CHILDREN’S services in the district are showing signs of improvement, according to inspectors.

But Ofsted, in its latest report, adds that progress in social work practice has been “too slow for children and families”.

The inspection team was delivering its fifth report since Bradford Council children’s services department was judged to be ‘inadequate’ in 2018.

Although there are positives in the document, many issues highlighted during previous visits – from struggles to recruit experienced social workers to assessments taking too long – remain.

In a letter to the council, Ofsted says the “slow pace of change” is partly down to a mix of pressures caused by the Covid pandemic and “due to the breadth and depth of the inadequacy identified in 2018”.

Mark Douglas – the council’s strategic director of children’s services – says the local authority acknowledges further improvement is needed, but that progress is being made.

He added: “Ofsted has recognised that we are making progress in our improvement journey.

“We know there are still areas we need to change and that in certain cases, particularly regarding the quality of some social work, improvement has not happened fast enough. However Ofsted has recognised that a new senior management team is in place and there is an improved front door into the service, revamped training and improved quality assurance and performance management.

“We were aware of all the issues raised by Ofsted. With the added investment that has been made into the service, we are focusing on rapidly improving the areas Ofsted has identified as requiring further improvement.”

Councillor Sue Duffy, who took over as the portfolio holder for children and families after Keighley West councillor Adrian Farley lost his seat at last month’s elections, said: “I am absolutely committed to making sure all our district’s children get the best possible service.

“Whilst I welcome the fact that Ofsted has identified areas where children and young people are getting better support, I am keen to make sure we accelerate the speed of improvement.

“Ofsted is very clear in its assessment about how positive social workers are regarding working in the district and that the new training they receive is producing better assessments. I will work relentlessly to seek assurances from the management team that the additional investment the council has made will drive improvements at pace.”