Inspection of Children's Services shows commitment to multi-agency approach
Looked after children in Bedford Borough are safe and outcomes
are improving for vulnerable children according to an independent
inspection of Bedford Borough’s Safeguarding and Looked After
Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an
announced inspection of Bedford Borough Council’s Safeguarding and
Looked After Children services, including those provided by
agencies and partners. The inspection was carried out this month,
as part of a national 3 year cycle of statutory inspections.
Findings from this inspection reported that the overall
effectiveness of safeguarding and services for looked after
children in Bedford is adequate with no children found to be left
inadequately protected during the inspection.
This is Bedford Borough Council’s first such announced
inspection as a new Unitary Authority. To date, Bedford Borough has
undergone two unannounced Ofsted inspections, one announced
inspection, and two annual assessments. The latest Annual
Assessment of all Children’s Services in Bedford Borough overall,
published in November, saw Bedford Borough Council’s performance
rating improve to performing well.
Ofsted report that senior managers, leaders and elected members are
fully committed to securing the safety of children within the
Throughout the inspection evidence of good partnership working was
The Police are making a strong contribution to the effectiveness
of local safeguarding services and Ofsted noted that joint working
with local schools has improved. The contribution of health
agencies to keeping children safe is adequate, with firm
improvement plans in place to secure developments going
Ofsted highlighted that there had already been progress since
the last unannounced inspection. Bedford Borough Council has
produced its own action plan and has started to implement it to act
upon the recommendations noted within the report.
Cllr Sue Oliver, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Social Care at
Bedford Borough Council, said: “There is no greater responsibility
than safeguarding children. We are committed to ensuring the
quality of services so that children experience a safe, educated,
happy and healthy childhood. I am pleased that the report
recognises the improvements that have already been made. Together
with our partners, we will strive to ensure ongoing improvement
across all aspects of Safeguarding and Looked After Children
Angela McNab, Chief Executive of NHS Bedfordshire and Luton,
said: “We welcome this joint Ofsted and CQC report and will be
working with our partners to implement a number of recommendations
to ensure we continue to improve our safeguarding and looked after
Detective Superintendent Nigel Stone, Head of Bedfordshire
Police Public Protection Unit, said: “Working in partnership to
safeguard children forms a vital part of the force’s aim to fight
crime and protect the public. We are pleased that the report
acknowledges the considerable effort the force has made in this
field and we will remain committed to all young people in order
that they can live safe from harm.”
Special schools and primary level schools were all judged to be
good or better for safeguarding. Similarly, the adoption services
which serves Bedford has recently been inspected and its
safeguarding arrangements assessed as good.
Bedford Borough has achieved similar status to other areas
within the Eastern region, and the Council is committed to taking
robust action towards securing improvements.
The Bedford Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) was established
in 2010; it is well developed, ably led and has good partner
engagement. Laura Eades, Independent Chairperson of BSCB said: “The
effectiveness of the BSCB partnership will be an asset in driving
improvement across partner agencies and ensuring continued
development of early help services.
Ofsted discovered that there is strong engagement from health
executives and a good level of challenge from the range of
strategic boards, including the BSCB, the Shadow Health and
Well-Being board, and with individual trust
Going forward, safeguarding and looked after children will
remain a high priority for the Local Authority and its partners.
Ofsted reported that this is reflected in financial prioritisation
and in the strong engagement of the Mayor, Chief Executive and
other senior leaders.
To view the report in full visit www.ofsted.gov.uk