Reaching for the stars

As of today, Merton Council will be officially recognised as a three star council following a rigorous inspection by the Audit Commission.

Merton Council has improved dramatically. The evidence of this is its score of 3 out of 4 in the Corporate Assessment (CA), which measures the council’s overall performance. Together with strongly improving services, this means Merton has moved from being rated as a two star ‘Fair’ council to a three star ‘Good’ council under the Government’s Comprehensive Performance Assessment.

The most important element of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment is the CA. The purpose of the CA is to find out how well the council understands the local community and how this understanding is reflected in its ambitions and priorities. It also aims to discover what has been achieved by the council together with its partners such as the local police, health services, and local community and voluntary sector groups

The CA inspectors from the Audit Commission concluded that Merton Council is clear about its ambitions and is generally achieving its priorities.

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor David Williams, said:

“It is fantastic news for us and local residents that the Audit Commission has recognised Merton to be a council that is fit for purpose. The inspectors have gone through the council with a fine-tooth comb and found it is in good health. The work of the council, with its partners, is seen to be bringing widescale benefits to local residents and visitors not only in terms of service delivery, but also in the way that we use our limited resources.

“I am particularly delighted that they commended the work of the Merton Partnership and its target of bridging the gap between the affluent west of the borough and the deprived east. However, there are certain areas that we do need to improve in, such as the quality of our housing stock and increasing our recycling rate.”

Chief Executive of Merton Council, Ged Curran, said:

“I am very pleased that Merton scored a three out of a possible four in our Corporate Assessment and that as a result, we have been judged as a three star council. If we continue performing well, there is every hope we can become a four star council in 2008. But this is not the time to rest on our laurels as we still have some way to go. I am, however, confident that we are well and truly on our way to achieving this.”

Good examples of working practice that were identified in the report included:
· our intervention work with local gangs;
· the Celebrating Age Festival;