Merton welcomes Social Services Star Ratings

Council is looking forward to next year’s figures

Merton Council has welcomed the government’s new Social Services Star Rating as the process has shown the department has improved since being placed on special measures, a fact that will be seen in next year’s ratings.

The ratings released recently are based on last year’s Performance Assessment Framework (PAF) figures and are not a true reflection of the level of service being provided since new procedures and management structure were introduced.

Every authority on special measures received a zero rating automatically despite any improvement and the progress Merton has achieved is underlined in feedback from the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI).

In a letter, SSI Chief Inspector Denise Platt states: “I am pleased to note that evidence from recent inspections and SSI/Audit Commission Joint Review suggests that significant improvements have been made in areas which resulted in Merton being placed on special measures.”

Rea Mattocks, Director of Housing & Social Services, said: “We recognise the star ratings system as an important device to ensure Social Service departments around the country are serving their residents well.

“The ratings released this week have been calculated using figures from last year’s Performance Assessment Framework (PAF) and it is important to stress that we have improved substantially on all aspects of our service since the 2001 PAF.

“I am confident the changes we have made are sustainable, and that we will continue to make further improvements during the coming months. Our performance indicators for 2002 already show a marked change for the better. In some areas our performance is comparable with the best in the Country.”

“We have recently had a re-inspection of our Children’s Services as well as a Joint Review examining the whole of Social Services. The findings from these will be published in September and will demonstrate the important changes we have already made. Early indications show that we have made significant improvements, and this has been confirmed in the letter from the Department of Health informing us of our star rating.”