Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Other news around Hampshire

Children’s Services: ‘good’ with outstanding features

Our Children’s Services are ‘good’ with outstanding features – according to Ofsted inspectors.

The County Council was one of the first authorities to face a new, tougher, unannounced inspection process that places greater emphasis on positive outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.

Overall inspectors found services to be ‘good’ for children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers, while the adoption service was ‘outstanding’, as was leadership and governance across all children’s services.

Committed, highly ambitious leadership was credited for the consistent quality of services and improved outcomes for children and young people. The inspectors noted that the County Council is frequently at the forefront of good practice, evidenced by developments that are recognised nationally such as the Young Interpreter Scheme and the Wessex Dance Academy.

They also acknowledged the good, qualified, experienced social workers and children and family support workers; close partnership working and information sharing with Health, Police and Adult Services. This enables children and their families to get help at the right time and right level. There was also praise for the ‘exemplary’ work with schools and community groups for children from diverse minority ethnic groups.

Ukulele world record bid

Hampshire Music Service is attempting to break the world record for having the largest ukulele orchestra playing at the same time at a special event to be held later this week (Friday 18 July) at St Mary’s Football Stadium in Southampton.

Schools and ukulele players across the county have been invited to sing and play themselves into the world records – there will need to be more than 2,134 ukulele players taking part in the event!

The record attempt event starts at 1.30pm, and Justin Fletcher from CBeebies will be leading the singing and playing.

If you read this before 18 July and you want to join in, please contact Hampshire Music Service on 023 8065 2037. For counting purposes everyone needs a ticket. Tickets cost £6 and up to two under fives can go free when accompanied by an adult.

Superfast broadband expands

The Hampshire Superfast Broadband programme will bring superfast broadband internet connections to an estimated 15,000 premises by the end of September.

Additionally, following a successful bid for £1 million of funding from the Government, up to an extra 4,000 rural homes and businesses in the New Forest and Test Valley will be able to benefit from access to superfast broadband between June and December next year.

BT and Virgin Media are rolling out superfast broadband to around 80% of premises in the county. Our programme is helping to address the gaps left out by the commercial rollout, extending the overall coverage to 90% of premises by the end of 2015 and reaching at least 95% by the end of 2017. We are also looking at ways to extend coverage beyond 95%.

Lt Col Peter Hayward-Broomfield, Chair of the Community Broadband Group in the New Forest, commented on the positive impact of faster broadband speeds in his area: “The successful bid will make a huge difference to those selected rural parishes, or parts of parishes, which are too small to be commercially attractive and in danger of being left in a communications desert. A good broadband service will have a significant impact on the ability to conduct business and is increasingly important in the delivery of social and public services.”

To find out more about the phases of the programme and new investments in your area, register your interest.

Free Electric blanket safety checks

The County Council’s Trading Standards Service will be conducting free electric blanket safety checks again this autumn, supported by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, and local district and borough councils.

Electric blankets do deteriorate with age and wear. Most home fires caused by electric blankets are with blankets over 10 years old. The amount of use a blanket has had is not a good reflection of its safety, only a check by a qualified engineer will highlight issues of concern. If you use an electric blanket, please make an appointment to have yours checked.

Our engineer will assess the age of your blanket and can advise on known risks which could make it unsafe. It is advisable that any blanket which is over 10 years old is replaced with a new one.

The programme will commence on 29 September for three weeks at various venues across the county.

Please telephone our designated number 01962 833 358 for information on dates, locations, and to make an appointment. Please note that this number is operated by a messaging service: leave your name and full telephone number and one of our team will ring you back. Call early to secure an appointment.