On 22nd August, Ofsted released the findings of their monitoring visit to the Bradford Children and Families Trust.
This visit marks the first assessment following the transfer of social care services for children and young individuals from Bradford Council to the Trust on 1st April this year.
The main outcomes from the report indicate that the staff react positively to the changes and acknowledge the presence of several improvements, along with increased staff engagement.
The visit, conducted on 18th and 19th July, centred around the following areas:
The integrated front door, which manages the initial response to safeguarding and child support requests.
Evaluation and planning within the duty and assessment teams.
The role of the local authority designated officer (LADO) in addressing allegations against individuals working with children.
Ofsted emphasised that since the previous inspection in November 2022, they have noticed enhancements in the way initial contacts and referrals are dealt with at the integrated front door.
The introduction of a dialogue-based approach to handling contacts and referrals, initiated in October of the prior year, has yielded positive outcomes.
While improvements have been observed in recent activities within the assessment and duty teams, Ofsted noted that further efforts are required to ensure consistent, high-quality assessments by the trust.
Regarding the local authority designated officer (LADO), responsible for investigating safeguarding allegations against professionals working with children, inspectors found the responses to be prompt and fitting. The decision-making process was transparent, displaying effective oversight of investigations.
Charlotte Ramsden, CEO of Bradford Children and Families Trust, and Eileen Milner as chair of the Trust Board, said; “Lots of work has gone into setting up the Bradford Children and Families Trust, so it is very welcome news that Ofsted acknowledges that we have made progress in some key areas in such a short space of time.
“We know that there is still a huge amount of work ahead of us but, as Ofsted has recognised, the staff and Board at the Trust, our Council colleagues and our partners are committed to making sure the services we provide for the children and families of our district improve.”
Marium Haque, Strategic Director of Bradford Council’s Children’s Services, said: “It is a positive outcome from Ofsted’s visit that they recognise there has been a smooth transition of services from the Council to the new Trust. Inspectors have seen that staff are positive about the change. There is no room for complacency, but we have a clear action plan in place overseen by the Improvement Board and we’re committed to working together to ensure that progress continues and the Trust is fully supported in delivering improvement.”