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Rebecca Delaney
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Bristol is first large city to have children's services judged 'good'
Date:25 MAY 2010

Bristol - Copyright istockphoto/vandervelden Children's services in Bristol have been rated as ‘good' in the latest independent inspection by Ofsted, published yesterday.

Bristol is the first large city in England and Wales to receive a ‘good' rating since the new Ofsted inspection regime for safeguarding was introduced in June 2009.

The inspection looked at the effectiveness of the city's children and young people's services - including health services, schools, the police and the voluntary sector - to safeguard and protect vulnerable children.

The inspector's report notes that there is good, cross-party political support from councillors for children's services. Unlike many other areas inspected by Ofsted, Bristol has a relatively stable and experienced workforce with all social worker posts filled by permanent qualified staff and no external agency recruits.

Bristol City Council's Director for Children, Young People and Skills, Annie Hudson, said: "There is much that everyone working in these services should feel proud of. That said we can't ever be complacent when it comes to safeguarding children. We are very committed to continuously improving services. The report notes that some social worker caseloads are too high and, to address this, recruitment is underway for additional child care social workers."

Areas for further development highlighted in the report include improving case planning, review and recording; better evaluation, including performance management, quality assurance and workforce development. The report also raised concerns around the high level of caseloads for social workers and the emergency duty service.

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