The London Borough of Bexley was recently inspected by Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills in the UK. These inspections focus on the effectiveness of local authority services and arrangements:
- to help and protect children
- the experiences and progress of children in care wherever they live, including those children who return home
- the arrangements for permanence for children who are looked after, including adoption
- the experiences and progress of care leavers
Ofsted also evaluates:
- the effectiveness of leaders and managers
- the impact they have on the lives of children and young people
- the quality of professional practice
For the second inspection in a row (the previous being in 2018), Bexley was judged as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. Bexley is now only the second local authority in the United Kingdom to have achieved two successive findings of outstanding under Ofsted.
Bexley has been implementing the Signs of Safety approach as their practice framework across its services since the end of 2017, as part of the England Innovations Project. They have truly had a journey over the years: from inadequacy in 2012, to ‘requires improvement’ in 2014, onto ‘outstanding’ in 2018 and now ‘outstanding’ again in 2023.
“A firmly embedded model of practice means that children and families, practitioners and partner agencies know how services work and understand the expected approach to providing support.”
The inspectors at Ofsted were particularly impressed by the policies that Bexley have in place concerning effective strategic partnerships to enable a very successful multi-agency operation, and the remarkable level of support the authority continues to give to care leavers until they reach the age of 25.
Many congratulations Bexley! You can read the full Ofsted report here.