`

Hartlepool council to write to Government for more cash to maintain ‘good’ children’s services

Members of Hartlepool Borough Councils Children's Social Care Services team.
Members of Hartlepool Borough Councils Children's Social Care Services team.

Council bosses are to plea to the Government that their ‘brilliant’ Ofsted report is not sustainable without further funding.

Hartlepool’s full council representatives praised the recent Ofsted report which rated the borough’s children’s social care services ‘good’ at its latest meeting.

Chief executive Gill Alexander said the report showed they were ‘one of the top 5 best performing councils in the country’.

Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, wrote to council chiefs congratulating them on the rating.

However Coun Brenda Harrison, chair of the council’s Children’s Services Committee, raised a motion to full council to write a return letter, warning the standard would not be sustainable without funding help.

The motion was unanimously approved by the full council meeting.

Coun Harrison said: “The level which the team work, they offer extra commitment to caring for young people in the area.

“I don’t think I have the words to express enough how brilliant this Ofsted report has been, especially under the circumstances of challenging budgets.

“However this is not sustainable in the near future if something is not done about budget cuts.”

Council chiefs welcomed the report which they say comes following nine years of government funding cuts amounting to £20.9m by 2019-20, a reduction of 45% since 2010/11.

In the report, services were rated good overall and one area for the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers was judged to be ‘outstanding’.

Council bosses also praised the Director of Child and Adult Services, Sally Robinson, for her work allowing the council to achieve the grading.

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved and to be part of this council.

“I don’t think we celebrate enough how good the council is in this regard.

“My sincere thanks to Sally for her leadership, and the whole team.”

Chief executive Ms Alexander said: “I’m really proud to be chief executive of the council who has received this report.

“Hartlepool Borough Council has one of the highest levels of deprivation.

“The fact we are in the top 5 highest performing in the country despite this is fantastic, many would have struggled to cope.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service