SIGNS of improvement in district children's services have been recognised by Ofsted inspectors.

The services were transferred to a trust in April, after Bradford Council had failed to carry out improvements fast enough following an 'inadequate' rating in 2018.

Now an inspection of Bradford Children and Families Trust by Ofsted has acknowledged improvements, but with considerable work still to be done.

Ofsted says: "There are early signs of some improved practice since the last inspection.

"A new practice model is being implemented, but is not yet fully embedded.

"The long history of inadequate practice means there continues to be a very high number of children subject to statutory child-in-need and child protection plans, many unnecessarily so.

"The trust has a detailed understanding of the issues that need improvement in this area of practice, which is enabling more targeted activity.

"Historical and less effective assessment and planning has resulted in some children and families being subject to statutory child protection or child-in-need procedures when alternative and more proportionate plans could have been considered.

"The trust is working with staff and partner agencies to redress this.

"In most cases seen during our visit, children's needs are now being addressed at the appropriate level of intervention.

"However, inspectors did see the negative impact on children of previously poor practice and ineffective decision-making.

"Some children have been escalated prematurely to child protection processes and some children’s cases have closed too soon.

"Social workers reported positively about working for the Bradford trust.

"They articulated feeling more settled, and better supported with their work."

Eileen Milner, chair of the trust, says: "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 lengths 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."