Greenwich and Merton joint reviews published

Greenwich social services has been praised for “some very good
and empowering new services for people with learning difficulties”,
by the Social Services Inspectorate and Audit Commission,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The joint review highlighted good support for older people at
home and good use of direct payments for vulnerable adults and some
older people. Children’s services, especially arrangements
for assessing needs, are developing well, although their have been
some difficulties caused by staff shortages in critical areas.

However, social services spending over the last three years has
not been kept within budget. “Reserves are now at the minimum
prudent level and social services must now manage within its
budget,” the report says.

A more effective strategy is needed to get more young people in
care educated, and improvements need to be made in some areas of
adult services. There is poor access to assessment and care
management for older people.

But Greenwich has promising prospects for improvements and
should now focus on customer care, improve all services to the
level of the best, fund new IT systems for social services and
bring budgets and spending closer together.

Meanwhile the SSI and Audit Commission found prospects for
further improvement at Merton social services uncertain. Merton has
not moved with the changing social care environment, a joint review

However there were plans to tackle weaknesses in social
services, and the authority revealed a strong commitment and
willingness to work in partnership at all levels, particularly in

Merton should continue to focus on children’s services in
line with SSI recommendations, develop user and carer participation
and empowerment to develop more responsive services, the report

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