COUNCIL bosses have set out improvement plans for children’s services after inspectors found ‘serious failures’ which left some youngsters ‘at risk of harm’.

Last month, Ofsted published a damning report into the authority’s children’s services which stated several ‘failures’, particularly in the care of youngsters who need help and protection.

The inspection rated the council’s efforts as ‘inadequate’ and said they had deteriorated since the last visit of inspectors in October 2020.

The report followed multiple fines issued to the council for failing to provide adequately for children who missed time at school.

Conservative councillors have also filed a motion, to be debated at tonight’s full council, calling for weekly briefings on the issue and progress reports to cabinet meetings, Council chiefs have apologised following the report, with deputy leader Cllr Tamoor Tariq saying work to improve children’s services had begun earlier in 2021, when the authority commissioned a review into children’s services.

Cllr Tariq also faced a barrage of questions from Tory councillors on the same matter at the last cabinet meeting.

A report set to be discussed by the council’s children and young people scrutiny committee is set to be introduced to members by Cllr Tariq tomorrow.

The report from Cllr Tariq outlines the need for ‘swift and decisive action to address the areas for improvement identified by Ofsted’.

Cllr Tariq states: “The safety and well-being of the borough’s most vulnerable children is an absolute priority for the council and its partners.

“This report sets out how the council will respond positively to the inspection both now and into the future.”

After the negative inspection the Secretary of State for Children and Families issued an improvement notice to Bury Council.

Under the terms of the notice the government appointed an advisor to the council.

The improvement notice requires the council to produce a plan to address the areas identified in the Ofsted report and any recommendations made by the advisor and maintain an improvement board with an independent chair who will oversee implementation of the plan by December 2022.

The report said the council had started a three phase response.

Cllr Tariq adds: “The council’s response was immediate action following the LGA Peer Review of July 2021 and then responding to the Ofsted findings, a detailed one year action plan and a three-year strategic improvement plan.

“Bury’s vulnerable children and families deserve services to be good or better.

“This will require a council-wide commitment to child centred improvement and for children’s services to be at the heart of the wider reform of public services.

“While the council will not hesitate to provide the necessary financial investment to improve the service in response to the Ofsted report, there will also need to be agreement on what constitutes best value for that investment over the long term.”

Measures to improve services contained in the report included new leadership arrangements which were put in place on an interim basis in September last year.

The council said action had already been taken to reduce caseloads for social workers and to increase stability in the social care workforce.

They added that action had been taken since the Ofsted inspection to ensure that children and young people are safe.

This had involved extensive sampling exercises and actions were taken promptly.