Hard work and a greater awareness of performance management in
social services departments and councils has resulted in a
“significant overall improvement” in the performance of councils in
this year’s star ratings.
The ratings, due to be published this week, reveal that 41 social
services departments improved, while only six deteriorated.
Of the 12 councils awarded zero stars in 2002, six were awarded one
star and one – East Sussex – was awarded two. However, five of the
councils awarded zero stars in 2002 again failed to gain a star and
have been joined by a further three struggling departments.
At the other end of the scale, the number of social services
departments boasting three stars has increased from 11 to 16.
Association of Directors of Social Services spokesperson on
performance and management Paul Snell said the improvements were
the culmination of a number of factors and reflected a greater
awareness and improved mechanisms of performance management which
helped departments focus on delivery of services at the front
“This is a tribute to the hard work of care and social workers at
all levels and confirms the sense directors have had even last year
that improvements in performance were in the pipeline,” he
East Sussex social services director David Archibald said that his
department’s achievement reflected the huge amount of work carried
out in the past few years as well as greater political backing.
“Child protection is good and the number of foster carers and
adopters has risen while older people’s services, which were a big
problem, have been transformed,” Archibald said.
“Historically we admitted too many people into nursing and
residential care, which we’ve reduced by a third, and increased by
39 per cent the number of people receiving intensive home
Haringey director Anne Bristow said her department’s move from zero
to one star reflected the commitment of staff, while Coventry
director John Bolton attributed the progress of his department,
also from zero to one star, to better interagency working.
A spokesperson for Cumbria social services department, which fell
from one star to zero stars, said the council attributed the fall
to problems in children’s services. An interim director of social
services and new head of children’s services who will work towards
the aims of the children’s green paper have now been appointed.
How they fared
Three stars: 16 departments (Bexley, Blackburn
with Darwen, Bolton, Cornwall, Derbyshire, Kensington&Chelsea,
Kent, Kingston upon Thames, Kirklees, Knowsley, Leicestershire,
Newcastle upon Tyne, North Lincolnshire, Sunderland, Wandsworth,
Two stars: 74 departments
One star: 52 departments
Zero-stars: 8 departments (Bedfordshire,
Birmingham, Bromley, Cumbria, Oldham, Plymouth, Swindon, Waltham