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London council’s children’s services recognised as Outstanding in Ofsted inspection

An Ofsted inspection of Bromley’s Children Services has concluded that children in the borough receive “exceptionally strong services”, with an outstanding rating in all categories.

17/01/24

London council’s children’s services recognised as Outstanding in Ofsted inspection

Children’s services in the London Borough of Bromley have been graded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted after an inspection in November.

The council’s services for children received a rating of ‘Outstanding’ in all areas, including the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families, the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection, and the experiences and progress of children in care.

The rating follows a pattern of steady improvement since 2016 when the council’s services were judged by Ofsted to be ‘Inadequate’. The council was inspected again in 2018 where inspectors noted that “there [had] been a new and highly experienced senior leadership team which has driven a rapid and sustained pace of improvement, supported by a whole-council investment in children’s services.”

In the most recent visit in November 2023, inspectors added: “Children in the London Borough of Bromley receive exceptionally strong services. Leaders have continued to strengthen and further enhance practice since the previous inspection in 2018. Impressive strategic and operational leadership, allied with strong corporate and political commitment, has led to a shared vision and momentum for children’s services. This has gained the confidence and commitment of key partners, and there is a real appetite for shared solutions in the delivery of services.”

“Senior leaders regularly and meaningfully engage with children, families and partners. Participation and feedback, a strong performance information infrastructure and a well-established and extensive audit programme underpin service delivery and enable leaders to maintain a clear line of sight over children’s experiences.

“Leaders have an accurate understanding of strengths and weaknesses. They have fully addressed the areas for improvement identified at the previous inspection, turning these now into areas of strength. They know where to focus their attention and have plans already in place to continue to improve practice.”

Since Ofsted’s new inspection framework was introduced in 2022, which includes the new judgement for care leavers, Bromley is only the third local authority to have received Outstanding in all areas of social work. In total, Bromley is the eighth local authority to have received an ‘Outstanding’ rating, including those under the previous criteria.

“This outstanding result is testament to the hard work of so many people,” Councillor Kate Lymer, Deputy Leader and Executive Councillor for Children, Education and Families said. “Reading words or phrases in the report such as ‘impressive, high quality, highly effective, successful and excellent service in our multiple service areas underlines what is being achieved. I want to thank our hardworking staff for their passion, dedication and brilliance and that of our police and health partners too. This work literally impacts on future generations. We want to see all our children reach their full potential in as many ways as possible which is why we remain ambitious for our children and we will remain resolutely focussed on this.”

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