Ofsted rates Bedford Borough children’s services ‘good’

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Following an Ofsted inspection in November 2021, Bedford Borough Council’s Children’s Services have been rated ‘Good’ by the regulators.

The final report was published last week and grades Children’s Services Good, across the board.

Ofsted inspectors commented that: “Senior leaders have worked relentlessly to address the recommendations from the last full inspection in 2017.

“They have built on the strengths identified at that time, and services are now of a good standard.”

The challenges of the global pandemic were noted, with inspectors saying: “COVID-19 has placed huge pressures on children and families in Bedford Borough.

“Many staff in the local authority have been personally affected by the virus. Despite this, services have adapted well to significant changes in demand through the past 20 months.”

The report also said, “Children’s views are listened to, supported and acted on. Children, including those with disabilities, attend meetings about themselves, and are supported to contribute meaningfully.”

Cllr James Valentine, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services and Education said, “I am delighted with the rating from Ofsted.

“Congratulations to all Children’s Services staff, this is thoroughly deserved. In Bedford Borough, we continue to put children first and this is not the end of the journey, Bedford Borough Council will continue to be ambitious in our approach to meeting the needs of children and young people.”

Inspectors also said that, “Leaders have created a positive, relationship-based culture which they model in their relationships with staff, who in turn adopt a respectful, courteous approach in their work with families. Leaders are visible and approachable.”

Martin Purbrick, interim Director of Children’s Services said: “We have worked incredibly hard to make improvements and get to where we are today. I am very proud of everyone who has played their part, it was a real team effort, thank you.

“We will enjoy this moment but know there is more to be done and we are committed to improving experiences for children and families in Bedford Borough.”

Mayor Dave Hodgson added: “I’d like to pay tribute and thanks to all Children’s Services staff, and to parents, carers and our partners, who have supported and engaged with us and are dedicated to improving the lives of children in Bedford Borough.”

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