Ofsted has released the results of its recent monitoring visit to Bradford Children and Families Trust on 13 December.

The visit, which occurred on 8 and 9 November, concentrated on child in need assessment and planning, as well as child protection practices. This marks the second monitoring visit since the transfer of Bradford Children’s social care services to the Trust on 1 April 2023.

In a letter posted on the Ofsted website, inspectors noted that the Trust “possesses a comprehensive understanding of the areas requiring improvement in child in need and child protection planning, facilitating more targeted and recent improvement efforts.”

Inspectors highlighted several key areas that exhibited improvement, such as effectively managing safeguarding concerns through well-attended multi-agency strategy meetings. Additionally, there was improved oversight in the management of child in need and child protection assessments and planning. Furthermore, enhanced performance data and quality assurance provided leaders with a thorough comprehension of practice quality.

The letter also acknowledged advancements in services for disabled children under child in need and child protection plans. These children are regularly seen by experienced workers who understand their needs well and are familiar with the children’s experiences.

Most notably, inspectors found that the needs of children in most cases during the visit are now being addressed at the appropriate level of intervention. However, the letter acknowledged the ongoing challenges faced by the Trust, particularly the persistently high number of children under child in need and child protection plans. The Trust is actively collaborating with staff and partner agencies to address this issue and ensure that, when safe to do so, children are not subjected to unnecessary statutory processes.

Eileen Milner, Chair of the Bradford and Families Trust, said: “The outcome of this latest visit from Ofsted shows that we are making progress in the crucial areas of children in need and child protection. I want to thank all the staff who are working so hard to make these improvements. It is good to hear from inspectors that our social workers are positive about working for Bradford and feel more settled, and better supported with their work.

“Our managers have gone to great efforts with everyone in the Trust to make sure we are clear about our values when it comes to working with children and families. It is good to see this is recognised by Ofsted. It is an important aspect of our work that we will continue to develop so our staff can deliver the best services for children across the district.”

Cllr Sue Duffy, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for children and families, said: “Nothing is more important than keeping children in the district safe, so the findings from this Ofsted visit which focused on the child in need and child protection are encouraging. It is good to see that some services for children and families are improving. We know that there is still much more to do and inspectors have highlighted areas the Trust still needs to strengthen. Many of the new initiatives that it has put in place are in their early stages, but the improvement we have seen so far gives the Trust a positive platform on which to build.”