But it found many weaknesses, and a second report on social services registration and inspection was less complimentary.
The children and families report said: 'A reasonable degree of change had been achieved since the last inspection. Considerable efforts had been made to address fundamental problems . . . In general there was a greater awareness of the importance of safety for looked after children.'
Criticism included variable arrangements to manage and monitor casework, the need for more active work with children in care, cases still being allowed to drift and a failure to welcome change by some staff.
It acknowledged 'commendable efforts by the present temporary manager to review performance and develop a plan'.
Hackney executive director Lisa Christensen said: 'We are pleased the SSI has recognised we have begun to turn these failing services around. However, there is still a long way to go.'
Hackney has been heavily criticised on social services recently. An SSI report in February 1998 found serious shortcomings.
It was also accused of incompetence over investigations into the Mark Trotter affair. Trotter, a former social worker who died of an AIDS-related illness, abused at least six children in his care.