By ANISAH ARIF
Children’s social care will be considered for improvement by the Bradford Council’s Executive in its meeting that will take place on 4 December.
The Executive will receive a report in answer to the recent inspection by Ofsted. The report highlights steps needed to be put in place to ensure improvement happens swiftly.
The plan will involve staff at all levels in children’s services, as well as young people and key partners. A draft improvement plan is being developed with the voice of the child at is heart. The finale draft will be shared with Executive in the New Year before submission to Ofsted on 4 February 2019. A draft improvement plan is being developed with the voice of the child at its heart.
Additional resource is being identified to support the improvement plan. The report highlights that an additional £2.46 million in funding is necessary to support the improvement journey for children’s social care, which is reflected in the Budget proposals put forward at the same meeting.
An Improvement Board is being set up to oversee the changes that need to be made. The Board will be chaired by an independent improvement advisor who will be appointed by the Department for Education (DfE). The Board will be supported by staff and children’s groups. It will report to the Council’s groups. It will report to the Council’s Executive as well as the DfE and will ultimately report to Full Council.
Chaired by the Council’s Chief Executive, A Shadow Improvement Board is currently working on improvement plans pending the establishment of the Improvement Board.
A new interim Strategic Director for Children’s Services has been selected by the Council. Gladys Rhodes White joined the Council on 19 November.
Gladys is an experienced children’s social care director with significant experience of improving performance. She has earned national and international accolades for her work on Child Sexual Exploitation and Early Years, receiving in OBE in 2012 for her services to children.
Gladys will work with the Council until May next year. The process of recruiting a new Strategic Director of Children’s Services will being in January.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We are taking decisive steps to deliver the rapid improvements needed. We have identified additional resources in the Council’s budget so that the improvement plan has the right level of support. With both the demand for services and the cost of delivering them rising rapidly, we will continue to work with other local authorities to secure a better deal for children’s social care from Central Government. We’re absolutely determined that we’re able to deliver services that mean all our children have the best possible start in life.”
Councillor Adrian Farley, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, said: “The report highlights the clear steps that we’re taking to make sure we deliver the rapid improvements our children deserve. Having a clear plan and the right resource is vital in helping us achieve this, but the most important thing is that the voice of the child is at the heart of our plans.”
Gladys Rhodes White, Interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services, said:”We are determined that the plans we are putting in place are the right ones for children, young people and families. To do this, we need to make sure that the voices of young people and families are heard and their needs form the core of our planning. Our staff will be working with children and families as well as our partners to make sure this happens so that we get the very best services and outcomes for the district’s children.”