Barnet’s children’s services are improving – but there are still considerable challenges ahead before they are up to standard, according to Ofsted.

During a monitoring visit in April, inspectors found the council was consolidating the improvements already made and the quality of social work practice was slowly improving.

In a report published on Monday (May 21), they added that the pace of change remained “consistent and focused”.

Barnet Council launched an action plan last year after the borough’s children’s services were branded inadequate by the regulator.

Inspectors found “widespread and serious failures” during a visit that took place in April and May 2017, reporting that there had been a significant deterioration since the previous inspection in 2012.

But despite the improvements, the latest monitoring visit found that “senior leaders are fully aware that there are still areas of considerable challenge before practice is of a good standard and the needs of children are well served”.

Leader of Barnet Council Richard Cornelius said: “The safety and welfare of our children remains of paramount importance to us and we acknowledge that we have fallen short in providing the care they need and deserve.

“I am pleased that Ofsted has highlighted in its findings that we are continuing to consolidate the positive progress we have already made, but we fully recognise there is still a great deal of hard work to be done.

“We will remain focused on the challenges ahead and working to deliver our action plan and the improvements we need to make.”