CHILDREN’S services in the district are "showing signs of improvement".

That's the finding of Ofsted inspectors following their most recent visit to evaluate progress.

Children's services in Bradford were rated ‘inadequate’ in 2018, and after years of slow improvement, were taken over by a new trust in April 2023.

Concerns over the years included an over reliance on agency staff, rather than permanent social workers.

Ofsted carried out its most recent monitoring inspection in February and has just published its findings.

The report says: “The appointment of the new chief executive officer at the council is bringing strong and crucial oversight, support and challenge to the trust and the council.

“Trust senior leaders recognise that for too many children, their long-term futures have been uncertain for too long. Many children have been subject to child protection for a considerable length of time.

“Trust leaders fully understand the challenges in this practice area and the impact on children. They have taken very positive and robust action to begin to make the improvements needed.

“More recent practice is beginning to show signs of improvement.

“Some children in Bradford district have experienced many changes of social workers.

“Positively, the landscape is starting to change, with an increasing number of permanent staff within this practice area.

“There is increasing evidence that children and families are being helped sooner in order to bring about positive changes. Parents are being better supported to make improvements to their parenting before care proceedings are issued.

“Social workers spoken to told inspectors that they feel more settled and are better supported in their work. They describe visible senior leaders who are very approachable.

“A number commented that the relationship-based model of social work introduced is becoming more embedded and that Bradford feels a more stable place to work.

“There are undoubtedly significant resource and capacity challenges which impact on work in this practice area and across the trust.

“The newly-appointed chief executive officer at the council clearly recognises the importance of children’s social care.”

Eileen Milner, chair of Bradford Children and Families Trust, says: "The report highlights a number of areas of progress, including that families are being helped sooner in order to bring about positive changes.

"We know there is more work to do, and inspectors confirmed that the trust and the council have a thorough understanding of the challenges and are committed to delivering the improvements needed."