Welcome to Alder Advice

Who are Alder Advice?

We are group of independent social care, health and housing professionals who work together to provide the highest standards of advice and capacity in our areas of expertise. Our advisers are specially chosen because of the breadth and depth of personal experience, up to date knowledge and consulting skills. We offer genuine excellence at highly competitive rates.

Alder Advice was formed in 2009 by Rob Griffiths and Dan Short, bringing together a team who had worked with them for the previous decade. The team has grown in size and we are now able to meet the needs of our customers, whether for a small scale assignment or major project.

The Alder Advice story began with a conversation between Rob and Dan which lamented the limitations of the hard data and information used to support management and practice in the health, social care and housing sectors. They recognised that by combining Dan’s knowledge and experience as an accountant and Rob’s as a social worker and senior manager they could help others to discover a route to performance improvement. Initially working together as founding members of the management consulting practice at the Institute of Public Finance they drew in additional people, adding breadth and depth to the expertise of their successful team. Alder Advice was born from these beginnings and today Alder Advice is a leading specialist provider of independent expert advice, learning and development and interim staffing solutions.




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. We pride ourselves on our independence, our value 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 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.

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 available 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:

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.

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 know success takes time, 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 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.
  • 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.


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 just wanted to say it was brilliant working with you and the Alder team. The High Needs Review project has achieved such great success for people improving their lives and I have to say it was one of my most pleasurable career moments to be involved in this , seeing not only peoples lives transform, but also the staff develop and flourish and enjoy their work under Alder's guidance - the millions we saved was a bonus!"

Nicola Hobbs-Brake (Assistant-Director Quality and Contracting at Northamptonshire - April 2016)

Latest News

Think Piece - Our Learning About The "Progression" Model

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. Since 2011, many have based parts of their efforts to do this on the “Progression” model. This "Think Piece" shares our learning about how to implement "Progression" well.


Market Analysis – North West ADASS Region of England

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 is delighted to report that it has been appointed to undertake a similar, but larger, project by ADASS North West.


Update - Transforming Learning Disabilities Services in Wales

Alder Advice led a programme of work to transform learning disability services across Wales, based upon our Progression Model, in 2013. The final report providing the findings from the programme and recommendations from Alder Advice and the SSIA was published in February 2014. The latest SSIA Transforming Learning Disabilities Services in Wales Annual Update is now available here at 


Moray - Implementing Progression

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

View all news