengths based approaches. Read More.

Alder Interims are available to work as part of your local team on temporary assignments. We recognise that sometimes the additional capacity and expertise provided by an experienced interim manager or locum will better meet the needs of customers than the inputs from our advisers. Our interims have access to the support and expertise within the wider Alder Advice network. Read More.

Alder Development offers bespoke learning programmes. Our training activity grew from our thought leadership and expertise in professional practice. It was provided to complement our advisory work and to support transformation projects based on our models of practice and support. It has since expanded to transfer learning from Alder staff to our customer organisations, helping them to acquire the internal capacity to work more effectively. Read More.

How we work

Using a strengths based ethos

All our work is underpinned by our belief that every person/ team/ organisation has assets and strengths and that these need to be recognised and built on. This, we believe, is the key to improving the lives of older people and of adults with disabilities and is also the key to helping organisations, that exist to support older people and adults with disabilities, to be more effective and efficient.

This core belief is important as it underpins our work at all levels e.g. with individual service users, individual staff, teams and organisations.

Once we know what your strengths are we can plan to help you build on them to deliver the improvement needed. We can also plan and agree with you how to add to or augment your skills and strengths with the skills and the knowledge of our network of advisers.

Our appreciative approach is an essential component of our values.

Joining-up skills and know how

Our advisory teams bring together a blend of skills and knowledge tailored to your specific local needs, but the strengths based values and the commitment to helping to improve the lives of older people and of adults with disabilities are always the same.

We combine financial/ analysis skills, inquiry/ investigation approaches and professional practice experience/ sector knowledge to get beneath the surface of the issues faced, and explore how feasible each of the possible available improvement opportunities is.

Our sector knowledge, passion to improve public services and deeply held values about promoting independence all help us to engage well with your staff, suppliers, customers and partner organisations.

Team work and mutual support is central to our way of working.

Working as your partner

We always seek to work in partnership with you. We want you to feel we are your equal partner working towards shared goals. You should feel that we are enabling you to use your skills and that the skills and knowledge we bring is complementary.

We will always seek to transfer skills and will help you to reflect and learn from your experience of working with us.

Where you have the capacity, and you want to, we will work co-productively with you, your staff and other stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and partner organisations.

We believe that working together is the best way to learn and grow together.

Agreeing the way forward

Change only starts if the people who will implement it “own it”. Our recommendations will be:

"Evidence based" as we always seek evidence about what is happening now? and why? as well as sharing information about what works elsewhere with you,

Beneficial” as they will be based on a strong evidence base arising from our combining analytical, inquiry and practice skills,

Practical” as they build on existing strengths and are developed in partnership with your staff, and

Acceptable” to stakeholders as we are experienced in political environments and always discuss draft recommendations with you to pre-empt issues of acceptability.

We respect local expertise, understanding and judgement, but please do expect us to be "constructively" challenging.

In for the long haul with you

Improvement will only be delivered if you plan how to make it happen and adequately resource the implementation process.
Key to this are having:

- Some easy to action first steps that deliver some tangible changes to prove to stakeholders that the change planned is feasible, and

- Appropriately skilled resources to carry out implementation tasks.

Alder Advice can help by planning the implementation process, providing “interim” implementation staff, and training your staff in the skills they need now/in future.

We can also help you monitor your progress and help you reflect and learn throughout the exploration, analysis and implementation processes.

We know success takes time, persistence, planning and resources.

Why choose us?

Our aim to work closely with our customers and augment your skills and knowledge by providing you with temporary extra capacity with excellent consultancy skills and practical experience of your business. We can do this because:

  • Our advisers are all experienced senior managers and consultants with expertise in and a deep commitment to either Adult Social Care, Health or Housing so they know your business and will be credible with staff at all levels in your organisation.
  • Many of our advisers are/have been involved in national level developments e.g. by NICE, by Department of Health including Valuing People and by Social Services Improvement Agency in Wales. So the team has a deep understanding of the relevant policy drivers.
  • The teams we form to support you will normally combine experience of your business plus good analysis and other consultancy skills i.e. our findings will be based on sound analysis and evidence assessed by a practioners eye and underpinned by our strengths based and outcomes focused ethos.
  • We have experience of supporting regional and national improvement initiatives as well as invididual organisations so we will help you look outside your organisatoions as well as within it for innovative ideas and practical solutions.
  • We have an extensive client list .... so we may know what others are doing to respond to the issues you face.
    We give the highest priority to ensuring that we deliver only the highest quality of services and advice.
  • We expect every team member to take personal responsibility for the standard of their own work and for the performance of the overall project.Rob Griffiths and Dan Short, however, have overarching responsibility for quality and are accountable to our customers for the standards achieved in every part of our engagement. 
  • We will not accept any assignment that is outside the knowledge, skills and competencies of our team members. We will use only team members with proven excellence and reputation in areas relevant to the project.
  • We will not accept any assignment unless we have the capacity and team named in our proposal available for the agreed indicative timetable of the project.

In addition to ensuring our work is always of a high quality; we are also commited to:

  • Employing safe working practices,
  • Promoting equality and diversity,
  • Minimising our environmental footprint, and
  • Achieving the highest possible standards of information governence and confidentiality.  

We assure we can meet all the above commitments by setting out and strictly complying with a clear set of policies on each of these issues. You can read these poplicies by following the attached link to our compendium of policies.


Our Clients

Since we began trading in 2009 Alder Advice has worked with a wide range of health, local government and central government organisations a variety of care and support providers.

We often work with the same clients multiple times. Our client list includes:

  • Aberdeen City Council
  • Barnsley MBC
  • Bedford Council
  • Bridgend Council
  • Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire STP
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Caerphilly Council
  • Care in Hand
  • Central Bedfordshire Council
  • Conwy Council
  • Croydon LBC
  • Croydon Care Solutions (LA Trading Company)
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Cwm Taf Health and Social Care Economy (Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC, Merthyr Tydifil CBC and Cwm Taf UHB)
  • Department of Health
  • Essex County Council
  • Gwynedd Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Improvement East
  • Kent County Council
  • KeyRing
  • Kirklees Council
  • Luton Council
  • Merton LBC
  • Moray Council
  • NHS North Central London
  • Neath and Port Talbot Council
  • Northamptonshire County Council
  • North West ADASS
  • North Tyneside Council
  • North Wales Commissioning Hub
  • Octavo P'ship Ltd (Providing support services to schools)
  • Olympus Care Services (LA Trading Company)
  • Pembrokeshire County Council
  • Peterborough City Council
  • Powys County Council
  • SSIA - Wales
  • Somerset County Council
  • Southend-on-Sea Council
  • South East ADASS
  • South Tyneside Council
  • Southwark LBC
  • South East ADASS Region
  • Swansea (City & County)
  • South West ADASS Region
  • Swindon Borough Council
  • Three Counties (Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Hywel Dda Health Board) Learning Disability Partnership
  • Thurrock Council
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council
  • Welsh Local Government Association
  • Western Bay Learning Disability Programme
  • Wiltshire Council
  • Wilshire and Swindon User Network
  • Wokingham Council
  • Wolverhampton MBC
View More

What our
Clients Say

"The case file audits were very illuminating and very worrying. The results were not surprising to us, but they highlighted issues in a way we hadn't recognised directly before. The cost analysis was excellent, and the way this information was broken down and presented to us helped us realise where we needed to focus and what we needed to do. The shift in practice is remarkable, we just don't get requests coming to panel for placements anymore and it doesn’t feel like an issue any more in the team."

"They (the social work team) responded really well to you, and you were really very clear and challenging with them. Getting them to listen and accept the need for change was a real turning point in helping us to start changing the culture in the team. I’d love to have you back at some point to review the progress with the team."

Alex Laidler (Head of Service for Adults with Disabilities Southwark Health and Social Care)

"I wanted to use Alder’s appraisal and follow up sessions as an opportunity to create change within the team regarding practice and as a springboard to develop good practice.  I benefited immensely from the case file review"

"Alder Advice's candid and frank appraisals of the cases set me thinking on how to do things differently and ultimately to do things better. The one to one discussions with Ellen (from Alder) helped me in terms of my own professional development and showed me that maybe I had lacked guidance and appropriate supervision previously."

Shaun Colman (CTPLD Team manager at South Tyneside)


"The suggestion by Alder Advice that we could both achieve greater VFM alongside improved outcomes for people was highly motivating."

"The fact that the suggestion was backed up by hard objective external evidence as to how we could do things differently to everyone’s advantage …… was hugely persuasive."

"Senior managers and the learning disability community signed up to a detailed action plan to develop a “Progression” model which aims to transform both service delivery and the service offer."

Julie Bateman (Head of Service Development at Suffolk County Council)

“The work Alder delivered for Southwark to transform Commissioning for the 21st Century helped created a new approach to engaging with providers and stakeholders across the Council. It has helped foster a more joined up approach through closer working with colleagues in care management. Commissioners made use of some of the tools devised to analyse particular service areas, identifying key priorities for change and how a ‘burning platform’ for transformation and change could be created without destabilising the local market for social care services."

"Since the work with Alder significant progress has been made by the Council to move away from block contracting for social care services. This has included:

• establishing a nationally recognised ISF (Individual Service Fund) approach to residential and supported living services for people with learning disabilities, 

• establishing a personalised approach to voluntary sector day services for older people older peoples day services where older people purchase day centre sessions from their personal budget, and

• work is now well underway to personalise day opportunities for people with learning disabilities."

Jonathan Lillistone (Head of Commissioning – Health & Community Services, at Southwark LBC)

“Working together with various Alder employees on the High Needs project has created a radical transformation in the thinking, practice, confidence and motivation of the practitioners allocated to the team.”

“Starting from a strengths based, progression approach to the re-assessments of our most complex younger adults, supported by robust evidence, has led to significant positive outcomes. It has enabled the practitioners to become more confident to challenge poor and restrictive practices, identify how skills can be progressed albeit at an individual, and ensure value for money and financial savings”.

Maria Faller, High Needs Project Team manager at Northamptonshire

I would definitely recommend Dan Short, Rob Griffiths and Alder Advice as key partners to appoint to support transformational change. Their commitment and approach is highly professional, underpinned by very sound values that matched our organisational ones of putting people who use our services at the heart of our system redesign.

They are able to offer sound analysis, underpinned by knowledge and experience of service systems, and improvement approaches to service efficiency. The insights offered to us from their look into our previous system enabled us to take a whole systems redesign, and through their informed support, having been involved in a number of programmes across England and Wales, we have been able to embark on this with confidence and real ownership.

Their professionalism is impressive and the quality of support offered whilst on-site and off-site is of an extremely high standard. Their ability to genuinely engage the whole staff group has been well acknowledged by our people.

Joyce Lorimer| Integrated Services Manager (Learning Disabilities/ Drug and Alcohol Services / Consultant Social Work Practitioners) | Health and Social Care Moray

Latest News

Improving Support for people with learning disabilities in Tower Hamlets

Local Authorities and their partners are constantly seeking to make a difference to the lives of the people they support by enabling them to achieve better outcomes and greater levels of control over their lives and Tower Hamlets is no different. We are delighted to be helping Tower Hamlets to use the “Progression” model to help improve the lives of adults with learning disabilities by supporting its "Improving Independence" Project. 


LGA/ADASS National Markets and Modelling Project

Alder Advice has recently been commissioned by the Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) [i] to be its delivery partner for its Markets and Predictive Modelling Project. The aim of the project is to "Provide tools and support to help councils and regions better understand national, regional and local care markets for older people and people with learning disabilities to inform future commissioning, building on work already undertaken in ADASS regions".

This CHIP “proof of concept” project is in three stages. We are working on stage one and advising on stage 2. We may also be involved, if required, in stage three:

  1. To define and collect a small core dataset on adult social care markets for older people and those with learning disabilities, and develop an online tool hosted by LGA to enable market analysis and comparison between councils and regions.

  2. To develop a predictive modelling tool hosted by the LGA, to inform the understanding and enable modelling of future markets at local, regional and national levels.

  3. To offer bespoke support to councils and regions to develop and refine their commissioning plans, using the information and projections from the model.


[i] The Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) is the sector-led improvement programme for adult social care and health, hosted by the LGA and delivered jointly with ADASS.  It is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and overseen by a management team consisting of the ADASS President and chief officer, the LGA Deputy Chief Executive and CHIP Director and Head of Programme



Older People's and Learning Disability Market Analysis – NW Region

Following on from our analysis of learning disability residential and supported living markets for the South West and for the South East ADASS Region’s in England Alder Advice has recently completed a similar, but larger, project for ADASS North West Region. The scope of this project was:

  • An independent review of the existing residential and nursing home and domiciliary care market across the NW for local authority commissioned services for older people and people with a learning disability.
  • A predictive analysis for these services to understand the impact of change on the system over the next 5 -10 years. 
  • Advice to NW ADASS on its future commissioning strategy and on its approach to market oversight.

Moray - Implementing Progression

Alder is delighted to report that it is currently supporting Health and Social Care Moray to transform its intergrated services for adults with learning disabilities and implement the "Progression" approach.

View all news