SOCIAL services took out a protection order after fears a child was at risk of forced marriage.

The intervention, described as “successful”, was revealed in an Ofsted inspection report which found that vulnerable children and young people at risk of exploitation or in care are being given the support they need to build a successful future.

Inspectors praised the way the town’s vulnerable youngsters were being supported and protected by Bolton Council’s children’s social care services.

This included securing a protection order for a child at risk of forced marriage and working with children at risk of sexual exploitation.

All areas of the service were marked as good — with most children who become looked after making progress, including in their education.

Bolton Council said the judgement meant it was now one of the best authorities in the country for looking after its most vulnerable.

Its last inspection in 2014 resulted in a rating of 'requires improvement' and council officers say the department has worked hard to make the service good.

Only a handful of authorities have been inspected under the new Inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services framework which was introduced this year.

The report stated: “Social work practice and services have improved since the last inspection and are now good, resulting in positive outcomes for most children.

“Children in need of immediate protection receive a prompt response from social workers that helps to keep them safe.”

It added: “Good support for children who become looked after means that their experiences have improved as a result.”

The council was praised for its work protecting and helping children at risk of sexual exploitation and those who go missing as well as young people being potentially at risk of female genital mutilation, forced marriage or radicalisation.

Inspectors found that: “circumstances are assessed promptly, with proportionate, timely and effective multi-agency interventions successfully reducing risk”.

“An example of good practice was seen in the securing of a forced marriage protection order for a child at risk, and targeted work to raise awareness of such safeguarding concerns in her school following this successful intervention,” stated the report.

Inspectors found that the council sought out children’s views on issues and were praised for “prioritising support and financial resources for the most vulnerable children”.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children were found to be given the appropriate support to ensure “positive outcomes”.

Those leaving care were found to benefit from the “strong corporate parenting ethos” and move on to safe and appropriate homes.

The success is said to be partly due to bringing together specialists involved in the care of children into one room which leads to an effective response to cases as they arise.

Cllr Ann Cunliffe, cabinet member for education, schools, safeguarding and looked after children, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news and I’m so pleased for everyone in the department as I know they have worked incredibly hard to make improvements.

“The views and best interests of the borough’s most vulnerable children are the heart of everything we do, and I’m delighted that this has been reflected in Ofsted’s judgement.

“I’m so proud of the ‘good’ rating but also acknowledge that there is still room for improvement. We are aware of the areas which need further work and there are already plans in place to address these. We are thrilled to be recognised as a leading authority and will continue to strive to be even better.”

In the report Ofsted highlighted the need to improve in a few areas — but added that there were plans in place.

These included: the capacity to support children affected by the impact of domestic abuse and addressing the transition of children with a disability to adulthood earlier.