HAMPSHIRE County Council’s children’s services department has scored top marks for its work looking after children and young people.
Ofsted inspectors gave it the best possible ‘outstanding’ rating following an intensive review of services for the most vulnerable children.
Cllr Roy Perry, executive member for children’s services, praised his team for the excellent result and made a special thanks to his predecessor David Kirk who died a year ago.
He said: ‘This is a very tough inspection which has severely tested many authorities.
‘I’m delighted and proud that we have passed it with such flying colours. I’m especially pleased because it comes after what has been a difficult period in which we have had to make some hard financial decisions.
‘This inspection strongly vindicates those decisions.
‘I want to pay tribute to my predecessor in this role, David Kirk. This report comes at the anniversary of his death. The qualities recognised here by Ofsted have taken a long time to develop and I’m first to acknowledge his great contribution.’
The department’s leadership and management of safeguarding services for the county’s 307,000 children and young people was applauded by inspectors.
They also praised a comprehensive understanding of need in local communities across the county and effective targeting of services to support vulnerable children, young people and families.
The report comes after the county’s controversial decision to slash the Sure Start budget by 35 per cent.