09.01.19

Statutory directions lifted as council’s children’s services ‘vastly improved’

Bromley LBC’s children’s services has had its statutory direction lifted by Ofsted in an “absolutely remarkable” turnaround just two years after inspectors slammed “widespread and serious” failures at the children’s services and safeguarding.

Ofsted said that Bromley’s children’s services had “vastly improved” under “outstanding leadership,” giving it a ‘good’ rating. Inspector Dawn Godfrey reported that the council is “making a profound difference to improving the lives of children in Bromley.”

This marks a drastic turnaround over just two years when the children’s services were rated ‘inadequate’ for every one of its section and were slammed for exposing vulnerable children to risk and leaving many in neglectful and abusive situations.

Bromley’s executive member for children and families Peter Fortune said he was “extremely proud of this absolutely remarkable achievement” in such a short space of time, remarking that this is the first time a local authority has ever changed this around so quickly.

The children’s services have been under the new leadership of interim chief executive Ade Adetosoye and Ofsted stated that “a new and highly experienced senior leadership team has driven a rapid and sustained pace of improvement.”

“Rapid improvement continues unabated, driven by the vision, commitment and determination of senior leaders,” and the report said the local authority was a highly committed ‘corporate parent’ to the children it looked after.

Back in 2016, Bromley council received a damning report placing the children’s services under statutory direction, stating there had been a “corporate failure by the local authority that leaves too many children in neglectful and abusive situations for too long.”

Inspectors wrote that the response to children missing or at risk of sexual exploitation was “underdeveloped, inconsistent and uncoordinated” and delays in police notification meant it was unclear when children had gone missing and when they had returned.

In the latest report, Ofsted said that recommendations had been tackled with effective action and an unwavering focus on continuous improvement. There had also been a political shift in political and corporate support for the children’s services, underpinned by financial investment.

Fortune added: “Despite the hard-earned success we have achieved so far, we won’t be resting on our laurels. Bromley will continue its improvement journey towards even higher aspirations for the children and young people of our borough.”

Image credit - hoozone

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