COUNCIL bosses have acknowledged there is still much to be done to bring about improvements to children’s services in the district.

Government inspectors, following their latest monitoring visit, say there are signs things are getting better – but that the pace now needs to be stepped up.

The Ofsted visit was the fourth since Bradford Council was given an ‘inadequate’ rating in October, 2018.

Among areas it focused on was achieving permanence – security and continuity – for children in care.

While the inspection team found there were some examples of better practice, its overall conclusion was that there is still extensive “drift and delay” for children achieving permanence.

However, Ofsted recognises that since the strategic director for children’s services – Mark Douglas – took-up post last summer, a widescale improvement plan had been implemented.

Inspectors add that a new leadership team has “embarked on a whole-scale restructuring of the service, which has required stripping it back to basics. The service is now starting to address this legacy of poor practice and ineffective management”.

Mr Douglas welcomes the acknowledgement that action is being taken.

“It’s good that Ofsted recognises that the new staffing structures will help services get the basics right for children,” he said. “It’s also positive that they recognise how we’re starting to address poor practice across services.

“But we know we have a lot more to do, and need to up the pace of improvement.

“We’re also very aware of the additional pressure that coronavirus (COVID-19) is putting on our teams. We will undoubtedly face more pressure on our service as a result of both the health and economic impacts, but of course we also need to take care of our staff so that we can do that work.”

Keighley councillor Adrian Farley, portfolio holder for children and families, said: “Ofsted emphasises the firm commitment from council members and the executive to support investment in the innovation and improvement programme for children’s services with significant recurring funding. We need to ensure this investment urgently accelerates the rate of improvement so we can deliver the services children need.”