Social Services Finally Gets Star Boost; DEPARTMENT COMES OUT OF 'SPECIAL MEASURES' AFTER FIVE DIFFICULT YEARS

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), November 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

Social Services Finally Gets Star Boost; DEPARTMENT COMES OUT OF 'SPECIAL MEASURES' AFTER FIVE DIFFICULT YEARS


Byline: FIONA SCOTT Political Editor

COVENTRY social services was given a major boost today after finally improving its ranking in government league tables.

Its first star in the ratings means the department is no longer ranked as one of the worst in the country.

The department also finally came out of "special measures" after spending longer in them than any other social services department in the country.

Coventry went into special measures - close supervision by the Department of Health - in October 1998 after two damning reports by the Social Services Inspectorate and the Audit Commission.

Today's improvements have taken five years, millions of pounds and two changes of director of social services to achieve.

Social services director John Bolton said it was a "major achievement".

He was also encouraged by the SSI describing the prospects for adult services as "promising".

"If we can get the money sorted, get services to people quicker and meet our targets to get reviews done, we should be a two-star authority in the near future," he said.

Ironically, the accolade comes two days after councillors voted to cut home help services to adults to try to stop social services' overspending spiralling out of control.

Conservative shadow cabinet member for social services Cllr Hazel Noonan said it was a "disgrace" that Coventry had remained in special measures for so long.

But Cllr Ann Lucas, who became cabinet member for social services in May, said: "Coventry City Council has given the improvement of social services a high priority over the last years and I am delighted that the staff have now repaid this political commitment with the delivery of improved services. …

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