“Children are important to the people in charge of Bedford Borough”
"Children are important to the people in charge of Bedford Borough", says Ofsted as Bedford Borough Council's Children's Services are rated 'Good'
Bedford Borough Council's Children's Services have been rated 'Good' by Ofsted following an inspection in November 2021.
The final report, published last week by Ofsted, grades Children's Services Good, across the board as 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."
Inspectors noted the added challenges from the pandemic saying that "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."
Former Portfolio Holder for Education, Councillor Henry Vann extended the congratulations to the whole school communities for their contributions to the work since the previous Ofsted report. Councillor Vann added "It was fantastic to read about the work with unaccompanied asylum seekers, care leavers and those for whom we are corporate parents, which I know we all take seriously as councillors and leaders across the council." Councillor Vann noted "Ofsted's rare recognition of cuts to local authority funding in the report which said 'a time when the … finances are stretched'" and also noted Ofsted's particular recognition of the council's early help and early years work.
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."
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."