inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate as an endorsement of
the government's agenda to modernise social services and to raise
standards, and as an indication that that process has begun.
monitored because of either poor performance or a serious incident.
In her report the chief inspector, Denise Platt, writes:
'We attach great importance to our work to raise standards and the
level of performance throughout social services as a whole, and we
will be taking a much more proactive approach.
'The White Paper set out comprehensive objectives for social
services, and there are clear targets for improvement. Improving
performance and achieving Best Value will be essential if we are to
see standards raised across the board.'
Welcoming the report John Hutton, health minister, said:
'I am grateful to Denise Platt for producing this thorough and
clear-sighted report. As the chief inspector emphasises, there are
many dedicated staff working in social services, often in very
difficult and stressful circumstances, and I want to pay tribute to
all those involved. But many services are still not provided to an
acceptable, consistently high standard.
'Our White Paper Modernising Social Services makes it clear that
things which are not being done well at the moment must be done
properly in the future. I am delighted that in her report the chief
inspector takes a robust stand, stressing that poor quality social
services will not be tolerated.
'The chief inspector's report makes it plain that new approaches are
being adopted, emphasising choice, partnership and openness, as well
as value for money. But it is also plain that there is still too much
inconsistency. In particular, it is disturbing that 16 local
authorities are currently being monitored by the SSI because of
shortcomings in their services and I will be closely following
developments in those areas.
'With the support of the Social Services Inspectorate we will work to
ensure that people in every part of the country are provided with
high-quality services whenever they need them. The SSI have a vital
role in ensuring that this happens.'