A Bromley councillor has blamed in part a new Ofsted framework which “raised the bar” for the damning report which slammed Bromley’s children’s services and safeguarding as “inadequate”, a councillor claimed on Monday (July 4).

Speaking at a full council meeting, Councillor Robert Evans, who is responsible for care services, said the regulatory body became more strict just before the inspection in April.

As revealed by News Shopper last week, the report said the service had “widespread and serious” failures that leave children vulnerable.

Cllr Evans said: “There was a new regimen from Ofsted which has raised the bar.

“It’s regrettable the inspectors on all five sections gave us the lowest possible ranking in this deeply disappointing report.

“We considered challenging some comments but we decided there was little to be gained by quibbling on minor points.

“We will take action to rectify the failures and there is no sense of denial involved.

“We are all corporate parents in this chamber.”

Labour Councillor Angela Wilkins rejected Cllr Evans’s claim that changes to Ofsted’s work processes were at fault and asked the council leader to apologise to the families of the borough for “appalling” levels of service.

She said: “I do not accept that the leadership find themselves shocked at this report.

“I do not accept comments about the bar being raised because we knew about that.”


The report is divided into three sections: children who need help and protection, children looked after and achieving permanence, and leadership, management and governance.

Bromley council received an inadequate score for each section, which is the lowest rating.

Cllr Evans continued: “Without being complacent, I am happy this report is not based on the list of children who have come to harm.

“It is the implicit view of the investigators that there is a risk to children in our organisation.

“We have listened to this and will take steps.”

The number of recommendations in the report triggered an action by the Department for Education (DfE), including the appointment of a Commissioner, Frankie Sulke CBE, who will assess Bromley’s Children’s Services from DfE’s perspective in addition to Ofsted.

Her role will be to assist in setting up a recovery plan and by October 1 she will make a recommendation to the education minister on whether Bromley has the capacity to improve services or should be taken over by an external body.

71, 500 children and young people under the age of 18 live in Bromley, making up 24 per cent of the total population.

Approximately 15.5 per cent of children in the local authority are living in poverty.

On March 1 2016, the council was looking after 281 children, an increase from 265 on March 31 2015.

The inspection took place between April 11 and May 5 2016.