Merton Council is pleased to announce that its Children’s Services has been taken off the Special Measures register in record time.
The Department of Health’s social services watchdog, the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI), announced today that Merton will be removed from the register just 21 months after being placed on it in February 2001.
Being on Special Measures meant Merton had to report to the SSI every month and show evidence that progress was being made.
Authorities on special measures usually take between two and three years to achieve the necessary improvements. In being removed in less than 24 months, Merton has become one of the fastest authorities in the country to make the necessary progress.
The decision also means Merton’s social service department has been awarded a one star rating in the autumn ‘refreshing’ of the government’s national star rating system. Being on Special measures had prevented Merton receiving a single star when the system was launched in May 2002.
Councillor Maxi Martin, Cabinet Member for Care Services, said: “This is terrific news. We recently had a re-inspection of our Children’s Services and a review of the whole of social services and both of these inspections confirmed that Merton was improving rapidly, so we knew we were heading in the right direction.
“However, being taken off Special Measures so soon is a dream come true. We have repeatedly said that improvements to our services had to be sustainable and able to evolve. That is why we have taken a thorough approach; to make sure we got it right. The SSI have now recognised the giant leaps we have made and children in our care, other clients and Merton residents can see that we have delivered on our promises.
“Our aim is to make Merton’s social services one of the best in the UK so we won’t stop here. I would like to thank the Director of Housing and Social Services, Rea Mattocks, and the staff in the department at every level for their hard work and dedication. Together we will continue to improve our services and ensure we are providing the best care and support for those who need it.”
Rea Mattocks, Director of Housing & Social Services, said: “The removal from special measures is wonderful news for service users and everyone involved in Merton Council.
“I am extremely grateful that the hard work of staff and councillors has been recognised by the government; we can now enter into a new era. This is an on-going process and we are