Merton Council Cabinet Member for Children's Services
Councillor Katy Neep, Merton Council's Lead Member for Children's Services, gives an update on her work, to Young Merton Together:
With the nights drawing in and the rain consistently falling it may be difficult to cast your mind back to those hot muggy days at the end of June, and early July when we received our visit from Ofsted. They stayed with us for four weeks, conducting 206 interviews with staff and partners, tracking and auditing 162 cases and reviewing 429 documents, as well as attending a range of meetings and focus groups as observers.
Once again I want to take this opportunity to give my thanks and congratulations to each and everyone of you for the great result that was formally announced on the 25th August. Under a new and more challenging inspection regime Merton has been judged 'Good' with 'Outstanding' features. To put that in context currently only three authorities in the UK have been awarded 'Outstanding' and only a handful 'Good' with 'Outstanding' features. This means we are in the top three local authorities in London and top 10 nationally.
As we have discussed many time before through the Children’s Trust it really does take a village to raise a child and this success is, as Ofsted note, in a large part down to the “strong partnership, shared accountability and challenge” which is clearly evident in Merton.
This outcome of course is part of a journey that the borough has been on over a number of years seeking to ensure that in all areas we are striving to ensure our young people are safe, healthy, happy and successful. I know that this is not always easy to achieve, especially as we face further funding cuts, changing policy requirements and a need to work ever more increasingly across partners and borough boundaries.
However I am confident we will face these challenges head on and will work collectively to ensure that we take on board all the recommendations of the report, as well as the improvements we have already identified for ourselves.
Over the coming months, I will be focussing on the budget planning process, our continued support for the early years and implementation of 30 hours free childcare and the 2 year old offer, as well as the continued development of our SEN and Disabilities strategy to name but a few of the highlights. All of these will require the continued input, critique and support of you as our partners and staff members. To this end please do get in touch with me if you have any questions or comments at all as I would be delighted to hear from you.
For more information about Councillor Neep's role and how to get in touch see her Merton webpage.