A rapid turnaround has seen the borough’s previously failing children’s services brought back up to standard.

Inspectors from Government watchdog Ofsted rated Barnet’s children’s services ‘good’ and praised “tenacious” staff for their work in improving outcomes for youngsters.

Barnet Council now aims to build on the progress and achieve the watchdog’s top rating of outstanding.

Ofsted inspectors noted “widespread and serious failures” in the borough’s children’s services in a report published in July 2017.

They judged provision to be inadequate – the lowest rating on the watchdog’s scale.

The council drew up an action plan to improve the service and staff were brought in from Essex Council to oversee its roll-out.

Following their most recent visit in May this year, Ofsted inspectors found the service was “much improved” and rated it good across the board.

Inspectors said social workers “know their children well” and visit them “very regularly”.

Disabled children benefit from a “strong service provision” and workers have a “good understanding of their complex needs”.

Ofsted also found that “strong and effective leadership at a political level and throughout the council had prioritised support and care for children and young people”.

The report added staff had manageable caseloads and senior managers had worked hard to ensure social workers maintained a consistent relationship with children.

Councillors discussed the report at a meeting of the children, education and safeguarding committee on Monday (July 1).

Labour and Conservative members thanked staff for their hard work during the past two years.

Chris Munday, executive director of children and young people, said Barnet’s children services had gone from systemically inadequate to good faster than in any other local authority.

He said: “This is a strong report. I would describe it as a massive achievement in the two years we have had.

“This is a good result, but we must not lose focus. It is something that could easily change.”

Mr Munday said the council had put plans in place to recruit and retain staff to ensure the service continued to improve.

He added: “It is about taking children as the highest principle. If we focus on that, everything else will fall into place.”

Chairman of the committee Cllr David Longstaff said: “This is not just the council – we rely on our partners in the CCG (clinical commissioning group), mental health, schools.

“We are totally reliant on the excellent staff and work from our partners as well.

“I want to put on record our thanks to Chris Munday, the senior management team, all the social workers and support staff for all their efforts in doing a tremendous and extremely hard job.”