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Ofsted finds ‘inadequate’ Bradford children’s services have ‘rapidly deteriorated’

Bradford council’s children services have been rated ‘inadequate’ after leaving children “at serious risk of harm,” Ofsted has found.

Its report found that services for children in Bradford had “rapidly deteriorated” since the previous inspection in April 2017, with too many children not getting the help they need at the right time.

Inspectors said the main reason behind the poor performance was an increased demand for services at the same time as a significant number of experienced social workers and managers left to work for other councils.

There was clear evidence of the detrimental impact of staff changes, as well as resulting poor practice which left children at risk of significant harm.

The leader of the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Susan Hinchcliffe, said the council was “very sorry this happened” and that it would act quickly to address the problem.

She said: “We are extremely disappointed that at our recent Ofsted inspection the services we deliver to protect the most vulnerable were found not to be meeting the high standards our children deserve.

“We have increased spending in children’s services by 6% this year but we are going to have to spend more on children’s services and we will deliver rapid improvements.”

Ofsted said local politicians had been made aware of the issues and had committed additional resources to rectify them with improvement plans put in place.

Staff recruitment is a key focus for improvement for the council, and further new key management appointments and social care workers have been recruited and are due to start after the completion of this inspection.

But improvements have not yet been consistently achieved for all children in care, and an insufficiency of carers also means that some children were in placements that did not meet their needs.

Earlier this year, there were 38 social worker vacancies, around a fifth of the total service workforce, but this had been reduced to five at the time of inspection.

 Image credit - tupungato

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