There has been "consistent" progress in Barnet Council's children's services but some aspects remain inadequate, inspectors have said.

In July last year, Barnet Council's children's services were found to be inadequate by the regulator, Ofsted.

Since then, through the implementation of an improvement board and a partnership with Essex County Council, the services have seen "consistent" progress and is showing improvements in some areas, according to inspectors in a recent monitoring visit.

Inspectors found a great deal of improvement in the multi-agency safeguarding hub, known as MASH, and that senior leaders and management understand the scale of improvements required within the service.

The regulator said morale within the service had improved, with social workers being able to manage their case loads and enjoy their work, and in areas of practice, the inspectors found staff were consolidating improvements made since the first monitoring visit late last year.

But there were still issues found in the assessment and help provided to families, with inconsistent record-keeping being part of the improvements required.

The letter from Ofsted to the service's chief executive, Chris Munday, said: "Assessments lack a thorough understanding of family relationships and parental capacity and do not always include a thorough analysis of the risks to children. The views of family members, particularly fathers, were not adequately sought to inform assessments and planning.

"Children are being seen more regularly by social workers and alone where this is appropriate. However, their views are not always clearly represented and there is a lack of focus on a child’s lived experience."

With this being said, the inspectors acknowledged there were recent improvements made to this area, though they had not been in place long enough to make a significant impact at the time of the inspection.

Cllr Reuben Thompstone, chairman of the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee, said: "The safety and welfare of our children and young people remains our top priority, and we accept that we have fallen short of the care they need and deserve.

"We are pleased that Ofsted has recognised that we are continuing to progress and consolidate the recent improvements we have made, but we fully acknowledge we still have a long way to go to bring services up to the standards expected.

"We will continue to concentrate our efforts on working to deliver our action plan and we remain completely committed to achieving the improvements we need to make."

The improvement action plan in place structured around seven improvement themes, with the aim to ensure these improvements are made as quickly as possible.