Further improvement in Social Services

Merton’s Social Services Department has again performed well following a government audit evaluation.

The Department of Health’s Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) required all local authorities to carry out a self-assessment audit of their Children’s Services following the publication of the enquiry report into the death of Victoria Climbié.

Following evaluation by the SSI, Merton has been judged as ‘serving most children well with promising prospects for the future’ and this assessment will be taken into account in the Star Ratings set to take place later this year.

The audit was carried out between 28 February and 30 April this year and looked at the following areas:

· Referral
· Assessment
· Allocation, service provision and closure
· Guidance
· Training and development
· Organisation and management
· Governance

The report identified that Merton’s strengths included sound referral and assessment systems that are safeguarding children, a large reduction in agency staff and the recognition by the authority as a whole that the improvement of Children’s Services is a priority.

The report also identified the need for Merton to continue to develop its family support services.

Director of Housing & Social Services, Rea Mattocks, said: “This is another very encouraging report into Merton’s Children’s Services, and demonstrates the steady progress we are making.

“We have always maintained that any improvements we make must be sustainable rather than quick fix solutions, so we recognise that we still have work to do before we reach our ultimate goal of excellence, but this is a big step in the right direction.”