Ofsted finds strong leadership has strengthened support for Bromley’s vulnerable young people

Published Thursday, 5 July 2018

Strong commitment from senior leaders in the council and its strategic partners was witnessed by Ofsted inspectors during their monitoring visit on 12 and 13 June.

Under the spotlight was the effectiveness of services relating to vulnerable adolescents including children who go missing or are at risk of child sexual or criminal exploitation and gang affiliation.

Ofsted found that Bromley Council and its partners are working well together and this effective collaboration is making a difference, increasing resilience and improving the circumstances of the young people involved. They cited the multi-agency ‘Atlas’ unit, which brings together agencies such as the council, Police, and other organisation that work with children, as instrumental in strengthening key relationships across the partnership with single points of contact within each agency.

Working more closely together with other agencies in the borough has helped to achieve a reduction in the numbers of young people going missing from home, care and school by improving relationships within families and ensuring there is appropriate engagement in education. The report says that social workers and key workers in the youth offending service know the young people with whom they work and focus on their experiences of life, tenaciously building rapport with young people even when they are hard to engage.

The multi-service ‘Atlas’ unit conducts return home interviews with young people who have gone missing as well as working with those at risk of sexual exploitation and involvement in gangs. A good example of the work of the team highlighted in the report involved a ‘mystery shopping’ exercise where police cadets posed as young people checking into local hotels and bed and breakfast establishments. The lack of challenge by the businesses led to a number of their staff attending training to raise the awareness and improve their response to those at risk of child sexual exploitation.

The inspectors also considered evidence from a number of young people at risk of child sexual exploitation as well as their families. They said they valued the support they received and reported positively about being ‘listened to in a non-judgemental way.’

Councillor Peter Fortune, Executive Member for Children, Education and Families said: “This is an extremely positive report from Ofsted about the work the council and its partners are doing together to support young people who are vulnerable in our borough. We are particularly proud of the ‘Atlas’ team, which provides a hub based in one place for agencies to work together to protect these young people and help them through some very difficult times in their lives, making sure they are in touch with the services and support they need.

“Bromley is effecting a remarkable and largely unprecedented turnaround in terms of the quality of its children‘s services in a relatively short space of time. I believe we can now afford to be optimistic about the future as we continue to improve our services for young people and anticipate a significant full inspection by Ofsted in the autumn.”

Worried about a child? There is plenty of information on the Bromley Safeguarding Children website about how everyone can help keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t feel right, as well as advice on what to do if you are concerned about a child. Please visit: http://www.bromleysafeguarding.org/articles.php?id=589

The Ofsted report is available at:



For media enquiries, please contact Susie Clark on 020 8461 7911 or email susie.clark@bromley.gov.uk