SERVICES for vulnerable children in Hampshire have been rated as good and outstanding.

In the latest Ofsted report, the Hampshire County Council-run services have been called good overall.

Ofsted arrived in February for an unannounced fourweek inspection, with Hampshire being one of the first authorities to face a new, tougher framework that places greater emphasis on positive outcomes for children and young people. It focuses heavily on child protection and children in care.

A team of 10 inspectors examined practice, including a detailed review of over 200 individual cases. 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 is outstanding, as is leadership and governance across all children’s services.

The report, published this week, comes at a time when the council is working with around 6,500 children and their families in need of specialist services and the number of child protection plans has increased by 50 per cent over the last two and a half years.

A parallel inspection of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board was also undertaken, with inspectors agreeing that its effectiveness was good and the report stating that evidence had been seen of strong links between the county council’s senior leadership and the Safeguarding Board’s independent chair.

Councillor Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services at Hampshire County Council, said: “On behalf of the county council I would like to thank and congratulate children’s services staff, including those in Hampshire schools, and our partners on what is a very positive result.

“While we were confident that our children’s services are good, Ofsted’s third party impartial judgement is a welcome endorsement.”