Government minister’s praise for safeguarding of children in Hartlepool

Christopher Akers-Belcher.
Christopher Akers-Belcher.

A GOVERNMENT minister has praised a council for the way it safeguards children and has urged the authority to share its expertise with other councils.

The pat on the back for Hartlepool Borough Council comes from Edward Timpson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families.

It follows hard on the heels of the council’s recent, positive children’s services Ofsted report, which graded the service as good.

In a letter to council leader, councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Mr Timpson MP congratulated all those involved in the service and said he was pleased Hartlepool is rising to the challenge of delivering a high standard of services.

The letter read: “Local authorities face significant challenges in delivering really effective safeguarding services, but the fact that these services are so important to the most vulnerable children locally means that it is essential that they are delivered to a high standard.

“I am pleased to read that Hartlepool has risen to this challenge and welcome the findings that: the views of children are taken into account in planning services; there is strong political and corporate leadership; there is good and timely access to early help; there is good support to children entering and leaving care; and that there is a single team that offers support from ages 0-25 to children with special educational needs.”

Coun Akers-Belcher, a Labour councillor, said: “The Ofsted report into the work we do in Hartlepool to help protect children and young people in Hartlepool is excellent and it’s always pleasing when your efforts are acknowledged by a Government minister.

“We are more than happy to share our good practices with others throughout the country.

“Indeed, since our Ofsted inspection we have had discussions with several local authorities who are keen to learn from our experiences.”

Labour councillor Chris Simmons, chairman of the council’s children’s services committee, said: “We hear many negative stories from around the country about the protection of children, and this report demonstrates that we have very professional staff and proper procedures in place across children’s services to ensure that Hartlepool children and young people are safe and well protected.”