Children and families in the borough receive some of the best support in the country when they use council services, a report by Ofsted has revealed. The report rates Bracknell Forest as ‘good’ with ‘outstanding features’.
An in depth Ofsted inspection of Bracknell Forest Council’s services for children took place in May. Overall, inspectors judged the department to be ‘good’ with its work with looked after children, adoption performance and the experience and progress of care leavers all judged to be outstanding.
Inspectors found children in the borough benefit from ‘highly aspirational, committed senior managers and political leaders who place them [children] firmly at the centre of their decision making'.
Comments from inspectors commend the work of the entire department, stating ‘staff at all levels work tirelessly to help children achieve in life and protect them from further harm.’
The report found:
- when children and families need help, there are many services available and in almost all cases, children receive the right help at the right time
- social workers spend time getting to know children and find imaginative ways to make sure they understand their views
- councillors and managers really want children to do well and make decisions that put children first
- social workers and other adults listen to children and take their views into account when they make important decisions about their lives
- young people who are leaving care receive excellent support from their personal advisers
- 5 areas were identified where improvement is possible and the council is already working to address these
Cllr Gareth Barnard, executive member for children, young people and learning, said:
This report shows that we are providing services that are good quality. Most importantly, it confirms we are giving the right support for children and families that need the council’s help and are putting the needs of vulnerable children first. The report stands comparison with any that Ofsted have produced in the past.
Our staff work tirelessly and under great pressure to ensure the impacts on children and young people are at the heart of every decision made. I would like to congratulate and thank them for their effort and dedication. In children’s services there can never be any room for complacency. I am determined we will continue to build even further on this success and ensure each and every child in the borough has the best possible start in life.
Nikki Edwards, director of children, young people and learning, said:
This was a rigorous assessment covering all services we deliver to children in need of support and we are very pleased with the outcome. I am particularly pleased Ofsted recognises the role every staff member plays in ensuring the children we support remain our number one priority. I am extremely proud of the team for their passion and commitment.
While the report is extremely positive, we can never be complacent and we welcome the recommendations for improvement highlighted within the report. We are already addressing 3 out of the 5 areas identified. As part of our transformation programme we are now looking at our early help services to ensure children get the right help even sooner. We will continue to work towards further improvement to ensure Bracknell Forest children are given the best life chances.
To view the report in full visit the Ofsted website.