“A place where children and young people feel they belong, stay safe and can thrive.”
Our children’s services vision statement

We strive to make Merton to be a great place to grow up, and to give every child the best start in life.

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(Jane McSherry, Executive Director: Children, Lifelong Learning and Families)

I'm passionate about being a director of children's services because it's such a privilege to come to work every morning, work with a team of fantastic staff who make a difference to children and families' lives every day.

So why should you come and work in Merton? Well, Merton has outstanding children's services. We have leaders, and that involves leaders both within the service and our political leaders who really put children and families at the heart of decision making.

We have robust safeguarding partnerships. We put partnership working really core in the way we work. So developing those really important kind of links so that we can give the best services to families.

We have lots of innovative ways we work together in Merton and the most important of those is that we work as one team across education and social care. So this enables us to deliver more streamlined services for families and enables staff to work together to develop strategies that are effective in delivering services.

But we also have co-located teams, multidisciplinary teams, including police colleagues, education colleagues, and also our CAHMS professionals, so that we're able to offer really robust services and support for our staff as well.

We ensure that social workers get the right training and development opportunities from the very beginning of their journey. So we work with universities. We have apprenticeship routes. Social workers can start with us. We give additional support during your ASYE years.

And then we also ensure that we balance case loads so that it's manageable, so that social workers can really spend the time they need to delivering services to families that are really going to make a difference.

Ethel's experience of social work at Merton

Social work is amazing, and that's why I got into it, because it just changes the lives of people.

I'm Ethel Odia and a Safeguarding Officer with Merton Council.

Safeguarding makes things better to create safety, to remove risk for, for people in the community.

The social work system gives hope, even though our parents are getting old, even though we got people with special needs, with cognitive impairment, there's a system that works, that gives them quality of life, despite the challenges, despite the life changes, despite the situation the struggles, which is brilliant.

It's something that just gives me that fulfilment you, you don't know how it feels when you know somebody says: 'Oh thank you so much, I'm really I'm grateful.' During Christmas, I got this amazing email from somebody I supported, so I, I did my job you know it's my job, I'm paid for.

People just send you those emails that just make you sometimes cry. 'Thank you so much, you gave us a chance to life, thank you so much for your support.' But, it's just what I enjoy doing and that's why I love my role.

My colleagues are amazing. I look forward to going into the office so much!

Ofsted Outstanding Provider

Our children’s services are ‘Outstanding’

Our children’s services have been judged Outstanding by Ofsted, building on our ‘Good’ rating from 2017, as we move towards the pinnacle of our high quality and standards of practice.

Our leaders are committed and focused on supporting our staff and families. We work well with our partners and are committed to making decisions alongside our children and families.

“Merton’s excellent services are delivered by skilled, experienced social workers and other frontline practitioners to provide sensitive and innovative child-centred interventions.”
Ofsted, 2022

Child's drawing

What we do

Our unique Practice Framework supports our social workers to be compassionate, creative and children centred practitioners.

We also have core principles that underpin how we work, make decisions, and work alongside our children and families:

  • We keep children and young people at the heart of our work.
  • We work together to achieve the best for our children, young people, and families.
  • We ‘Think Family’.
  • We are committed to doing what we say we will do.
  • We learn from what we do to improve the experiences of children, young people, and families.
  • We celebrate difference – within our team and across those we support.

Read about Merton's Journey of the Child through children's social care.

What we're proud of

Our innovative ways of working:

  • Working to a unique blended practice model combining the best parts of Signs of Safety, Systemic Practice and relationship based social work
  • Supporting children and young people to be involved in service design
  • Timely practice within the public law framework, including service managers chairing the first PLO meeting

Our early and preventative support:

  • Delivering a wide range of Early Help services that help prevent the need for statutory support.
  • A successful social workers in schools’ programme and a well embedded multi-agency approach to children missing education.


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