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Bradford Children’s Services to be placed into Trust

The Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, has decided to place Bradford Children's Services into a Trust following recommendations made by the Bradford Children's Services Commissioner.

This move was voluntarily agreed by leaders at Bradford Council in recognition of the challenges the local authority has faced since its rating of inadequate by Ofsted in 2018. The Bradford Children's Services Commissioner, Steve Walker, was appointed in September 2021 to conduct a 3-month review of the Children's Services department. His recent report dated 09 February 2022 to the Education Secretary concluded that the council 'lacked the capacity and capability to improve services at pace on its own and recommended an alternative delivery model to support improvement in services and outcomes for vulnerable children in Bradford's care'.

A new independent non-executive commissioner will be appointed to lead the council through the transition period whilst the new trust is established. The trust will work closely with council leaders, but will remain operationally independent.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

"Keeping vulnerable children safe from harm is non-negotiable. Where a council is not   meeting its duty to do this, we will take action to protect children and put their needs first.

It's clear from the recommendations made by the Commissioner in Bradford that the council needs support to improve and so I'm pleased that Bradford council have agreed to establish a new trust that will bring positive change for the council and independent oversight that drives improvements.

This is an important moment for children and families in Bradford, and for social worker  and other professionals who want to create meaningful and effective relationships with  them. These professionals take highly complex decisions each day to protect children, and  I am grateful for the effort that goes into each one."

For the Education Secretary's comments, click here.

For the report of the Bradford Children's Services Commissioner, click here.

Julia Queen, Barrister, Coram Chambers