VULNERABLE children are well looked after in Hampshire – according to the latest inspection report.

Following a four-week visit by Ofsted inspectors, the county’s service for children and young people in care was rated ‘good’.

In a report published today, inspectors concluded that overall services for children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers are ‘good’, while the adoption service were rated outstanding, as was leadership and governance across all children’s services. Currently the authority works with around 6,500 children and their families in need of specialist services.

Inspectors said: Overall services make a difference in reducing risks and improving the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in Hampshire n Senior managers respond quickly to meet changing needs and demands for service.

There are examples of pioneering work and good practice across the range of service provision for vulnerable families n Social workers develop strong relationships with children, young people and their carers n Young people are well supported when they leave care.

An inspection of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board was undertaken at the same time, which was also given a ‘good’ rating.

The authority was told in order to improve it must ensure: All ‘child in need’ cases receive a prompt and proportionate reponse n Social workers’ case loads in the ‘referral and assessment’ teams are manageable.

All ‘looked after’ children make good progress in each key stage of their education over time.

Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services at Hampshire County Council, said: “This was a particularly rigorous inspection process and while we were confident that our Children’s Services are good, Ofsted’s third- party impartial judgement is a welcome endorsement, affirming that the children under our watch and in our care are safe and well looked after.

“We are especially pleased with the two outstanding judgements as we know these will be very hard to come by in the new framework.

“The inspectors agreed that we have the right children in care, which means we are assessing children correctly and only placing children in care when this is absolutely necessary and right to do so.”

He added: “There is always room for improvement and I am pleased to say that the areas where inspectors said we could do more had already been identified by us and plans are already in place and being implemented to make those further improvements.”

Hampshire recently took over the running of the failing children’s services on the Isle of Wight which the report acknowledged had also been beneficial for Hampshire.