Child safeguarding procedures have been beefed up following the sentencing of a councillor who possessed indecent images of children.

The move follows investigations into Bury Council's handling of the Simon Carter affair in 2015.

Independent inquiries into the council's response to the arrest of then councillor and school governor Carter led to the resignations of chief executive Mike Owen and children's services director Mark Carriline.

The council has implemented recommendations in relation to safeguarding and adoption procedures by Malcolm Newsam.

A report detailing these improvements was presented to the council's overview and scrutiny committee this evening by Karen Dolton, interim executive director of children and young people.

Ms Dolton told the councillors: "It has taken a lot of work to satisfy myself that the failings aren't indicative of a whole system problem and I'm satisfied it was a problem at that moment in time."

Ms Dolton joined the council last February, she said: "Since I have been here I have made changes in line with recommendations set out and implemented additional checks and balances to ensure what we're seeing is what is happening."

Recommendations implemented by the council in light of the Newsam report include making council staff and councillors more aware of the role of Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and of the council's internal and external whistleblowing policies.

A LADO is a member of staff who liaises with police and other agencies and monitors the progress of child welfare concerns.

Cllr Jackie Harris questioned Ms Dolton at the meeting.

She said: "There were serious safeguarding failings. The failings occurred in 2015 and at the Ofsted inspections in 2016 these failings were still in place and they didn't find out about them. It didn't come out until the end of that year.

"The whole objective is not to let this happen again, I'm concerned.

"The problem here was that a choice was made at a higher level not to involve the LADO appropriately.

"How are we going to be able to address this to make sure that doesn't happen again. How can we ensure that?"

Ms Dolton said: "There's never going to be a perfect process.

"If someone wilfully chooses not to do something there isn't anything in policy or practice we can do to stop that.

"I have never known of anything like this happening in 20 years, there's more awareness of what the consequences are and a much more robust willingness from staff to come forward."

Ms Dolton told councillors the whistleblowing system within the council had been improved and that as well as notifying other members of staff, council officers could also tell Ofsted anonymously.

This is something that has always been in place but council staff have been made aware of this.

In 2016 the council was inspected by Ofsted and found the council's safeguarding and adoption procedures to be good, but said the council overall required improvement.

Due to this Ms Dolton explained the council will be receiving regular visits from Ofsted which will continue to monitor all aspects of the council's services including its safeguarding and adoption procedures.