Ofsted praises Hartlepool Borough Council for “high quality of care” provided for looked after children

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Hartlepool Borough Council has been praised by Government inspectors for the support it provides to young people leaving its care.

Ofsted visited the Children’s Services Department earlier this year to examine its arrangements for young people leaving care.

Inspectors reported that “young people leaving care are provided with consistent practical, financial and emotional support” and that despite the challenges of the pandemic, “they have continued to experience the same high-quality service as they did before”.

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The inspectors praised a culture in which “care leavers are always in mind and always in reach” and applauded staff for their “unstinting commitment to young people.”

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The report stated: “Highly-skilled and effective workers, many of whom have worked in the authority for years, have long-standing and meaningful relationships with young people.

“They support care leavers exceptionally well to make the transition to becoming young adults in all areas of their lives.

“Strong agency partnerships and a highly effective virtual school work closely with social workers, staff and carers to help care leavers access employment and training opportunities and achieve their ambitions.”

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Ofsted have praised Hartlepool Borough Council's Children’s Services Department.Ofsted have praised Hartlepool Borough Council's Children’s Services Department.
Ofsted have praised Hartlepool Borough Council's Children’s Services Department.

A key focus of the inspection was to speak with the youngsters themselves.

Inspectors added: “Care leavers told inspectors they experience excellent support from workers in all areas of their lives. They report that they have strong and supportive relationships with workers who they feel truly care about them.”

Commenting on the report, which doesn’t include an official grading, Councillor Jim Lindridge, Chair of the Council’s Children’s Services Committee, said: “This is an excellent report. As Ofsted has noted, our care leavers team is utterly committed to the well-being of the young people and totally dedicated to achieving the very best for them. They deserve our highest praise and can feel rightly proud of the report findings.

”On what is World Social Work Day, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the Council’s social workers for their exceptional dedication and commitment.”

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The report did recommended that further work should be done to “increase the care leaver’s voice in developing and owning their individual pathway plan” – something which the Council has said it is already addressing.

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