Merton council is the only authority to be upgraded from a zero
star rating to one star in the refreshed star ratings,
writes David Callaghan.
The south London council had been on special measures since
February last year until the new star ratings system was introduced
Special measures were imposed on the authority because it was
said to be failing to adequately safeguard children.
Rea Mattocks, director of social services and housing, said the
improvement was achieved despite many problems including
recruitment difficulties, “the continuing regime of inspections”
that took frontline staff away from service delivery, and attention
being diverted by a negative press.
She said there were many factors in the turnaround in her
department’s performance on children’s services:
“Our community offered their understanding and patience and we
worked hard to gain support from our partners (health, education,
independent sector, police, probation) to help us undertake
change,” she said.
Elected members offered their full support by devoting more
resources to children’s services, a new head of
children’s services was appointed, and the staff structure
was completely overhauled, she said.