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Health ministers today welcomed the annual report of the chief ...
Health ministers today welcomed the annual report of the chief

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.

But ministers expressed their concern that 16 authorities are being

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.'

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