The aim of this case study is to describe how a population needs assessment was undertaken for the London Borough of Merton's Social Services Department. It will demonstrate one possible approach to this seemingly enormous task. There are many possible ways of approaching such a project and the methodology chosen will be influenced not only by the resources and time available, but also by the values of those undertaking it. This case study will briefly set out the background and methodology to Merton's project and then describe some of the sources of information that were used. It will conclude with a brief discussion of the issues that this work raised for the local authority and how these are now being tackled.
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