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BOOST AS SOCIAL SERVICES WINS AN EXTRA STAR RATING; Inspectors say prospects 'promising' after years of problems.

Byline: By FIONA SCOTT Political Editor fiona.scott@mrn.co.uk

COVENTRY'S social services department has improved so much it has been awarded two stars in the new ratings out today.

The good news comes just 13 months after the department came out of "special measures".

Social services had been under government monitoring for five years after inspectors who visited in 1998 found a catalogue of shortcomings.

But the Commission for Social Care Inspection found a completely different picture when they carried out their latest annual inspection this year.

They judged Coventry's social services were serving "some" children well and "most" adults well, with "promising" prospects for further future improvements.

The city council has a plan to achieve the maximum stars - three - in the near future.

John Bolton, who arrived as director of social services two years ago when the department had been in special measures for four years, said: "We are obviously delighted with this result as it recognises the work that has been going on, not only in the department, but with partner agencies throughout the city.

"It is an endorsement of our approach to deliver better care and higher standards to people with social care needs in Coventry."

Today's news was welcomed by Conservative and Labour politicians alike. The previous Labour administration had poured millions of pounds into the service.

Conservative Cabinet member for children's services Cllr John Blundell called it a "fabulous achievement", adding: "This is an incredible turn around and demonstrates the commitment on behalf of the department to deliver a service to be proud of."

Former Labour Cabinet member for social services Cllr Ann Lucas, who oversaw some of the improvements, said: "The two star rating reflects the hard work that has been taking place in social services. This is excellent news for service users and staff and is the breakthrough we had been hoping for."

Birmingham social services got a zero rating for the third year running.

Warwickshire Social Services department has retained its two star status this year.

Just three years ago the department was awarded no stars.

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RELIEF: Social services director John Bolton (left) and cabinet member for children's services John Blundell are delighted with the news
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 18, 2004
Words:368
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