Bury - Opportunity Assessment


Bury was aware that the number of people with learning disabilities that it supported and the average cost per person supported were higher than at comparable local authorities. Bury wanted to understand why and appointed Alder Advice to support them.


The opportunity assessment approach involved a co-produced review of strategy, national data, local data, professional practice within the community learning disabilities team, and of commissioning practice.


A wide range of improvement opportunities were identified. These included:

  • Reassessment of the 90 most complex packages of support.
  • Reviewing 160 lower cost packages of support to check all support is still needed.
  • Considering if assistive technology could be used more often and more creatively.
  • Ensuring care, support and treatment plans are outcomes focused.
  • Ensuring access NHS continuing health care and S117 funding whenever it is due.

The benefits anticipated include:

  • Much improved wellbeing outcomes for adults with learning disabilities.
  • The average cost of support per person should reduce.
  • Savings could, optimistically be £2.5m p.a. but are most likely to be £1.7m p.a. The worst case scenario £775k p.a.

To avoid the savings being one off we recommended a zero based calculation of the staff resources needed. All staff also need to be trained in “Progression” © approaches, and assessment and care management systems and processes need to be redesigned to:

  • Fully align with “Progression”. ©
  • Ensure providers are accountable for the care and support they provide.

Commenting on the opportunity assessment project Adrian Crook (Director of Adult Social Services and Community Commissioning) said:

“The Alder Advice opportunity assessment gave us the in depth information required to build a business case for transformation. It gave us the confidence to invest in extra staffing and a full transformation programme in times of severe financial challenge. We still need to improve, but our improvement journey has begun. The support from the team at Alder Advice is fantastic