Merton Council has been shortlisted for the Government’s prestigious beacon council status in which a number of councils act as centres of excellence and help spread best practice to all local authorities.

Merton has been shortlisted as only one out of six Councils for work relating to tackling drug misuse amongst young people.

This is the second year of the scheme, and each year the Government specifies a number of themes that applications should relate to. To be awarded beacon council status you must be able to demonstrate excellence in a particular theme and good overall performance, as well as a plan for sharing this good practice.

A number of innovative projects designed to make a difference to the lives of local young people were highlighted within the application.

A decision is expected to be made on which councils will be awarded beacon council status early in the New Year. Successful councils will be awarded beacon council status until March 2002, and will be required to organise events aimed at demonstrating how the good practice was developed and how others can learn from it.

Commenting, Councillor Peter Holt, Leader of the Council, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this extremely important scheme which recognises that our efforts to tackle youth drug misuse are proving successful. Our application highlighted the clear commitment from Members and officers, together with the Council’s partners, to tackling youth drug misuse.”


Note to Editors:

In July Merton submitted an application for beacon council status for our work to tackle youth drug misuse. During September we were informed that Merton was one of only six Councils to be shortlisted for beacon council status. In October a delegation acting on behalf of the government visited the borough, and the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Secondary Education and Lifelong Learning, together with officers and representatives from partner organisations, gave presentations to the delegation. In November representatives from Merton gave a further presentation of our bid for beacon council status at the DETR offices.