INDEPENDENT REPORT SAYS MERTON COUNCIL DOING WELL

Merton Council has accepted the results of a full-scale independent investigation into the council – warts and all.

Earlier this year the council commissioned IDeA’s local government improvement programme to examine the council and this week they reported back.

Council Leader Councillor Andrew Judge welcomed the report, which was compiled by five senior local government managers and councillors from around England.

“It is gratifying that they pointed to many positive achievements by Merton and it is equally important they highlighted deficiencies where we can and will improve”

Councillor Judge said he was elected Leader in May after the IDeA inspection was completed to concentrate on making Merton the best council in London.

“This report shows the way. Where the report has criticisms of the council, we have already developed an action plan to deal with the problems. We will develop strategic policies to drive Merton forward according to the priorities outlined by residents, we will work closely with partners to develop new ways of working and we will introduce training schemes to help councillors adjust to the new democratic processes. We are also planning to develop stronger internal planning and to introduce performance management throughout the council.

“We have already started work on providing a one-stop-shop to improve service to customers at the Civic Centre and this should be open by the end of the year.

“We have also introduced two council pages in the Guardian to communicate more effectively and more frequently with local residents.”

Councillor Judge said these actions dealt with the negatives of the report but residents should also know the council got a grade A for its work on regeneration, crime and disorder, the multi-agency work on youth drugs miss-use. It was also praised for its commitment to consultation, its relationships with tenants and residents associations and the range of consultative forums.

“Overall I would give the council grade C and a “could do better”. I want everyone to know we have already started that process and when the IDeA team return in six months they will see a council that has already made tremendous strides – for the benefits of Merton residents.”

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PRESS CONTACT- GENE SAUNDERS