Bexley's achieves 'outstanding' in children's services
PUBLISHED: 16:21 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:39 20 August 2018
A recent Ofsted inspection of services for children, young people, families and carers in Bexley has judged the borough's provision to be Outstanding.
Inspectors found that services had significantly improved since the previous inspection in 2014.
They commented in particular on the ambitious and effective work to protect children and to help families stay together where it is safe enough for this to be possible.
For children and young people who are not able to live within their family networks and who are looked after by the council, inspectors found that they are supported by social workers who know them well and who are making good plans with their families about their futures.
Plans to further improve the support for young adults leaving the council’s care were also said to be making a difference with leaders overseeing credible planning and change.
The adoption service was marked out as being exceptional for its unrelenting focus on children’s needs and their support for adopters.
Overall the service in Bexley was described as being underpinned by many skilled practitioners who know the families and young people well, and make effective relationships with them which are helping their lives to be better.
The Ofsted visit took place over two weeks during July, fully engaging inspectors in observing practice, with families, carers, children and young people, as well as partners and professionals.
Bexley’s cabinet member for children’s services, Cllr Philip Read, said: “I am very proud of everyone involved for the work they are doing to support our children and their families.
“We have been on a continuous journey of improvement and Ofsted have recognised the progress we’ve made.
“Over the last four years we have put in place a number of innovations including developing our own Social Work Academy that not only encourages the best newly qualified social workers to come to Bexley, but makes them want to stay with us.
“At the same time, we have succeeded in attracting an increasingly capable and professional permanent workforce of experienced staff and reduced to a slender minimum what was an unhealthy reliance on expensive agency staff.”
Leader of Bexley Council, Cllr Teresa O’Neill said: “This is great news and we can take a moment to enjoy this recognition of our outstanding service but in many ways the real challenge starts now and that is the challenge of sustaining and building further on this accolade.
“We know there are always areas we can improve and that each day, we face unique and challenging situations.
“Sadly things sometimes do go wrong but we are relentless in our wish to learn from those moments alongside our families, young people and partners.”
Bexley’s director of children’s services, Jacky Tiotto said: “I would like to thank all our practitioners, managers and leaders who come to work every day to try and make a difference to someone’s life.
“I know they are so proud of this inspection result and I hope each and every one of them stays with us so that we can continue to do all we can to help children, their families and carers to enjoy their lives together.
“There is a special thank you I must make to the director of children’s services in Essex, Helen Lincoln, who has supported and guided me over the three years we have been working to be the best we can be.”
To find out more about working in Children’s Services in Bexley visit bexleysocialcarecareers.wordpress.com.