South Coast Rated Well For Children Services

Hampshire's among 20 councils across the country which have been rated as ‘excellent’ when it comes to providing children's services.

The education watchdog, Ofsted, says they're the ones which are doing the most to keep children safe.

In addition, 77 councils are performing well, including Dorset County Council and 37 councils have been rated as providing adequate services.

Meanwhile 12 councils were given a poor rating, and the only one in the south is Kent. The other local authorities judged to be performing poorly include Birmingham, Calderdale, Doncaster, Essex, Leeds, Nottinghamshire, Peterborough, Salford, Sandwell, Torbay and Worcestershire.

The outcomes for six authorities are not yet being published as further inspections are due to be held, the regulator added.

They include Suffolk, West Sussex, Cheshire West, Haringey, Warrington and Cornwall.

The new assessment approach introduced last year incorporates direct observation of professional practice across childcare, schools, child protection services and safeguarding, children's social care and provision in the learning and skills sector.

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, said it was “very pleasing” to see an increase in the number of local authorities, both rural and metropolitan providing excellent services overall.

She added: “The minority of councils that are performing poorly were put in this category primarily because they are not doing enough to keep children safe.

“Inadequacies have been identified in their approach to safeguarding children. These authorities know where improvements are needed and have plans in place to improve.

“There is much they can learn from the examples of those authorities who are performing well and excellently.”

Ofsted said within each designated level there were differing standards, so a “performs poorly” did not mean a council had no adequate or good aspects.