Bromley Children’s Services Leap To ‘Good’ With ‘Outstanding’ Leadership
Services for children and families in Bromley have made a remarkable leap forward to ‘good’ overall with leadership that has an ‘outstanding’ impact on social work practice, according to Ofsted.
Published on 7 January 2019, this judgement represents an unprecedented turnaround for the council over a very short period of two years.
Bromley Council’s Executive Member for Children and Families Councillor Peter Fortune said: “I am extremely proud of this absolutely remarkable achievement. This improvement in such a short space of time has simply never been achieved by any other local authority. To go from where Bromley children’s services were two years ago when Ofsted judged them inadequate to a position of strength with ‘outstanding’ leadership, and a ‘good’ overall rating across all services is unheard of in this time frame. I commend the new leadership of our children’s services under Interim Chief Executive Ade Adetosoye OBE, as well as councillors, staff and our partners who have shown such unflinching dedication to the young people of our borough over this period. I should also like to thank the Leader of the Council, Councillor Colin Smith and former Leader, Stephen Carr for their personal support and commitment.”
Ofsted reported that services have improved dramatically over the past two years and the rapid improvement continues unabated, driven by the vision, commitment and determination of senior leaders. Recommendations have been tackled with vigour and there has been a significant shift in political and corporate support for children’s services underpinned by sustained financial investment. Effective action has been taken across all areas and there is an unwavering focus on continuous improvement, with high aspirations for all children. The report says ‘a new and highly experienced senior leadership team has driven a rapid and sustained pace of improvement, supported by a whole council investment in children’s services. This has led to vastly improved services for children and families.’
The report referred to the local authority as a highly committed ‘corporate parent’ of children looked after and described the improvements as ‘palpable’. Children in care told inspectors that, in Bromley, they feel ‘they are known’ and that there is a ‘huge’ difference now in how much they feel valued. Ofsted found that direct work with children has become a significant strength in Bromley and the children’s voices and experiences ‘sing out’ in their assessments and plans.
Bromley’s Early Help and Family Support Services, found to be effective in 2016, were also singled out for praise for being further strengthened since then. The report paid tribute to the exceptionally well managed and skilled, enthusiastic, child-focused staff in this area.
Councillor Fortune concluded: “Despite the hard-earned success we have achieved so far, we won’t be resting on our laurels. Bromley will continue its improvement journey towards even higher aspirations for the children and young people of our borough.”