Bracknell’s children's services department is doing a good job of looking after the children in its care, a recent inspection has found.

The children's services department at Bracknell Forest Council was inspected by OFSTED recently, with assessors giving the service a clean bill of health.

Staff and bosses at the council were praised for the level of training provided, the supervision of the children in their care, and having managers that have made sure the caseloads of their social workers are manageable.

Children are given ‘all about me’ workbooks to write about their worlds, backgrounds, likes and dislikes, which are then passed to social workers to give them an insight into the child’s character and circumstances.

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Social workers in Bracknell Forest have been able to meet with children face-to-face, which has given them even more insight into the views and lived experiences of the children they serve.

Curiously, inspectors Amanda Maxwell and Nick Stacey, who wrote the report, said that problems could arise with parents and guardians who are resistant to change.

The report states: “When parents are resistant to change, ineffective decision-making can lead to repeated cycles of planning and interventions.

“As a result, a small number of children have continued to live in situations of neglect for too long without sustained improvements in their circumstances.”

Inspectors also said the children’s services department should continue working with children and parents even when their concerns have reduced, in an effort to improve conditions for these children. The inspectors found that, at the moment, plans to improve  circumstances for these children are not always clear.

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For child protection meetings, which are arranged to organise the future development of a child and identify concerns, the inspectors found that the meetings were well attended, well recorded and child-focused. However, for some children who have required such meetings, their circumstances do not improve quickly enough. The inspectors said that in these cases, their is a lack of urgency and robustness to make sure concerns and risks are swiftly addressed.

Although no rating was given following the inspection, the assessors were overall satisfied with the work the children’s services department has been doing.

Hailing the inspection and congratulating colleagues, Sonia Johnson, Bracknell Forest’s assistant director of children’s social care, said: “Children’s social workers and other frontline practitioners have responded exceptionally well to the unprecedented situations over the last 18 months. We had to adapt quickly and extensively to help ensure children at risk and in need remained safe.

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“Social workers have been designated essential workers throughout the pandemic, and it is very pleasing that Ofsted has recognised the positive difference social work can make with families. It is a privilege to be working together with families even in times of adversity, their strength and resilience can shine through and we have certainly seen many examples of that in the last year.

“I am extremely proud of the team for their passion and commitment and would like to thank each and every one of the them for their contribution.”

The inspection was conducted on Wednesday, July 7 and Thursday, July 8, and published on Monday, August 16.