Swindon Borough Council's Adult Social Services department has gone one better and been awarded a two star rating from Government inspectors.
Despite facing a harder test, Adult Social Services has been described as "good," with "promising" potential for further improvement, according to an independent report published today by the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).
Councillor David Renard, Cabinet Member for Health, Housing and Social Care, pictured right with members of the Upham Road adult training centre, said: "Everyone involved with Adult Social Care in Swindon, staff, service users and carers, will be delighted with this announcement.
"I would like to thank all of the care staff and officers who provide care and support to the vulnerable adults in Swindon for the hard work they have put in to drive up the quality of services in all areas. The dramatic transformation has been a tremendous team effort, especially when one considers how poorly the service was rated just a few years ago.
"The challenge now, is to justify the assessment of 'promising prospects' and to make further improvements to the services that are delivered so effectively but which rarely receive public recognition."
The announcement builds on the council's latest Corporate Performance Assessment in which the Audit Commission described the council as having undergone a "radical transformation."
Swindon was one of the first councils in the country to make a joint appointment with their local Primary Care Trust (PCT) – Caroline Fowles currently holds the position of Chief Executive of Swindon PCT and Group Director for Housing and Adult Social Care with the council.
The CSCI report highlights advantages of this partnership working, stating: "People will benefit from efficient, reliable and seamless services in years to come because the council has taken bold but well-considered steps to establish integrated working across Adult Social Care (ASC) and the PCT."
Caroline Fowles, Chief Executive of the PCT and Group Director for Health, Housing and Adult Social Care, said: "Adult Social Services delivers a diverse range of services to people who are often the most vulnerable in the community. The services actively promote choice and independence for those who need and give care.
"Over the past three years the council's Social Services have benefited from an Improvement Partnership with Kent County Council, contributing to our transformed performance from a zero to two star rated service.
"Latterly, joint working between Adult Social Care and PCT staff has brought further strength from partnership with service users firmly at the centre of our improvement plan."
Adult Social Care was rated as 'good' in the following key areas of assessment: Improved health and emotional wellbeing, making a positive contribution, increased choice and control and economic wellbeing.
Right, Care Home Manager Sue Bushell with residents at Fessey House in Haydon Wick, Fred Marsh, Lorna Foster, Iris Reeves, Stuart Wilmot