South London councils reviewed

A joint review report into Merton social services department, south
London, reveals uncertain prospects for improvement and accuses the
council of failing to move with the changing social care

The Audit Commission and Social Services Inspectorate report,
published this week, advises Merton, which was awarded a zero-star
rating for its social services in May, to continue to focus on
children’s services in line with SSI recommendations.

It also calls for the development of user and carer participation,
more responsive services, and greater use of new procedures.

However, the review team notes that there are plans to tackle
weaknesses in social services and acknowledges a strong commitment
and willingness to work in partnership at all levels, particularly
with health.

Meanwhile, a joint review report into one-star Greenwich social
services department, also in south London, reveals promising
prospects and improvements in services for people with learning
difficulties, older people at home, and the use of direct

However, the report warns that reserves are now at the “minimum
prudent level” and that the social services department must from
now on operate within budget.

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