The London Borough of Bromley is making substantive progress in improving services for children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation (CSE), Ofsted has said.
The inspectorate also identified some progress for those who go missing in a fourth monitoring report of the local authority’s children’s services since it was rated inadequate.
“No inadequate practice was found and aspects of good practice were identified,” said the report.
The local authority is making good progress in implementing its action plan for children at risk of sexual exploitation or who go missing.
Ofsted said that strong commitment from strategic partners, senior leaders and elected members has resulted in priority action that has improved practice and outcomes.
- Strengthened partnership collaboration
- Decisions are timely and proportionate
- Increasingly effective management oversight
- Greater stability in the workforce and
- A steady reduction in caseloads
“The local authority now knows which children go missing and which children are at risk of sexual exploitation. Centrally coordinated data is more reliable and has improved management oversight, enabling appropriate support to be targeted to those most at risk,” said the report.
The current range of commissioned services for children at risk of sexual exploitation is however limited which means that not all children can access the right support quickly enough. The local authority is using its improved understanding of the needs of this group of children to consider its future commissioning approach, to ensure that a range of accessible services is available to meet the needs of children in the borough.
The local authority has made significant improvements in creating a more stable workforce. The ‘Bromley Promise’ sets out an offer of manageable caseloads, clear practice standards, a protected induction period and dedicated time for reflective supervision.
“This is attracting social workers to Bromley, and a high number of agency workers are transferring to permanent positions,” said the report. “At the time of the inspection in June 2016, 42% of social workers had permanent contracts; the most recent data from the local authority shows that this figure has risen to 85%,” the monitoring report concluded.