Business Plan 2023-2027

The Trust was formed in April 2023, to address the shortcomings in children’s services identified by Ofsted in 2018. The Trust started with a complex inheritance and many challenges to tackle.

Establishment of the Trust presents a new opportunity to build upon the good work which must continue, respond to deep problems which must be addressed and embed the many improvements which have begun, or which need to move at pace.

Bradford District is the fifth largest metropolitan local authority district in England with a diverse population of over 547,000 people and still growing. There are 154,000 children and one third of the population is aged under twenty, making Bradford the youngest city in the UK. Bradford has also been the 5th most deprived local authority area in England for more than a decade, meaning that national funding cuts and inflation on spending power have had a greater impact, whilst demand for children’s services has been rising nationally and locally.

Against this backdrop there are also national workforce challenges, with a decline in the social care workforce and vacancy rates at their
highest level since 2017.

The Trust’s Business Plan 2023-2027 has been developed as the basis of the contract between the Council and the Trust to deliver services on their behalf, but also sets out the Trust’s ambitions and how these connect with our four strategic plans for the Bradford District. This plan captures the views of Trust leaders, local stakeholders and partners who we will need to work with to make the Trust a success.


‘Establishment of the Trust presents a new opportunity to build upon the good work
which must continue, respond to deep problems which must be addressed and embed the many improvements which have begun, or which need to move at pace.’

Purpose, vision and values

Our purpose

Our purpose is to provide high-quality services with partners that help safeguard, support and promote the welfare of children, young people and families across the Bradford District.

Our vision

Our vision is for all children and young people in the Bradford District to be safe and able to realise their full potential.

Our values

Our values were co-developed with our staff community and reflect the way in which we will operate individually, in our service and as an organisation.

We will measure our progress in achieving this vision against six outcomes, that children:

  1. are safe from harm
  2. are ready to learn, do well at school and well prepared for adult life
  3. make healthy lifestyle choices
  4. enjoy their childhood and have fun growing up
  5. have a voice and that voice has influence

Seven priorities

The Trust has committed to seven priorities in order to achieve its vision.

1. Strengthened services to provide earlier help
for children and families
, through: strengthening
our existing early help arrangements and putting
local family hubs at the heart of local communities,
based on a good understanding of the diverse
needs of local people. We will extend our family
help offer, enhance help at the ‘edge of care’ and
through re-focused youth support, build a wide
offer of family help which reduces the need for
social work involvement and ultimately reduce the
number needing to come into our care. Together with
partners we will reduce the need for later support.

2. Improved quality of relationship-based practice and
decision making with a clear focus on outcomes
by: Ensuring that we get the basics right and do the
simple things well. We will get alongside children
and families with a ‘Family First’ commitment to
empower them to cope better. They will be more
involved in decisions about their own lives through
family group decision making and family help, with
networks of support being enabled. We will build
better relationships with families using a relationship
based restorative practice model. We will use
professional case audit to improve the quality of
practice. The quality and consistency of decision-making will improve. And we will make the social
work job doable through manageable caseloads,
good management oversight and a supportive
working environment.

3. Better choices for local care, by building fostering
and residential capacity, as envisaged by the
Placement and Sufficiency Strategy 2022. We will
review existing placements to ensure young people
are living in the right place and to reduce the high
costs of any unnecessary out of area provision. We
will offer secure homes for care leavers and high-quality support into adult services where these are

4. Empowering children and families to cope better,
by: listening to children and young people and
to families to make sure we enable them to seek
their own solutions and that we provide what they
need. We will listen to partners and people in
local communities to learn how best we can help,
including learning from complaints. We will “do with,
not to” and ensure our families feel valued in the way
we work.

5. Building stronger partnerships, through: good local
collaboration on the ground, in multi professional
teams, as the basis of cross agency collaboration.
Our strategic partnerships will be based upon good
analysis of need and agreed priorities delivered
through joint strategies and plans. We will rebuild the
trust of partners.

The remaining two priorities aim to make Bradford
Children and Families Trust a great place to work and
ensure that the company is well run.

6. We will develop a People and Culture Plan to direct
our efforts in creating a culture that delivers a stable
and high performing team
, and

7. Implement our Organisational Effectiveness Plan to
make sure the Trust arrangements are stabilised
and operate well

Our four strategic plans

We have created four strategic plans through which our Business Plan’s seven priorities will be delivered.

1. Children and Families Plan
Our Children and Families Plan details how we will
create better services for children and families by
strengthening services to provide earlier help for
children and families; improving quality of relationship-based practice and decision making with a clear focus
on outcomes; offering better choices for local care,
being alongside children and families to empower them
to cope better; and building stronger partnerships.

Our Children and Families Plan will put families at the
heart of all we do: empowering family network decision
making and building collaborative community support,
driven by restorative social work practice.

2. People and Culture Plan
Our People and Culture Plan endeavours to create a
better place for our staff community to work by ensuring
that all staff are connected to the vision, purpose and
values of the trust and can play their part. We will have a
workforce plan to ensure that we can meet current and
future workforce capability and capacity requirements
and a place where people want to stay and will have
opportunities for development and progression. We
will build on the Bradford Teaching Partnership and
partnerships with local social work and other courses
beneficial to our service needs.

3. Organisational Effectiveness Plan
Our Organisational Effectiveness Plan works to create
an efficient and effective organisation by stabilising the
new Trust arrangements to ensure confident dynamic
leadership and the capacity to lead change. We will
strengthen leadership at all levels and devolve decision-making as close to frontline services as possible, with
clear pathways and protocols in place. We will focus our
attention on tracking impact through the intelligent use
of data. We will ensure high-quality bespoke support
services which wrap around professional practice. We
will operate the council contract well. We will improve

4. Medium Term Financial Plan
Our Medium Term Financial Plan sets out a clear
financial strategy for the four-year period to 2027 and
will be further developed in line with the work required
under the Best Value Notice issued to the Council in
February 2024. Underpinning the Trust’s work, it is a
robust and creative approach to managing available
resources. We will use the flexibility of the Trust as
an independent company to seek additional funding
wherever possible. Business cases for significant
change for early help, local care and workforce will be

Our top ten imperatives for delivery 2023-25

To ensure the Trust makes progress at pace, and makes the biggest impact in the early years of the Trust, securing a platform for other improvements to be made. These are:

1. Secure our financial sustainability, by: building
our medium-term financial strategy, developing
our invest to save plans, supporting a sustainable
workforce, ensuring local supply of placements and
delivering an annual programme of savings.

2. Develop a wider range of Early Help and Family
Help interventions with partners,
by: identifying
children and young people at risk in collaboration
with partners, embedding our enhanced family
hubs in local communities, refocussing our targeted
youth support, and sharpening our intervention at
the edge of care. We will extend our Early Help offer
to a Family Help model based on the Families First
government programme to reduce the need for
social work involvement.

3. Improve social work practice and do the simple
things well,
by: ensuring consistent quality across all
our work with vulnerable children and young people
and implementing the Restorative Practice Model
supported by training and development for staff.
We will also start the development of alternative
models of support in our social work teams based on
relationship based practice.

4. Create an environment where social work can
, by: Creating an environment where staff feel
valued and supported through; ensuring manageable
case loads for our Social Workers, providing
stable oversight and good decision making, good
supervision and business support for our front line
workers and the public.

5. Establish the Sufficiency Board to deliver more
local care,
through: implementing the residential
care review and fostering strategies, strengthening
placement processes and embedding supported
accommodation requirements. We will establish a
Complex Needs Panel for complex cases and offer
more homes locally for our children in care. We will
offer secure homes for our care leavers and establish
clear permanence plans for all our children in care,
offering good transitions to adult support where

6. Embed a child and family engagement framework,
to: increase our engagement with children, young
people and families, involve and listen to children in
decisions about their lives and to parents about the
help they need. We will strengthen and expand the
use of our channels of engagement such as the Mind
My Own app, our children in care and care leaver
forums and the feedback and complaints systems.
We are committed to continuous learning and
improvement through all of these.

7. Develop and maintain close cross-system
by: committing to shared priorities,
underpinned by joint strategies and plans.

8. Recruit and retain more permanent staff, through:
the delivery of our sustainable Workforce Plan,
which focusses on increasing the numbers of
permanent qualified and experienced and senior
colleagues joining the Trust, and the development,
CPD and progression of our staff. We will consistently
communicate and engage with the trust employee
community as a listening and learning organisation.

9. Develop a Performance Framework to ensure
by: intelligent use of data across the
organisation, establishing strong devolved budget
and people management, and creating and
communicating an appropriate cascade of plans.

10. Build strong collaborative working with the Council
and strengthen Corporate Parenting arrangements.

Governance, accountability and partnership working

The Bradford Children and Families Trust is an independent Company which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bradford District Council. Its day-to-day operational deliver is controlled by the Trust Executive Team which is accountable to the Trust Board in order to ensure operational independence.

The role of the Board is to set strategic aims for the Trust, oversee the management of the business and hold the Executive Leadership Team to account.

Bradford Council exercises the statutory responsibility for delivery of children’s services through the Director of Children’s Services who is a member of the Council’s leadership team. Close working with the Council is
essential through new governance relationships which ensure that the Council and Trust understand and deliver on their respective roles to enable the Trust’s
Vision and Purpose to be achieved.

Partnership working is essential to hold together the efforts of all public sector, community and voluntary organisations to benefit the lives of local people. In
practice this means a shared vision, a joint mission and approach, with joint commissioning to underpin delivery.


Key strategic partnerships for the Trust include:

The Safeguarding Children Partnership, which brings together those with a statutory responsibility for working together to protect children: the police, health and children’s social care.

The Bradford District Partnership, which sets the overarching framework for strategic planning to improve every aspect of life for people living in Bradford District.

The Healthy Communities Board and The People Development Board, which support families to thrive and improve recruitment, retention, career development and wellbeing of the workforce across the district.

The Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership which is part of the West Yorkshire Integrated Care System.

The Healthy Minds Board and The Healthy Children and Young People Board, supporting improvements to services for children, young people and their families.

The Children’s Social Care Improvement Board, which ensures improvements in children social care services in Bradford for the duration of government intervention.