CHILDREN's services in Worcestershire are improving but "significant weaknesses remain" according to Ofsted inspectors.

A damming Ofsted report, published in January, found that Worcestershire County Council's Children's Services were inadequate.

Following a monitoring visit in May inspectors concluded insufficient progress had been made since the services were judged inadequate with the report highlighting "serious failures".

A second inspection was made last month, and inspectors now report that the local authority has achieved some improvements, but further progress is required.

In September the Worcester News reported that the failing children’s services are being taken over by an external body following Government intervention, with officers from Essex County Council – seen as some of the best in the country - to support the beleaguered authority.

A review into alternative models was discussed at a recent cabinet meeting and a review has begun.

The council also launched a new Children and Young People’s Plan.

In a letter to Worcestershire County Council, Ofsted inspector Dominic Stevens said: "Many of the actions taken by the local authority are quite recent, and some are too new to have yet had a significant impact on improving services.

"Significant weaknesses remain, for example, in the quality of services to children who go missing, in the electronic systems to support managers and in the consistent focus within assessments and plans on the lived experience of children.

"However, the local authority has achieved some tangible improvements.

"A well-focused improvement plan and significant investment in additional staffing have supported these improvements.

"While services for children in Worcestershire require much further progress, I am pleased to report the progress that has been made and to be able to acknowledge the ‘whole council’ commitment to improving services."

Councillor Andy Roberts, cabinet member with responsibility for children and families, said: "Our staff are working very hard to deliver the improvements that we need to deliver.

"I am pleased to see that the inspectors have seen some improvements but we have an awful lot of work still to do to get to the stage where are consistently delivering high quality services to children, young people and their families.

"Our priority continues to be to make sure that long term improvements are made.

"We remain absolutely committed to that and we have already allocated an extra £5.1 million into improving children's social care in Worcestershire this year."