Children’s Services report welcomed

Merton Council has welcomed a report from the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) after it conducted a follow-up inspection of Children’s Services.

The report, published on Wednesday 24 July, details the inspection that took place between 25 February and 4 March this year. The visit by SSI inspection team was scheduled as a follow-up assessment of progress after Children’s Services was placed on Special Measures in February 2001.

Many strengths have been highlighted and the report states “The authority has taken its Special measures status seriously and has worked hard to progress the recommendations of the last inspection.”

Progress in the allocation of looked after children, the allocation of those on the child protection register, the holding of case conferences and the holding of case reviews were also listed as positives.

In the report’s conclusion, the SSI inspection team state; “the foundations for good practice are beginning to be built. The next phase will require stabilisation and consolidation of current gains.”

The SSI team also identified areas where the section needs to improve its performance and the service it offers to its clients and work is already underway to address these.

Helen Lincoln, Head of Children’s Services, said: “We are very happy to finally receive the SSI report following the inspection in February as it will help to focus the improvement work we are carrying out. It helps us to confirm where we are getting it right and where we need to look a little more closely to raise our standards.

“We will continue to implement the actions arising from the 19 recommendations contained in the SSI inspection report and build safe and sound services for children over the next three years.”

Councillor Maxi Martin, Cabinet Member for Care Services, said: “We thank the SSI inspection team for their follow-up inspection report. The work we are carrying out must be able to stand up in the long term; it is all about sustainability.

“We are not looking for quick fixes here, but solid improvements in the section to serve our clients well. We are determined to get this right.”