Hartlepool’s children’s social care rated ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ features

Published Tuesday, 28th August 2018

Children's social care services in Hartlepool have been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted inspectors.

Following an inspection in July, Ofsted said local arrangements are “highly effective.”

Ofsted rated three categories as ‘good’ and a fourth category – which looks at the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers – was judged to be ‘outstanding’.

The positive report comes despite the fact Hartlepool Borough Council has faced nine consecutive years of funding cuts from Central Government. By 2019/20, the Council will be receiving £20.9m less Government funding than it was in 2010/11 – a reduction of 45%.   

Ofsted Inspectors said: “Children in care and care leavers receive an outstanding service. They are ‘cared for’ and ‘cared about’. They benefit from stable relationships with trusted adults who are committed to providing long-term stability during childhood and beyond.”

Ofsted 2018

Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Social Care Services team

Councillor Brenda Harrison, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Services Committee, said: “Since the last inspection in 2013, which rated the service as good, there have been sustained progress and further improvements made in the care and support provided to children and I am delighted these have been recognised.

“I’m particularly pleased staff have been recognised in the report for their determination to improve children’s life experiences and that, despite increasing workloads, the quality and impact of practice have been maintained and, in some aspects, improved.

“This is an excellent report, but we won’t be complacent and our ambition now is to ensure children’s social care services continue to improve and develop.”

The four judgements were as follows:



The impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families


The experiences and progress of children who need help and protection


The experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers


Overall effectiveness


Hartlepool Borough Council has also received a letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families congratulating “everyone at the council involved in achieving this brilliant outcome.”

Nadhim Zahawi MP adds: “I was particularly pleased to read about the outstanding services provided to children in care and care leavers, who are not only ‘cared for’ but ‘cared about’. More generally, the report makes clear that services for vulnerable children in Hartlepool have improved from an already strong base since Ofsted’s last inspection in 2014; the stable and highly motivated workforce have played a critical role in this.” 

Councillor Brenda Harrison added: “This report is made all the more remarkable as it follows nine consecutive years of funding cuts from Central Government.

“Despite these significant cuts, Hartlepool Borough Council has continued to protect Children’s Services and spending has actually increased by 27% from £14.4 million in 2010/11, to £18.3 million in 2018/19.

“In part, this increase in spending has been funded by a use of reserves and a further £3.5 million of reserves has been identified to help maintain spending on Children’s Services in 2019/20.

“However, as reserves can only be used once this position is not sustainable. It is now absolutely essential the Government recognises the national pressures in relation to Children’s Services, as recent Government figures show English Councils overspent by £800 million on these services last year. It is therefore essential that the Government provides increased funding in 2020/21.”