A COMMITTEE chair says he feels the attitude of the Children’s Service bosses has changed.

Mark Douglas, the new head of Children’s Services at Bradford Council, appeared before the Council’s Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee this week.

Each month the committee receives an update from service bosses on work being done to improve the department following last year’s inadequate judgement from Ofsted.

It was Mr Douglas’s first meeting as director, and he gave the committee updates on work done to improve the service since he took over.

He told members that a 12-week improvement plan was implemented in July, and this included "back to basics" training for Children's Service staff.

He said: "It is something that will be mandatory, all staff, managers and practitioners. It will be made very clear what standards we expect. People will be told very clearly of their responsibilities."

Ofsted will be making regular monitoring inspections of Bradford's Children's Services every few months, and Mr Douglas said the next full inspection - when the Council can move out of the inadequate bracket, will be in around 12 to 14 months' time.

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He added: "There remains challenges. The workforce in Bradford, like much of Yorkshire, is reliant on agency staff. Work is ongoing to reduce reliance on agency workers.

"There are challenges recruiting social workers. There are too few social workers qualifying each year to meet the demand on the system."

He felt that social workers felt Bradford was becoming a more positive place to work, adding: "The narrative about working in Bradford is slowly beginning to change."

The Committee has previously voiced concerns that they were not being given an accurate picture of what was happening behind the scenes in Children's Services.

After Mr Douglas spoke to the committee Chair Councillor Mike Gibbons (Cons, Ilkley) said: “In the past there was a tendency for Children’s Services to pat this committee on the head, say thank you, and then carry on with what you were doing.

"I get the feeling now that that’s changed - I hope it has.”