Bradford Children and Families Trust has been set up to stabilise, recover and improve children’s services under new leadership – accountable to, but operationally independent from, Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
The Secretary of State for Education, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Ofsted and Bradford’s Children’s Services Commissioner all agreed in 2022 that, despite the best efforts of the council and the undoubted commitment of children’s social workers and other children’s services staff, the improvements needed to deliver consistently safe and effective children’s services cannot currently be achieved within the council.
Ofsted’s inspection report (published 31 January 2023) rated Bradford as ‘inadequate’ on every measure.
However, Ofsted also said:
“It is evident that social workers are committed to doing their best for children.”
While the Children’s Services Commissioner’s 2022 report said:
“It is important to note that in all my sessions with staff they also emphasised that there were a lot of positives about Bradford and that they were keen to support improvement and good outcomes for children.”
This is an important opportunity to renew our approach to delivering the support that Bradford’s children, young people and families need, by renewing services, establishing a new organisation and through it creating the conditions for success – we are grasping that opportunity with both hands.
The Trust has been established as a community interest company limited by guarantee, wholly owned by Bradford Council, to provide a long-term and sustainable platform to realise improved performance and deliver high-quality and innovative social care services to children, young people and their families within the Bradford Metropolitan District.
Bradford Council continues to have statutory and professional responsibility for the strategy and effectiveness of children’s services, but has contracted the Trust to provide those services on the council’s behalf.
The Trust is a non-profit-distributing company that demonstrates day-to-day operational independence in the management and delivery of children’s social care services in Bradford through a strong Board of executive and non-executive directors.
In conjunction with partner agencies, Bradford Council and the Trust will work together collaboratively to:
- promote the welfare and safeguard children in line with key children’s legislation and statutory guidance
- provide family support to vulnerable children and their families to enable them to cope with difficulties
- support children to live safely with their immediate and extended families wherever possible
- meet the needs of looked after children and those leaving care
- support and enable disabled children and their families
We have worked hard to establish supportive, trusting and effective relationships with Bradford Council as the owner, commissioner and key partner of the Trust.
The Trust’s performance and improvements are measured against an agreed performance regime, with key performance indicators set out in a Performance Management Framework.
Detailed partnership governance arrangements are in place to ensure that the Trust is meeting our statutory obligations. These include:
- Safeguarding Children’s Partnership
- Health and Wellbeing Board
- Youth Offending Service Board
We want the Trust to become a national centre of excellence for social care and a destination of choice for children’s social care careers.
In order to achieve this, we will need to overcome a range of internal and external challenges and make the most of the opportunities that creating the Trust offers: the mindset, dynamism and energy of a start-up, together with the national expertise and determination of the Trust’s Board and senior leadership and our colleagues’ practical experiences of providing children’s services in Bradford.