WATCHDOGS have praised services for Hampshire children in care.

Ofsted graded Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Service outstanding.

The service has received the top score across all areas including overall

effectiveness, the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and

families, the experiences and progress of children who need help

and protection and the experiences and progress of children in care and

care leavers.

The report comes after in 2014 inspectors rated the service good with outstanding features.

The Ofsted report published this week found that social workers are highly skilled at building meaningful relationships with children . It also highlighted the council’s political and corporate support and financial investment saying it has helped the leadership team to implement “an ambitious transformation programme”.

In the report inspectors also said: “Children in care benefit from high-quality support, which is making a real difference to their outcomes. Management oversight of practice is clear and considered, ensuring that children’s plans progress at pace. Children’s lives consistently improve as a result of the help they receive.”

The document says when young people aged 16 and 17 are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, their needs are quickly assessed and every effort is made to support young people to remain with their families.

“Adolescent contextual safeguarding is understood well within the Hampshire context. The response of the strategic and operational partnerships to vulnerable young people at risk of exploitation is highly effective. When potential vulnerabilities such as the risk of trafficking or radicalisation are identified, prompt action is taken, and risk is reduced,” the report states. Cllr Keith Mans, leader of Hampshire County Council and former executive lead member for children’s services, praised council staff and said: “This is quite simply the best possible rating that Ofsted can give across all of the key judgements. We are very proud.”