THE Government could take the reins of Shire Hall’s children services unless county chiefs get their act together by November 2018.

Whitehall mandarins have fired an unprecedented warning shot across the bows of Gloucestershire County Council following a damning Ofsted report in June.

Inspectors judged there were serious and widespread failures for children in need of protection and serious concerns about the integrity of the senior leadership team.

Department of Education officials have officially issued an improvement notice and will regularly inspect the council’s progress in improving the service.

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton-on-the-Water & Northleach) said the Ofsted report was embarrassingly bad for the council’s administration.

He said: “Trust in the council’s management and processes have gone and that trust now has to be rebuilt in a very visible way.”

Labour Cllr Graham Morgan (Cinderford) said he fears for the welfare of children across the county and hopes the situation is put right.

“We were hoodwinked. Before the election we were led to believe everything was hunky-dory by the previous cabinet member,” he said.

“We were told how everything was all right and then the next thing we know is that the member doesn’t stand for election and bang - we receive the Ofsted report."?

“I don’t know if it is budget cuts that have caused this bad situation, but we really need to look after our vulnerable people.”

Councillor Boyles, (Con, Blakeney & Bream) county council cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Councillors from all parties on the council have agreed to work together to improve services for children and young people in Gloucestershire.

“We’re making progress, but we know there is still a lot of hard work ahead.”